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Part III Group Project

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Our media project consisted of creating a PSA spoof advertisement about the issues concerning unwed mothers. In particular our video was looking to debunk specific myths, rhetoric, and ideologies that are popularized and used to stereotype and demean a specific group of women without any concrete facts or basis for their criticisms. We used xtranormal.com as a host/program for creating our video and from that we're able to host and share it via YouTube, facebook, twitter, etc... What's nice about these social media platforms is that they can be utilized to spread various sites, videos, and information with friends and family. Through social networking videos like ours are easily spread throughout cyberspace just through linking it. The idea to do create a video via this platform has been popularized through adverts like Gieco and other YouTube videos spoofing popular PSA's and political commercials like NOM's "The Gathering Storm." Many times these videos are picked up by television hosts like John Stuart and others that highlight them in their shows and use it as a means of informative entertainment.

In particular though, curiosity and issues concerning feminism can be raised via social media by spreading the word through as many different sites as possible. This method is somewhat limited due to needing to shore up interest and sensationalism to get people to view these different resources, but I think it's arguable to say that any issue that is made relevant via news and media will be sought after and spread as a means of raising awareness. What we can do is continue to make these issues relevant and spread them as much as possible through social network sharing; the internet as a broad system is an excellent platform for advancing issues and questions surrounding us. While there is an understanding that not everyone has access to a resource like the internet it still remains one of the primary if not the number one method of spreading news and information. By creating YouTube videos, blogs, and different websites the information will at least become available and accessible to a wide ranging audience that connects to the web every day.

Part Two: Assessing Resources

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The resource I'm evaluating is the blog post, Debunking the Myth of the "Welfare Queen": Who Actually Receives TANF Benefits? From the Women's Law Project Blog http://womenslawproject.wordpress.com/2010/11/02/debunking-the-myth-of-the-%E2%80%9Cwelfare-queen%E2%80%9D-who-actually-receives-tanf-benefits/

Part One:

This blog post was made Nov 2nd 2010 and it's especially relevant given how the specter of the welfare queen is still prevalent in society/politics, despite being a term coined in the 1980's by Ronald Reagan the image has been an enduring one. Given the economic recession and hostilities towards government spending and the metaphorical "belt buckling" that government and citizens are expected to adhere to, programs like welfare have especially come under attack. The idea of poor minority women living off of handouts provided by taxpayers is one that is continually used and the statistics skewed to present a justification to punish our most vulnerable citizens. The website and information within the blog post is a good source given the statistics they present in their argument are backed up by the websites (sources) indicated within their post and any other assertions via numbers and ideologies like women not profiting from welfare are linked to other articles and blog posts. The site consistently backs up its sources as well as cites them as a means of accountability and strength for their argument as well as not blatantly plagiarizing someone else's works.

I think the information it presents is valuable because it takes an issue that's been around for a while and presents information that is relevant to the debate now as well as framing it in a way that could be understood and deemed relevant now. For example, the author opens the post by relating a story from another blogger on the site about, "their experience observing an 11th grade classroom. The post discusses a student performing a poem that mocks a poor woman who encourages her seven children to steal food. When the character confronts police officers and runs into the drug-addict father of her children, she delivers the punch line - 'You can have my welfare check!' According to the post's author, when asked who the poem was referring to, the student said 'Minorities, because they're the main ones on welfare.' That post was just made in February and its value is derived from debunking the idea that poor black women have overcome the negative stereotypes meant to punish and demean them and reassert how important this issue still is today because of the radical misconceptions still being reproduced and even interpreted in these particular ways in a high school. It's a reminder for feminists that there is still work to be done on this issue as well as making relevant an issue that often gets forgotten now given a surge in conservative politics and more restrictive access to abortion, healthcare, and Planned Parenthood. The information is also valuable because of the statistics and studies used to back up their points as a means of showing how the issue intersects with a number of issues facing a wide range of women that feminism has an interest in addressing, confronting, and problematizing.

Part Two:

The Women's Law Project Blog is fairly accessible if given the persons in question have access to a computer and internet sources. That being said the blog itself is fairly easy to find and search for using a general search engine like Google. It's not a personal blog but rather one that's a publicly supported domain via donations. A person using a library computer with a limited amount of time could find it fairly easily. The blog itself is also linked/has links to a numerous amounts of other women's issues/feminists blogs that creates a wealth of resources. They also have a Twitter feed and Facebook page featured on their site. It makes good use of using many forms of social media as well as featuring email subscription (I suspect for those who don't particularly like Twitter/Facebook). The barriers to this wealth of information and access of course is dependent on a person's access to the internet. That is the biggest and most unfortunate flaw when using blogs and social media to distribute ideas and information. A person is able to go to a library and use public computers but there's limits to the amount of time such access is granted as well as some censorship used by libraries to limit certain searches. It's hard to remember at times but obviously not everyone owns a computer or has internet access at their fingertips so to make this information more accessible it would perhaps be helpful if a blog like this one had some sort of journal that could be produced monthly that contains different blog posts and information concerning other resources that could be used for persons who don't have internet access; it could only act as a sample size of all the information and linking resources but in that way the information could at least be distributed via another medium as well as provide information about centers and organizations that can be located/contacted outside of the internet.

In general though this idea would be time consuming as well as fairly expensive--one of the reasons I believe social media and blogging has dominated a wealth of the information and discussion occurring within society around issues that you wouldn't see every day on the news or in the paper. Social media in a lot of ways is demonstrative of the power that privilege provides to certain sects of society while leaving out others. The "others" more often than not are persons that are particularly vulnerable and could use more resources but are not able to access them. Hopefully more will be done with free wifi programs in larger cities as well as a greater presence of public computers/affordable laptops and desktops to be made available for people that simply can't afford spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars on such tools.

Our group is made up of Annslie, Simi, Jon, Abbie and myself. We would like to ask (among many other things) this:

What would feminist politics look like that advocated the interest of all women in the reproductive autonomy that is essential of human dignity for women? Check out some answers to this question, and more, after the jump!