This Week in Women: The Anti-Violence Edition
Historically, the media has always boasted an enormously impactful role. For readers, listeners, and media consumers, our reality is that every day is a lesson in crisis management and sky-is-falling sensationalism (hi, Fox News). Each and every one impacts narrative perspectives on just about every issue that we are grappling with as a democratic society. This week, the media takes center stage as we look at three large stories that used mainstream methods (TV, op-eds, and viral photography projects) to provide teaching moments on the importance of freedom of speech and gender equality. It’s time for This Week in Women!
The Outrage of Trump’s Most Recent Sexist Twitter Debacle
Sexist, vile comments are nothing new from our current president; however, this week he had both sides of the partisan aisle calling foul over remarks made on Twitter about Mika Brzezinski of MSNBC’s “The Morning Joe”.
Early Thursday, Trump tweeted, “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came…to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
Brzezinksi’s official Friday response on “The Morning Joe” was classy and a great lesson in handling bullies (unlike Melania Trump, who is supporting her husband despite an anti-bullying platform). Brzezinksi pointed out that, while she is personally fine, we as a country are not faring so well and are constantly reminded of how Trump uses every opportunity to diminish and demean women.
She and her co-host and fiancé Joe Scarborough also published an op-ed that ran in The Washington Post: “More significant is Mr. Trump’s continued mistreatment of women. It is disturbing that the president of the United States keeps up his unrelenting assault on women. From his menstruation musings about Megyn Kelly, to his fat-shaming treatment of a former Miss Universe, to his braggadocio claims about grabbing women’s genitalia, the 45th president is setting the poorest of standards for our children. We were heartened to hear a number of Republican lawmakers call out Mr. Trump for his offensive words and can only hope that the women who are closest to him will follow their examples. It would be the height of hypocrisy to claim the mantle of women’s empowerment while allowing a family member to continue such abusive conduct.”
Women’s March Demands Apology From NRA For Viral Ad
Retaliation against those exercising first amendment rights? Check. Arming yourself against protestors? Check. These anti-democratic themes—that many are calling an “open call for violence”—are all part of a new ad from the National Rifle Association starring talk radio host and spokesperson Dana Loesch. The NRA ad and Loesch seek to demonize protestors, using video clips and imagery of large city metropolitans to illustrate a narrative that claims people who speak out against “racism,” “sexism,” and “xenophobia” are dangerously radical.
In response, Women’s March, Inc. co-President Tamika D. Mallory issued an open letter to the NRA: “The advertisement released by the NRA is a direct attack on people of color, progressives and anyone who exercises their First Amendment right to protest,” she wrote. “At a time when our nation is seeing a rise in racially charged incidents and violence motivated by hate speech, it is unconscionable for a powerful organization like yours to unashamedly peddle an ‘us versus them’ narrative. You are calling for our grassroots, nonviolent resistance movement to be met with violence.”
Mallory’s letter also cited the killing of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota—a case that has garnered much national attention in the recent acquittal of the police officer who shot Castile seven times during a traffic stop.
The NRA’s non-comment on Castile’s death and this viral ad comes at a time when global tensions are boiling over with law enforcement and gun violence. It is time for the NRA to be a more responsible member of the gun conversation, rather than perpetuating a violent mindset to propel its own interests.
Photography Project Explores Women’s Protections in India
“My series uses a simple latex cow head to unpick the debate raging across India about how to protect the sacred animals, while women’s safety is neglected and sexual violence rises,” said the photographer Sujatro Ghosh on his campaign website. “I started the photo series wherein I am photographing women in a cow mask around Delhi, to highlight the need for making the streets a safe space for women and not just cow.”
Ghosh’s series is gaining global attention as lawmakers, activist groups, and citizens look to find ways for Indian women and children to feel safe going about their daily lives without fear of harm. He is planning to travel across Bombay, Bangalore, Kerala, and parts of north east India with his project. “I’m making a political statement because it’s a political topic, but if we go deeper into the things, then we see that Hindu supremacy was always there, it has just come out in the open with this government in the past two years,” said Ghosh in a statement to BBC. “I’m not afraid because I’m working for the greater good.”
Featured image via Complex
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.