Lunafest Is Coming To Oakland

Likely you already are aware of my love for Camp Reel Stories, a program in Oakland, CA designed for girls ages 13-18 who want to get into media. It’s designed to empower and equip young women interested in the media with the skills, inspiration and tools they need to become leaders in the media industry. I’m thrilled to see that Camp Reel Stories is now partnering with Lunafest, a traveling film festival that spotlights the diverse work of some very talented women filmmakers. What a perfect partnership–women in film mentoring and inspiring young girls who also love film. Lunafest was established by LUNA, the people who make those yummy nutrition bars, the LunaBar. Like Camp Reel Stories, the team at Luna is passionate about supporting and empowering women...

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Women Grossly Underrepresented as Directors in Indie Films, Too

It’s not exactly news that women are underrepresented in the film industry, right? But it’s eye-popping when you take a good look at how truly stark the contrast is between males and females in directorial roles. My friend and the uber smart Melissa Silverstein showcases the truth of the matter in another great piece, this time about the representation of women in independent films. Previously released numbers showed that less than 5% of studio movies in the past five years were directed by women so, when looking at the independent film world, it was only natural to hope for a better turnout. And while in the indie genre, women are a tiny bit better represented, (10% of indie films having been directed by women from 2009-2013), that’s still a very small number....

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New Children’s Book Shows Kids How Different is Awesome

I’ve spent plenty of time here letting you know my thoughts on taking the heavy emphasis on gender out of marketing to kids; this is a topic that will always be important to me. There is something else I’d like to see emphasized in our culture – a push to educate kids on how differences make us unique and and original individuals. Despite lots of progress and change in media over the past decade, our kids are still presented with mostly “ideal” images of their peers in ads and television and film. Wouldn’t it be great to see more diversity, not only in race and gender, but in differences in ability as well? I can think of but one example of children with disabilities used in advertising off the top of my head and that’s simply not enough (shout out to...

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Toys ‘R’ Us Drops Gender-Specific Toy Labeling in the UK

It’s probably not a gigantic secret that I’d love to see better practices in the marketing of toys to girls. After all isn’t a toy just something to be played with? Why does it matter if a boy or a girl plays with it? We hold to the argument that toys should be made for children, not for gender. I ran across an article recently that talked about Toys ‘R’ Us in the United Kingdom and their decision o drop gender-specific toy labeling (it wasn’t breaking news, this was announced last fall, but I just stumbled across it as I was thinking about this recently). This was really a pretty ground-breaking announcement and came following a meeting between Toys ‘R’ Us board members and a wonderful consumer advocacy group called Let Toys Be Toys.  Let Toys Be Toys asserts...

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The Mask You Live In: Why This Film Matters for our Boys

In 2012, the brilliant Jennifer Siebel Newsom shed light on misogyny and media with her eye-opening documentary Miss Representation. This fantastic film showed us clearly how women and girls are being misrepresented in the media, and underscored that it’s time to teach our daughters AND sons a new viewpoint on real femininity. It also set the wheels in motion for Newsom’s next project – one that statistics show is badly needed. Her current film-in-progress is a documentary in the same vein as Miss Representation. The Mask You Live In is an exploration of masculinity in America which asks us as a society: How are we failing our boys? Recently popular girls’ and women’s self-esteem initiatives have gotten a lot of media attention, as well they should. These...

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