Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

03 August 2007

WIMN in Chicago

Last night Women & Children First was the site for a house party/discussion for Women In Media & News (WIMN) that I organized. I'm on the board of this fabulous organization for many reasons, some I gave last night:

1. I'm tired of the media telling me that I'm wrong. Wrong size, wrong color, wrong hair, on and on.

2. I'm frustrated that my local TV news is 30 minutes long, minus commercials, down to 25 mins (max), 8 minutes for weather and sports, now we're down to 17 minutes...AND then we waste precious time not on debating Iraq, health care, or global warming, but on the daily hijinks of Hollywood stars. Isn't that why we invented "Entertainment Tonight?"

3. Women reporting the news does make a difference.

On that last point, this morning on American Morning on CNN when Kiran Chetry reported on how American moms are breastfeeding more, but not as long as we should. She asked the medical expert this: "I know that when I breastfeed, it was time confusing and the hardest thing I've ever done. Is that a factor?" BRILLIANT! Do you think that Anderson Cooper would have asked that question?

Last night's event was a good discussion that covered essentially why we need to change the landscape media plays on. It's not ok for the media to focus on Hillary's boobs, Katherine Harris' mascara, or Geraldine Ferraro's dress size. It's pathetic to think that Hillary can't win the White House because "Commander in Chief" was a bad show no one watched or because no one takes Katie Curic seriously as a news anchor. How can we as a people get the media to focus on policy issues rather than personality? Ann Elizabeth Moore said it best, "I'm angry that I have to spend time on this instead of on the issues!"

Of course, there was no golden solution that percolated up. Rather 25 people came away a bit more informed on media justice issues, where WIMN fits into the movement, and some insight into what we can do to help. What is important is to follow legislation.

A lot of the headaches we have today are the result of the 1996 TeleCommunications Act that Clinton signed that allowed fewer people & companies to own more of the media. Which is why we can have people like Mudoch own so much of what we consume. Did you know he owns MySpace too? The recent purchase of our beloved indy Chicago Reader has been played up as one indy buying another. In reality, a large media group helped finance the deal, putting the Reader in the "another one bites the dust" pile.

Get involved with WIMN or other media reform & justice groups.

I did learn one big distinction last night: Media reform orgs want to change what we have. Indy media orgs want to create something new.

Low power FM may be the next thing. We need to wait it out a bit more, but if anyone has info on it, please send it in!

So get on WIMN's action alert list, read our blog, and if you can spare some change, donate. We're a staff of one, our Executive Director, with an army of volunteers. Imagine what we can do if we had more staff?!

BTW - You can also support us all this month by clipping this coupon and shopping at WCF. We get 10% of your purchase!


WIMN, feminism, media