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100 Days after the Women's March

29 March 2015

Review: I've got a bad feeling about Princess Leia's comic book series

When I learned that Princess Leia was getting a comic book series, it made sense. Women-led comic books are all the rage, especially given the ass kicking that "Thor (2014)" has been doing in sales. But after two issues, I am quite disappointed. "Princess Leia" picks up at the end of the "A New Hope" when Leia presents Luke & Han with medals.

SPOILERS BELOW....

The issue that Leia must contend with in this series is what to do after the destruction of Alderaan. Not just personally, but as the Princess of Alderaan. And here's where I feel the plot goes off track...The idea that the Empire is going to hunt down any remaining citizens of Alderaan is believable. I get that. But what I do not get is that Leia is portrayed as not just impulsive, which she is, but dumb impulsive. She was bad ass. See video I found on YouTube below...Go on, watch...



The first two issues paint Leia as too trusting and far more Princess Vespa than Leia.

Now her mission is to find all of Alderaan's orphans and preserve its culture. I hope this is more Indiana Jones than anything else. But I fear for the worst.

This is disappointing because for one thing, this is supposed to be a mini-series. We have little time to allow for Leia to act like as immature as she does. And we must remember this bridges "A New Hope" with "Empire" where Leia is clearly climbing in leadership status. Perhaps this series is part of a learning curve that helps ANH Leia evolve into ESB Leia? I am confused folks! I want bad ass Leia, not a princess that clearly needs to be saved and grounded.

Are you reading the series too? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @veronicaeye.

26 March 2015

The Power to Offend: Why Dan Bernstein Says What He Says

The latest case of foot-in-mouth disease, Chicago sports radio personality, Dan Bernstein.

Wednesday night, Bernstein took to Twitter to question the ability of a woman sports reporter's abilities. He woke up the next morning with a Twitter hangover. But unlike the young man who called Mo'ne Davis a slut, so far Bernstein has gotten off scott-free.

The Chicago Tribune reports that "Bernstein admitted on air he didn't realize he was in the middle of a blazing social media firestorm until he woke up Thursday morning. Only then did it hit him that making Twitter comments about a woman sports anchor's appearance probably wasn't a good career move." Ya, think?

What was his offending tweet about? Boobs


Since he joined the radio station in 1995, we can assume that he is not a teenage boy unaccustomed to seeing women or women's body parts. So what would make a grown man say something, never mind it was on Twitter, about a colleague's appearance in such a gross manner?

Power.

As a white male in a white male dominated industry, he has immense power. He has also been the co-host of his current show since 1999. That means that the powers that be at WSCR know him very well and appreciate his work. That gives him more power. This type of institutional power exhibits itself in many ways in other arenas - this is what gives people the sense of invincibility and they are often correct. We are far more a society of forced apologies than having real conversations about what the offense really was about.

This is why the Starbucks "Race Forward" campaign was such a flop. As a society, we have little skills to talk about racism, sexism, homophobia and all the other 'isms a rational level that does not involve those in power (usually white heterosexual men) to be offended.

For me, as someone who studies organizations and why some continue to be safe havens for racism and sexism, the first thing I wanted to see if there were any women on-air at the station. Here are the line-ups:

OK...maybe not hosts. I get that women are often the side-kick or side-line reporter, let's see what that looks like:

 
Oh.

And then I noticed a link above the hosts line up.

WSCR EEO Report: Click here.

Oh....So yes, I clicked right on over. In a simple PDF form, you can see how CBS hired all their openings for one year. I restricted my quick research project to WSCR. Over the course of July 23, 2013 – July 22, 2014, they hired eight individuals.
(11) Local Sales Manager (WSCR(AM)) Internal Candidate/Promotion
(12) Account Executive (WSCR(AM)) Referral (Employee, Industry, Personal)
(13) Account Executive (WSCR(AM)) Referral (Employee, Industry, Personal)
(14) Account Executive (WSCR(AM)) Referral (Employee, Industry, Personal)
(15) Promotions Manager (WSCR(AM)) Internal Candidate/Promotion
(16) National Sales Assistant (WSCR(AM)) Referral (Employee, Industry, Personal)
(17) Board Op Sounds Producer (WSCR(AM)) Internal Candidate/Promotion
(18) Content Producer (WSCR(AM)) Internal Candidate/Promotion
And you get to see where they got their interviewed candidates. I could not find information on their actual resume pool, but given what we know of the job market, I think it safe to say there were more than 54 applicants for eight openings. And where did WSCR get their interviewees from?

28 from internal applicants
17 from personal referrals
9 from the CBS job website
1 from an outside job website

And 100% of the jobs were filled with people who were referred to the openings or internal candidates. It is true that it is who you know!

Back to Bernstein...People are now wondering what should happen. Fired? Suspended? Whichever is fine with me. But what we really should be talking about is how did a radio station, even a sports radio station, get to where there are NO women on their photo staff roster? Well, I think I just showed you.

When you rely on internal and personal networks to fill open positions, you often replicate what you already have. The way humans works is that we too often associate with people who look just like us. It is comforting. Which is why some organizations make it harder for those in hiring to hire who they know. It does not always work, but at least it pushes people to reach outside their inner circle to look for applicants. And given the long list of diverse organizations that the ads were listed in, there should had been applicants who were good enough for an interview.

Organizational culture is very hard to change. But it can change with enough will from the top. I know some will wave off this incident as just more frat boy sports radio antics and they are right, But it does not mean we should ignore it. Women are sports journalists and they deserve a workspace that is respectful of them as human beings. It can be done, but not if we focus on apologies instead of actions.

18 March 2015

#365FeministSelfie NW Retreat is in the books...


I really did not think that picture would actually take place.

Over a year ago when I launched #365FeministSelfie, I did not think so many people would participate. Then when they did and started to talk about organizing a retreat? Shut the front door! No way. People are going to travel to meet people they met via selfies? Well over the weekend we did.  It wasn't a ton of people and in fact, it was the perfect number of people for the first, beta #365Feministselfie Retreat. I am so terrible at names, it was seriously perfect for me. You would think after seeing each other for over a year, we'd all know everyone's names. haha! But I wasn't the only one who needed a little help now and then.

  
And just as advertised we did not just sit around taking selfies. We heard from Caitlyn of In Other Words (aka the bookstore from Portlandia) about the rewards and challenges of a volunteer-run bookstore/community center. It's hard y'all. Then we heard from one of our selfie sisters who has a background in international affairs. That was pretty awesome. When we did our wrap-up meeting on Sunday most of us said they want to hear more from expert sisters. Not that we did not love our body love workshop (going find a new pencil skirt to buy & rock) or hearing from Andi Zeisler, co-founder and current editorial/creative director of Bitch magazine.

We had some great conversations with our guests and ourselves about feminism, mothering, the medicalization of life (pregnancy, birthing, breastfeeding, and so forth), the benefits of backyard chickens, babywearing, body image, being an emotional being when the world wants you to suck it all up, and our love of books. I get the sense that we could have been just as happy sitting around the pool (that I don't think any of us got to) reading and catching up. 

The power of the internet never fails to amaze me. Sixteen months ago most of us were strangers. Now we call each other sister. We are all very different from each other, but what brought us together was the idea of taking a selfie every day for a year to reclaim our everyday feminism. 

Thanks ladies. And the rest of ya, stay tuned for news on a Midwest Retreat in the fall.

 

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces


Veronica's favorite books »
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