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A Beauty Tale from Ur Allure

Maji Ramirez, Jenny O’Grady and Ali Happer are three young women all under the age of 25 who were tired of seeing media that didn’t empower women. They decided to take action and create Ur-Allure.com. Maji reached out to V-Girls on facebook to share their short film “Beauty Tale.” She writes:

“This video wasn’t just my individual accomplishment instead was the collaboration of myself and these two other amazing girls who made this video a reality. I think there is also a strong and powerful message in female collaboration. So many times its portrayed how women cannot get along and cannot work together and this would be a case where yes we get along, yes we love working together and all our talents combined make the final product a better one.”?

Check them out in their own words and watch their short film below.?

Ali, Jenny and Maji

Seriously, is there any media out there that is uplifting and entertaining? Almost every TV channel is telling me how I am supposed to look, pointing out everything I’m lacking in order to be happy.? When I turn on my TV, internet, and cell phone there are countless ads screaming: be taller, slimmer, wealthier, sexier, flawless, and buy hundreds of products to fix everything that is supposedly?wrong with me! As days pass by, it doesn’t get any better. The message of current media doesn’t change but I can’t seem to look away… What?to do?”

Dear girls, we totally agree! Where are the media and advertisements that empower?women? Content that makes us feel feminine, worthy, smart, beautiful… Alluring!

We couldn’t find much up to date entertaining, and uplifting material, therefore we decided to create it ourselves. There is no better example of activism than when you decide to stand up for what you believe. That doesn?t mean that you can?t use your creativity and talents to do so. On the contrary, the more powerful the message if it touches people, and the better would be the results of your activism efforts if you stick to your talents. Believe us, once you are able to complement a powerful message with something that you enjoy doing such as art, singing, designing, drawing, dancing or poetry not only you will have a blast doing it so but the message will be more powerful as well. Put your talents to a good use, inspire others, encourage others and stand up for what is right.

We are Maji, Jenny and Ali ?three girls who love making films and everything digital media related. We started ur-allure.com a media production company for women bringing you a positive message through digital channels. We are activist of the voice of girls in media. A voice that seems to be lowered by loud ads portraying a perfect woman without caring the collateral damages that these illusions of beauty cause in girls self-esteem. Ur Allure promotes healthy self-esteem through media and advertisement. We are not against ads, we believe however that there are better more uplifting messages that can be carried. You are beautiful, Alluring. Never ever forget that <3

If you want to write for V-Girls contact us at vgirls@vday.org!


I Would Like to Take the Bad Rep of the Word Feminism – Katarzyna on her Viral Comic Strip

Katarzyna Babis is a 20 year-old illustartor, comic and concept artist from Lublin, Poland. Recently a comic strip she created on her view of feminism went viral on tumblr. Katarzyna shares with us in her own words the thought process behind her creation and what she hopes comes from her art.?

The idea for this comic came from the irritation caused by the low standard of the discussions on feminism with both my friends and random strangers online. Every such conversation had to begin with a deconstruction of the basic, stupid stereotypes, which prevented any agreement on the subject:

  • “Feminists hate men”
  • “Feminists deny femininity, they want to turn themselves into men”
  • “Feminists invent problems where there are none”
  • “You have the right to vote, what more is there to fight for?”

I decided to create a comic strip to deal with all those stereotypes, and at the same time will induce internauts to have a rational discussion. A discussion about the problem with the way women are perceived by the society, about huge and often contradictory expectations that are put on their shoulders. In this reality, a woman?s body doesn?t belong to her – it is either a public property, intended only to be admired, or a source of sin, shame and guilt. The concept of maternity is glorified, but, at the same time, its actual form is despised. There is also “slut shaming”, so widespread recently, or blaming the rape victims – these are all real problems that we encounter on the every day basis.

What?s interesting, the most common reaction to my comic was, said in a tone of discovery: “But it is women who say those things to each other!”, even though I never suggested that my comic is an accusation of men. It only confirms what I tried to convey in my artwork – that all you need is to use the word “feminism” to get any statement perceived as an attack on men. Maybe it?s the “blame the victim” mechanism at work again, just on a bigger scale. Instead of “you did this to yourself” we hear “you all do this to yourselves” – and if so, there is no problem, is there.

I would like to take away the bad rep of the word “feminism”, broaden the awareness of the actual agenda of this movement, and of the need for discussion about the way in which women are treated in our society. I hope that the viral character of this comic can help me reach as many recipients as possible.

You can find Katarzyna and her work on her tumblr, deviantArt page and her portfolio website.?


An Inside Look at Feminart

This post is brought to you by youth from YolloCalli Arts Reach in Chicago. “Feminart is the first project the young curators have put together. It?s important to showcase the talent of these young female artists in feminart because we want the public to realize that even though gender equality is enforced we still mange to leave behind talented young women. Young women should feel safe about expressing themselves and going against conventional ideas in society. ?There are several different mediums presented in Feminart such as zines, graffiti, graphite, wheatpastes, and photography. The young female artists that created the art are between the ages of 10-20.”?

An exhibition closing will take place October 19th, 2013 from 1pm-5pm at Prosper Skate Shop, 2620 S Central Park.

Hi, My name is Tyshika Cooks. I?m 16 years old and I live in Chicago, IL. I attend Hyde Park Academy High school following my Junior Year. I teamed up with 4 other teens to create an exhibition called ?Feminart?. ?The exhibition is about female artists. We feel that female artists don’t get the props and attention they deserve as artists so everything in our show was created by girls ages 10-20. Austra is one of the artists in our exhibition that I chose to interview. She?s a 19 year old street artist.

Yollocalli Young Curators interview with AUSTRA from Yollocalli Arts Reach on Vimeo.

Tell us a few things about yourself ?

Austra: I?m a 19 year old student from Chicago & I do street art.

What highschool did you go to ?

Austra: I used to go to lane tech tech high school over on addison & western which is an selective enrollment school where I was one of about 4,000 students. Big school.

What is some advice you would give to other artists ?

Austra: Probably advice I wish I would?ve gotten was to take your time at what you?re doing. Always have an escape plan, Always have a plan B !

What if a 15 year old artists was to give up on art for some silly reason?

Austra: That?s also a reason why I was telling my good friend Sebastian ,who’s also a curator here, that no matter what, even when you feel bad about your art because there?s so much talent around the world even among your own friends is just to take a deep look in on yourself and realize that everybody?s an individual and everything you?re willing to bring out into the world as an expression is worth just as much if not more than anybody else?s. So not to get discouraged is my advice.

What?s your interest in art ?

Austra: I think art is the kindest form of therapy in a way because its something that is a way that you can express yourself whether it could negatively or positively or whatever kind of feelings you have inside, and its never gonna judge you because its not a person, or like a sport its like something you can always sell out because there?s nobody to judge you but yourself.

What attracts you to that interest in art ?

Austra: I think it started when I was a lot younger. My brother used to be a graffiti artist and I would see him and his friends leave the house at like 1 in the morning. They were only like 14 years old. They?d take backpacks of paintings and come home the next morning and be covered in paint & show me pictures. They weren’t following the rules but they were actually doing it for a better cause. They were making something beautiful.

Describe some recent pieces that you?ve done ?

Austra: I recently did a piece ver in Logan Square. It was actually like painted on and its a giant daisy character and its around like 8 ft tall, well a little bit taller than me, well a lot , like 2 ft taller than me. I did it like at 3 in the morning and i had a scarf around my head so that the security cams couldn?t see me but definitely thats probably like the most recent things that I?ve done which was about a week ago.

What?s your inspiration ?

Austra: I think my inspiration just come from all of the friends I have. Because most of my friends are artist and its fun. You always have something to talk about. Some would always be like ? Yooo I saw you out the other day? ? I saw your piece on the street? blah blah blah. Its just something fun because it attracts people that are trying to keep positive things going because you never see art being the cause of violence in the streets or anything. You don?t see that art is the reason why people are getting robbed in the middle of the night or anything. Its just something positive.

How would you define the exhibition we?re doing ?

Austra: I would define the exhibition ?Feminart? something new to me because I?ve done exhibitions before but nothing with the same idea going in, which is the idea that women, street art, just general art and just the fact that we?ve come a long way from being 2nd class citizens to being someone as equivalent if not exactly the same as men. I just think its something radical because I?ve never actually done something like that before and my inspiration does come from the well known street artists of the feminine world like Fafi and Claw 17 and everything. I just think it’s kind of fun to be able to do something along the same line as they have before

How can we find out more information about your art ?

Austra: I don?t Really post a lot. I guess the only advice to anyone trying to find out anything is to just keep a look out cus I?ll just probably post out on the streets if anything!

Check out photos from the exhibit!

An exhibition closing will take place October 19th, 2013 from 1pm-5pm at Prosper Skate Shop, 2620 S Central Park. ?This event is featured in Chicago Artists’ Month. ?


On Najma Hanif

By Aleksandra Srdanovic, V-Girls New York.?

I was left in utter shock a few days ago, upon learning that a woman named Najma Hanif was brutally killed in her home in Peshawar, Pakistan. But Najma?s background was not trite- she was a senior member of the Awami National Party in Pakistan. The Awami National party distinguishes itself in a positive manner as being one of the only parties in Pakistan that holds women on the same pedestal as men, alongside being politically progressive while fighting for human rights and anti-discriminatory laws. Their most recent efforts to move bills involving human rights into the National Assembly include the Child Rights and Protection Act, Pakistan Citizenship Act, and Women Trafficking Act. It is an absolute tragedy that such a progressive party lost an influential member like Najma Hanif, particularly because she was a woman. Najma?s strong voice and position showcased the slow but sure move towards gender equality in countries like Pakistan, but likewise her brutal murder only highlights the notoriously strong presence of those who oppose her cause and that of her party.

When I initially read this story on different media platforms, my mind automatically thought of the young girl Malala Yousafzai, another Pakistani native- she too fought for her rights as a young woman, particularly regarding education. Thankfully, Malala survived her own close encounter with death when she was shot by the Taliban, and now continues her successful work towards the achievement of gender equality and education for all. These two incidences, though separate in nature, both promulgate the ever present negative view towards women and their fight for rights. As a young woman living in America, I am reminded everyday of how lucky I am to possess full rights and have the ability to express myself freely. It is because of these rights I possess that I am displeased when I see other women around the world aren?t offered the equivalent.

I personally believe that there is absolutely no negative to granting women around the world equal rights. Societies with large gender disparities suffer by not allowing the full potential of each citizen, man or woman, to contribute to their development and allow for flourishment. Democratic systems have proven that women are more than capable of performing successfully in the workplace and benefit from receiving a proper education. There is no limit to what ambitious girls around the world can accomplish for their societies if they are given the initiative and ability to do so.

Read Aleksandra’s previous writings here.


DIV – Is Justice Just This?

Youth from Global Kids, a non-profit educational youth development organization, gathered yesterday at the Council on Foreign Relations to learn about V-Day’s work around the issue of violence against women and I-VAWA. This session was part of their US in the World International Law and Foreign Policy Institute where they discuss international affairs and develop projects to take part in over the course of their school year. After learning about V-Day’s One Billion Rising campaign and this year’s efforts to rise for justice, teens took time to define what justice means to them. These words, phrases and drawings came together in a beautiful collage expressing how they define justice.

After putting together their collage they learned about the International Violence Against Women Act?(I-VAWA, H.R. 4594, S. 2982). I-VAWA is the first comprehensive piece of legislation in the United States aimed at ending violence against women and girls around the world. It would improve our government?s response when women are victims of sex trafficking and rape during war and would provide aid to women?s groups on the ground working to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence.?

The teens took action by heading out to Central Park and engaging the public to sign their petition to have it reintroduced in Congress. While they were met with many negative responses, they persevered and managed to get many signatures from the public.

Alana Hamm and Jamilla Lewis, both rising seniors at Curtis HS in Staten Island, managed to have their entire petition filled. If you are interested in supporting their efforts, sign their petition here.

As part of their program the youth are required to develop a project or event during the school year around an issue. We hope to see many of them RISING for justice with us this year and continuing to be the dynamic global citizens they’ve already proven to be.

 

The day closed with the youth reflecting on why the issue of violence against women is so important to them. We look forward to having Global Kids leaders RISE FOR JUSTICE with us this year and continue their efforts to end violence against women and girls around the world.

 

To view the making of their collage and see some of the writings up close, check out the slideshow from the day’s events