Byon March 27, 2012 03:04 PM
Who needs credit cards when you have a junior vagina? read one of the slides in Samhita Mukhopadhyay's talk, arranged by the Multicultural Resource Center on March 21. Mukhopadhyay, who is the executive editor of feministing.com, emphasized in her stirring talk why feminism is still needed in today's world.
She highlighted the case of the panties sold in Walmart's junior section with the phrase "Who needs credit cards . . ." printed on the crotch and "when you have Santa" on the derriere. After spotting the undergarments in the juniors department of a Walmart in Cary, North Carolina, a horrified reader alerted the blog, which broke the story, triggering an uproar from parents that ultimately forced Walmart to pull the offensive underpants from shopping aisles.
"The message broadcast to adolescent girls was that they don't need to worry about finances since they have their very own moneypot between their legs," said Mukhopadhyay.
This was exactly what Mukhopadhyay and her blog strive to do—alert readers to the horrendous misogynist messages being fed to them everday and encourage them to take action. The panty-post is an example of how a single individual is capable of affecting change among major corporations and the mainstream media.
"There are tons of sexist, racist, homophobic media streams online," declared Mukhopadhyay. "But if you can change the conversation, you can change the culture."
Mukhopadhyay went on to give an alarming example of how females engage in masochist dialogue today. When Chris Brown, the R & B artist notorious for assaulting his girlfriend in 2009, performed at the Grammys, countless teenage girls tweeted, "Chris, you can beat me any day." She also touched on the current debate on women's access to birth control and President Obama's recent compromise that allows employers with religious objections to opt out of birth control coverage and other services. "This debate is about controlling women's choices," said Mukhopadhyay.
As a professional blogger, she went on to give advice on the power of blogging. Practical tips included finding a hook to reel your audiences in, being strategic in picking your battles, and updating your blog frequently so that your readers trust you as a news source.
"For the first time in history, we have the opportunity to tell our stories, so let's not let this opportunity go to waste," she said. The internet is indeed a gold mine for every sort of information or community imaginable but it is also a minefield of ignorance and prejudice. By using social media wisely, we can seek social justice, raise awareness about an issue, and make the conversation more inclusive.