Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership

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Author Archive


(This post first appeared on my blog ReelGirl which rates kids’ media and products on girl empowerment)

Disney bigwigs Ed Catmull and John Lasseter

Disney bigwigs Ed Catmull and John Lasseter

At first it seems like possible good news. Disney/ Pixar announces: no more fairy tales, code for princess movies. Great! No more damsels in distress who end the movie by landing a man. Now we’re going to have a slew of new movies with cool girl heroes who bravely rescue boys from peril, exuding power and beauty by performing all kinds of risk-taking tasks and challenges.

But, no.

First of all, the reason the fairy tale movies are stopping is because Disney/ Pixar executives have decided that little girls aren’t worth making movies for at all.

The LA Times reports the fairy tale movies “appealed to too narrow an audience: little girls. This prompted the studio to change the name of its Rapunzel movie to the gender-neutral ‘Tangled’ and shift the lens of its marketing to the film’s swashbuckling male costar, Flynn Rider.”


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

Originally posted to my blog ReelGirl on Oct 31

'Healthy model'? from www.marieclaire.com Two women’s magazine’s recently issued profuse apologies for offending their readers, totally missing the point with their mea culpas.

Maura Kelly, a blogger for Marie Claire, wrote about the TV show “Mike and Molly,” which features a couple who met at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. Kelly didn’t like having to look at fat people; she doesn’t think they should be on television. She wrote:

I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room – just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

(This post first appeared on my blog ReelGirl)

Joan Baez at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2010

Joan Baez at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2010

Just back from Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the free three day music festival in Golden Gate Park. Patti Smith is one of the all time best performers I’ve ever seen. She is a total rockstar, swaggering on stage like Mick Jagger or Jim Morrison, so in control of everything, with her callbacks and clapping, she played the audience like an instrument. When she covers songs you think you know well, they sound like nothing you’ve heard before; she slows it all down, savoring every word. Her “Play With Fire” was intense and beautiful with two stanzas of her own lyrics inserted in the middle. If anyone recorded it (I saw you all!) please post. Smith told everyone how lucky we were to live here and then she recited the prayer of St. Francis, reminding the audience to “Be happy, work hard, love one another.” Listening to her under all that swaying Eucalyptus, the fog wisping in around us, was a great San Francisco moment.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Blog

Originally posted to ReelGirl on September 21, 210

Mia Herndon, Executive Director of Third Wave,

an organization run by and for young women and transgender youth age 35 and under, believes that shutting down Craigslist’s ‘adult services’ section is a simplistic and ultimately ineffective response to the complex issues around sex work and young people.

Herndon says, “Craigslist is one of the few sites that worked with law enforcement. It’s not the right target.”


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | Media | Women | Blog

Originally posted to my blog ReelGirl on August 15th, 2010

I’m thrilled that Chief Judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, Vaughn Walker, lifted his temporary stay on his brilliant ruling striking down Prop 8. His eloquent, almost 140 page decision is now a part of America’s history of civil rights and makes me proud to be a San Franciscan.

My Wedding pic

I disagree with one major point Walker made: his implication that allowing gays to marry doesn’t affect heterosexual unions. On the contrary, I believe his decision profoundly and permanently pushes all marriages’ potential much further towards something sacred.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Living | Blog

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Leah Garchik writes:

After the U.N. Conference on Women in Beijing 15 years ago, Hillary Rodham Clinton planted the seed for Vital Voices, a nongovernmental organization that works worldwide to support “emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs.” Cissie Swig, profoundly committed to a host of global causes, political campaigns, women’s rights and the arts, is on its board. And last Monday, she invited about 30 friends, mainly women with parallel passions, to dinner at Villa Taverna to meet Vital Voices President Alyse Nelson, who described the group’s work: identifying those women, educating and training them in financial skills, marketing, communication, leadership.

This gathering wasn’t just about providing financial support. After Nelson described projects in nearly 127 countries and suggested the possibility of a Bay Area council, guests leaped in with ideas for participating. Mills College President Janet Holmgren said Mills would be excited to be “the nexus” for a Bay Area presence; Anette Harris, board member for the International Museum of Women, suggested that institution and Vital Voices might work together on a speakers’ series; retired Bishop William Swing of the United Religions Initiative said, “A lot of times religion keeps women from taking a place at the table; we would like to sit down and talk with you about that”; radio producer-writer-Woodhull Institute founder Margo Magowan talked about training women for on-air appearances; and Cissie’s daughter-in-law Darian Swig, whose passion is Human Rights Watch, discussed the importance of supporting Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and suggested joining forces on a Liberia working group.

Cissie Swig had accomplished the evening’s goal, as she expressed in a goodnight wish: “Stay connected.”

Category : Events | Featured | Media | News | Retreats | Woodhull in the News | Blog

This week at San Francisco’s City Hall The International Museum of Women and San Francisco Arts Commission opened Economica: Picturing Power and Potential, a juried photo exhibition. The show features photography of women at work around the world, celebrating them as “economic participants and agents of change.”

To put on this show, the jury reviewed works by 150 artists who responded to an international call for submissions. In the end, 20 artists were selected: 6 from the Bay Area, 4 additional U.S. artists, and artists from Japan, Kenya, Brazil, the Netherlands, China, India, Iran, and Canada. The subject matter ranges from teen community leaders in Richmond to opera singers in Brazil to seaweed farmers in Zanzibar.

Seaweed Farmers of Zanzibar, Joanna Lipper

This is an absolutely stunning exhibition. Looking at the gorgeous photographs, I felt as if I were visiting all the countries featured, getting an intimate look at women’s everyday lives while I traveled around the world. You will leave this show inspired and impressed by the strength of these women, and convinced that investing in them will help to change the world.


Category : Community Member Projects and Updates | Culture | News | Blog

(This post first appeared on my blog ReelGirl)

Derek Blasberg's Classy

Perez Hilton justified the crotch shot he posted to his Twitter feed of Miley Cyrus, claiming he was trying to teach her to act like a lady.

Perez isn’t the only guy around instructing women on how to behave. Derek Blasberg, a 27 year old from Missouri, recently came out with a modern manners how-to, just for the gentler sex: Classy: Exceptional Advice for the Extremely Modern Lady.

When I saw this at a bookstore, I thought it was a joke. Alas no, Blasberg sold his wisdom to a publisher, and it’s fast on it’s way to becoming a best-seller. In the intro Blasberg writes: “I can categorize the young women I’ve met through my trials and travails into two groups: ladies and tramps.”


Category : Culture | Media | News | Blog
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