SPARK Ignites A Firestorm of Powerhouses: Geena Davis, & More

October 16, 2010 The countdown to the SPARK Summit (Sexualization Protest: Action. Resistance. Knowledge) is in its final week, culminating in the NYC Summit Friday Oct 22, 2010 and the hits just keep on comin,’ as girls’ organizations and teens nationwide continue to register, and big name surprises pop into the media mix as if no one wants left out of the fun. Excitement is building for this emerging “happening,” as we ramp up for a “rebel yell” with youth leading the way.

From podcasts and petitions to “Intervene with Halloween” (pushback on parade!) people are uniting from multiple generations in Howard Beale “Network” style to light the match on a long overdue bonfire torching media and marketing’s sexploitation of girls and women.

Much like Bob Ayres’ SF reunion of The Other Café brought out impromptu ‘rockstars of comedy’ (Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, Kevin Pollack, Will Durst, Bob Goldthwait, Bobby Slayton, Paula Poundstone and more, lasting over 6 hours as guests kept popping in to lend support and join the cause) the SPARK Summit is bound to pull local NYC bigwigs and stellar femme forward folks as word begins to spread like wildfire and media takes hold. (Registration is here, agenda and video after the jump)

As a partner org supporting the “what are we gonna DO about it” mindset, Shaping Youth is turning up the heat all week long with coverage spotlighting sexualization of ALL genders.

SPARK is aiming directly at girls and women as the targets of age compression, commodification, objectification and body snatching kids right out of their childhood, but Shaping Youth will be covering the ‘what about the boys’ stories too, since cultural cues aimed at Packaging Boyhood are in dire need of a messaging overall and market correction as well, being part and parcel of a profiteering over public health mindset that’s devolved into ugliness far beyond the borders of our society with leakage onto humanity as a whole. (thank goodness for cool orgs like The GoodMenProject, Inspire Foundation, The Trevor Project and more)

More than just raising voices or “fist-pumping and pearl clutching” as so many have belittled the notion of igniting a massive media mindshift, SPARK aims to move the conversation beyond flame and blame into hands-on policy, action, economic steps and debate, as well as youthful engagement and fresh, creative ideas to ignite social change and revisit media and marketing’s powerful potential to do GOOD both inside and outside the industry.

Join us, won’t you?

It’s gonna be a riot. Well, er…maybe not a riot…but…well, ya never know. It’s taking shape to have a youthful vibrance and fun and flair all its own.

Here’s more on the whys, (research) the whos/whats (agenda & partner orgs involved) and the hows, which remain to be seen as outcomes and next steps for ideas to champion change take off like rocket fuel on the big day… October 22, 2010. Hunter College, NYC.

Hope to see you there!

p.s. If you’ve been following the Spark Summit ‘Ally of the Day’ blog or the teens and youth activist personal stories and insightful blog tour that’s going on right now, you’ll see that Shaping Youth is proudly hosting an interview with 21-year old About-Face.org  activist Melissa Campbell Monday, Oct 18, who was part of the American Apparel protest via “street theater” event in SF, and who will give us tips and tactics on taking aim at corporate cultures that have loooong and sordid histories of sexploitation. She’ll give us her ‘from the trenches’ point of view on what works and what doesn’t in any given counter-marketing effort!

Woohoo, can’t wait. Watch for it Monday, Oct. 18! Coming soon!

Here’s a sneak peek of Melissa’s stance on American Apparel:

“A huge part of the work I tried to do with our AA action, and that I want to continue to do with my participation in SPARK, is to encourage girls from all walks of life to become active for change. Activism is important and can be fun and challenging not matter what the level of the participation. American Apparel in particular disempowers girls and women by commodifying and reselling female sexuality as having a particular (submissive) aesthetic, and taking action against that–on any level, from actively and consciously refusing to buy AA to staging street theater on the sidewalk in front of a retail store–is a way of taking back what AA & co are attempting to co-opt and define for their own use.

…Especially since AA dresses up its particular brand of objectification as hip, it’s so important that woman & girls take a stand and protect their sexualities against cool-kid trends that make certain kinds of sexual behavior or availability part of a “hip” aesthetic–like you’re cool if you wear these clothes, but you’re really authentically cool if you make your body available (physically and visually) to whoever asks. And what I come up against a lot when I talk about this is accusations that I’m frigid or a prude or “scared of your own sexuality,” but that couldn’t be more false. Young women should be able to make healthy sexual decisions–to be sexually active or not with whoever they want and only who they want–for themselves on their terms and AA’s “anywhere all the time” aesthetic, and the way it’s been adopted by hip/alternative circles, makes that difficult.

It encourages and supports a rape culture that makes women’s bodies the property of everyone but themselves, but activism at any level gives girls and women the power that AA attempts to take away…”

Words of 21-year old Spark Summit youth activist Melissa Campbell stopping here on the SPARK blog tour Monday Oct 18! Watch for it!

Meanwhile, is you need a few snapshots (recent examples) regarding “why we need to Spark a movement“…recall my post:

“Girls, are you tired of being wrapped up, marketed and sold like a slab of meat? Having the media tell the world what your priorities are? Sick of slimy innuendos aimed at toddlers, tweens, and your little sister? Hey, we’re not afraid to name names. Media such as:

Sony’s “Still A Virgin?” (we can remedy that) sophomoric slam positioning virginity as a prankster  power tool…

Kmart & AlloyTV’s First Day episodic telling teens their school looks set up their mate and date appeal for life (how archaic to even utter spinster/die alone crapola in the 21st century, talk about out of touch!)

Not to mention bottom feeders like  American Apparel’s “Best Bottom” contests, Urban Outfitter “Eat Less” shirts, and Daddy’s girl-as-property cues and Candie’s tween thongs at Kohl’s and Diesel’s “Be Stupid” ads. AND… the recent KFC “Assvertising” to literally ‘buy a bum’ for bucks to be ‘brand ambassadors’ for a “KFC Double Down of Unhealthy Cues”

Yes, it’s time to ‘spark a movement indeed.

Here’s MORE inspiration from Spark Summit speaker and Mensa media maven Geena Davis speaking at the United Nations leading the way for sparking a movement of change in mass media messaging and gender equity in film! Courtesy of Maxims News Network June 29, 2010

A Few Posts About The Spark Summit on Shaping Youth:

Teen Girls! Ready For a Rebel Yell? Spark Change Now (Sept 2010)

Help Spark A Name To Ignite Change (June 2010)

Initial Convening Team: Spark Summit Save the Date (May2010)

Related Reading on Shaping Youth: Sexualization & Objectification—Selling Girls/Girls Selling Out

Bottom Feeders Like American Apparel Need Whacked In The Assets

Girls Are Not Candies, Tweens Are Not Teens

Commodification of Kids: The Backlash Has Begun

So Sexy So Soon: Amy Jussel Talks With Jean Kilbourne

Body Blitz: APA Shows Harm of Early Sexualization

Steamed About Sexualization? Healthy Media for Youth Act, Now!

Healthy Youth Media Act Pt2: Can Change Be Legislated?

Help SPARK A Name For The Sexualization Summit

Sexualization Summit: Save The Date: 10-22-10 NYC

I’m Not A Prude, But…

Gossip Girl Sweeps, Predictably Trashy

Raising Girls Amidst Meat Marketing: Carl’s Jr, Burger King Raunch

Taking Aim at Target: Think That V is a Coinkydink?

When It’s Not Hip to Be Square, Sexist Spongebob & Burger Shots

Sexed Up M&Ms Sell Fashionably Decadent Premium Sleaze

Mama’s Got A Brand New Bag…Er…Face. Nose. Belly.

Body Blitz: APA Shows Harm of Early Sexualization

Body Image: Tips for Teens (Both Genders!) To Survive the Media Morass

What Sells: Infants As Fashion Statements & Joke Props?

Beyonce’s Dereon Divas: PopTarts and Sesame Streetwalkers?

Sexist Undies: Slimy Santa Innuendo Gets the Heave Ho-Ho-Ho!

Bratz Movie Seeps Bratitude Into Kid Culture

Pussycat Dolls Vamp for Lame TV-the ‘F’ Word is Feminist? Hardly.

Celeb Pop Culture and Media’s Tipping Point of Toxicity

Hollywood Walk of Lame—Victoria’s Secret Models ‘Earn’ Star? For WHAT?

Mommy, Why Are Her Legs Spread Like That?

Shaping Youth Is In the L.A. Times Today, Yawn

Kids Are A Captive Audience With Ambient Advertising

Shaping Youth Through Ambient Advertising

Manga Makeovers And Other Body Image Cartoon Capers

Facelifts for Kiddie Characters?

Gender, Race & Sexism: Shaping Youth Through Pop Culture Cues

Girls As Boy Toys Takes an Even More Toxic Turn

Preteen Tips/How to Say it To Girls

America the Beautiful: See it. Support it.

Childhood Matters Radio Show: Raising Strong, Healthy Girls Today

Teen Girls, Ready For A Rebel Yell? SPARK anti-sexualization 10-22-10

(see more in our body image, growing up too soon archives)

Shaping Youth’s Highly Recommended Reads

So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids Diane E. Levin and Jean Kilbourne

Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes (Packaging Boyhood, Oct 2009;  S.Y. Board Advisors)
Sharon Lamb and Lyn Mikel Brown

Sexual Teens, Sexual Media: Investigating Media’s Influence on Adolescent Sexuality Jane Brown et al (Eds)

APA Task Force on the Early Sexualization of Children (full 72pp pdf)

SexTech: ISIS-Inc. Conference/Resources

Girls Shape the Future: Study/Girls Inc: Early Predictors of Girls’ Adolescent Sexual Activity (summary: 8 pp pdf)

Resource List from So Sexy So Soon

CCFC Fact Sheet on Sexualizing Childhood

CCFC Two-Page pdf of stats & resources on sexualization

KFF.org “Sex on TV4″ Program for the study of media & health

Wellesley Centers for Women: Commentary on So Sexy So Soon

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