Feminist Weekly Update: July 19, 2016

Feminist Update
Your weekly update on all things feminism. Keep up to date on the election, the news, and what is going on in the world of women.

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In the News:
First woman and first African-American approved as Librarian of Congress: 
Carla Hayden, shown in 2015, was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday to head the Library of Congress. Hayden is the longtime leader of Baltimore's library system.With overwhelming support in the Senate, Dr. Carla Hayden recently became the first woman and the first African-American approved for the post of Librarian of Congress. Hayden breaks yet another barrier: she is the first Librarian of Congress with actual experience as a librarian. In a White House statement in February, President Obama wrote: “Dr. Hayden has devoted her career to modernizing libraries so that everyone can participate in today’s digital culture. She has the proven experience, dedication, and deep knowledge of our nation’s libraries to serve our country well and that’s why I look forward to working with her in the months ahead.” For more: NPR
Photography initiative helps refugee girls dream big: refugeeThe Vision Not Victim project, a mentorship initiative in collaboration with the International Rescue Committee, empowers refugee girls by portraying them in their dream careers. The project is knowingly ambitious, but has already resulted in an inspiring photo campaign and a growing network that connects refugee girls with women already working in their dream jobs. “Women and girls in conflict zones are usually portrayed as powerless,” says Meredith Hutchison, age 30, the program’s founder and principal photographer. “We rarely see photos of a Syrian woman who has experienced trauma and faces challenges but also has agency. Women have ideas about how to create solutions and how to build peace. I wanted to find a way to capture powerful images and make the process itself empowering.” For more: Ms. Magazine
Snapchat filters empower Indian survivors of sexual assault: snapchatAn innovative media campaign in India has made use of Snapchat’s face-mapping filters to allow interviewees to speak candidly about their experiences with sexual assault, without fear of repercussion or identification. Yusuf Omar, the mobile editor at the Hindustan Times has been using the filters to disguise the faces of women he interviews, while still allowing facial expressions to be visible. Sexual abuse is a huge problem in India, with an estimated 27.5 million women in the country affected; it’s also under-reported as many survivors don’t come forward because they fear the impact being identified would have on their future. This tactic allows women and girls to tell their emotionally impactful stories while protecting their identity with digital masks, including the popular and powerful fire-breathing dragon. For more: BBC
All-women art exhibition explores art as activism: Min Kim Park, "Contrived Spectacle" via Gutfreund online galleryRecently, UniteWomen partnered up with Gutfreund Cornett Art to create a space for self-identified women artists to engage in a dialogue about major social themes and how we can envision an empowering future. Vision: An Artists Perspective brought together culturally, ethnically, and generationally diverse artists to provide unique perspectives on social justice issues. These artists explore topics like violence against women, reproductive rights, identity and gender roles, beauty and sexuality, aging and illness, empowerment, and the human condition. For more: Ms. Magazine
 
Election Updates: 
Donald Trump names Mike Pence as running mate: Donald Trump officially introduced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate last week. While Trump said he primarily based his decision by examining Pence’s work as Indiana governor, he added that party unity was also a factor, without elaborating. For more: NPR
Republican National Convention kicks off in Cleveland: Yesterday was the first day of the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveland. There was a moment of major uncertainty on the arena floor mid-afternoon when the presiding officer ignored and spoke over an attempt by delegates opposed to Trump to derail a rules adoption process. The movement failed, which means there are no foreseeable barriers to Donald Trump securing the nomination at the RNC.
The Trump campaign came under fire following the speech of Donald Trump’s wife, Melania, when critics charged her with plagiarizing a 2008 speech by Michelle Obama. The Trump camp denies any wrongdoing.
As an aside, over 100 naked women protested ahead of the convention under the direction of photographer Spencer Tunick (CW). For more on RNC Day 1: The Guardian
 
Feminist of the Week: (CW: Racist images/strong language in linked articles) Leslie JonesActress Leslie Jones has been the victim of racism, sizeism, and sexism in recent weeks through attacks by social media users and the silence of many of her peers. Two weeks ago, Jones tweeted that no designers were willing to dress her for the Ghostbusters premiere, despite inquiries by her managers. Project Runway alum Christian Siriano stepped up to design a dress for her (pictured here) in response to her frustrated tweet. Yesterday, Jones began responding to dozens of tweets directed at her that criticized her appearance, called her racial epithets, and included a whole lot of passé nastiness that women of color are forced to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Outraged Twitter users began responding to the “trolls” and started the hashtag #LoveForLeslieJ. No person should ever endure the type of abuse Jones has in recent weeks. Her commitment to exposing racism and sexism in her personal life as well as in her career as an actress is admirable. For more: Huffington Post