Day 10 | Offline Activism - Part 1 | Capture sexism!

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

We are constantly surrounded by billboards, advertisements and messages that tell us about how women and men should be: what we should aspire to, the bodies we should have, the roles we are meant to play at work, in politics, at home and in relationships, the desires we are wanting, and more. They shape the environment and spaces we inhabit, and contribute to the construction of norms and stereotypes around gender and sexuality. These reinforce unequal power relations between women and men, which in turn contribute to the perpetuation of violence against women. For example, the unceasing depiction of women as submissive, sexualised objects intended for the male gaze helps define a reality where sexual violence is a common facet of control over women.

These messages are so ubiquitous that we often don't even realise when we walk pass them. Or they have become so normalised that we no longer take the time to question, get angry or concerned.

Take back your spaces! Today we invite you to take a walk in the streets of your neighbourhood, town or city and map the gendered messages that you hear all the time. Arm yourself with your mobile phone or camera, and capture the sexism that pervades our everyday spaces.

1. Document

  • When you leave your house today, take your camera or mobile phone with you. Or borrow one :)
  • Keep your eyes opened for advertisements, graffiti, banners, leaflets, billboards etc. that presents a picture or sends a message on how men and women is or should be
  • Go further - take a bus or other forms of public transport.
  • Look everywhere - on a menu, a passing taxi, messages scrawled on the door of a public toilet etc.
  • Capture it! Snap a picture of the image or message.
  • Note: Take closeups of the images, and be aware of your privacy concerns and the privacy of others. Don't take pictures of street names or other identifiable landmarks that you feel uncomfortable with because it might share your location. And don't (accidentally or intentionally) take pictures of anyone's faces unless you expressly ask them for permission and tell them what it's for.

2. Question

  • Download and have a look at all the images you have taken for the day
  • What do they tell you about the idea and role of women, men, boys and girls where you are?
  • What are some of the interesting or unexpected things you came across?
  • Imagine if you were looking at them as someone who is of a different gender, sexual, ethnic or other forms of identity, does it change how you relate or respond to the images?

3. Share and map collectively

  • Help map the spaces that we occupy by adding your experience and documentation.
  • Select 10 images that you felt impacted you the most, and share them with other campaigners
  • Upload them on your favourite photosharing site such as Flickr, Picasa or Twitpic, and add the location of images as well as "takebackthetech" as tags. If you are on Flickr, you can also join the Take Back The Tech!¬†Flickr group and add your photos to the pool.
  • Or upload it on this site:
    • Create an account and log in
    • Click on "Create content", then "Images".
    • Under "Gallery", select "Campaign photographs"
    • Under "Daily action reference", select today's action
    • Browse and upload your image
    • Add the country where you are, and the location of the images as tags
    • Under description, write a brief description of your action and how you felt about it.
    • Click "Save" and you're done!
  • Leave the URL or link of where you've placed your photos as a comment on this page, and add a few thoughts on how you felt about your journey and action

Challenge sexism. Start by documenting and naming the everyday messages that permeate and shape the spaces that we inhabit. Capture and share!