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Feminist Webs January 2017

Happy New Year everyone! A time for new beginnings, though this issue mainly draws on items from the end of last year. Please continue to send information and ideas to so we can share them with our nearly 500 susbscribers - all interested in youth work with girls and young women.
The two latest Star Wars films, The Force Awakens and Rogue One, have been praised by some for breaking new feminist ground because of their strong female leads. But others have had very different reactions! Here are two reviews of Rogue One which argue that Disney is doing a good job of moving on from colour-coded princesses in outfits they can’t run in: ...and here are two which say the opposite: What do your Star Wars fans think? Feminist sci fi does have a proud history – what books/TV shows/films are your group aware of? The 2016 film Arrival, in which the main character averts disaster by using her linguistic skills to communicate with aliens, could be a recent example?
Carrie Fisher, who died last week aged 60, is best known for portraying Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. She was also widely admired for her writing skill, wit and honesty, incuding as a mental health advocate.
With the release of The Force Awakens last year, she was subject to intense media criticism as an 'aged'  Princess Leia – sexist scrutiny which didn't affect the older male cast members. Before being offered her role in the very first Star Wars film, aged 19, she was told to lose 15 pounds. To reprise it in The Force Awakens, in her late 50s, she was required to lose 35: “They didn’t hire me, they hired me minus 35 pounds”. Why are women subject to such body control? Have a look at the Feminist Webs resources, where there are activities for exploring gendered expectations with your group. 

Spotlight on...

Levy Youth Project Girl's Group

Levenshulme Youth Project (LYP) is supported by Great Places and local volunteers. Among its activities are a Youth Forum and a Girl's Group for
12-19 year olds which meets on Thursdays from 4.30pm, at Inspire.

Recent recognition!

LYP was runner-up for Community Project of the Year at the 2016 Be Proud Community Awards at Manchester Town Hall. Volunteers, Emma Okomoh and Kazbano Kalhoro also scooped the Young Achievers Award, being described as "inspirational and a role model to their peers".
LYP Girls Group 1
What makes YOU beautiful?
LYP Girl's Group says: "We know it's crucial for all girls and young women to develop a positive body image and a healthy mental attitude. So we're exploring practical ways in which this can be achieved. We made this short film with some our group members. As you can see we all find different facets of ourselves beautiful".

Job centres are failing young women

Young Women’s Trust (YWT - formerly the YWCA) is calling for more flexible and personalised support for young women after their Work It Out’ study showed that job centres are failing to help them into work. Only 19% of young women who visited a job centre in the last year said it had helped them. YWT offers free coaching and personalised advice on job applications to young women aged 16-30 - see here for information on accessing the scheme.

Women’s Aid "deeply disappointed" at the Government's response to 'Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools'

Polly Neate, Chief Executive of Women’s Aid, has expressed the organisation's deep disapointment at the Government choosing not to act on the Women and Equalities Committee's recommendation that every child have access to statutory, age-appropriate sex and relationships education (SRE). Without a clear directive from government, she said, there is no obligation for schools to prioritise SRE or adopt the recommended ‘whole school approach’. Read her comments in full here or click here to access the original report and the Government's response.

New mobile app that explains all about FGM

Petals’ is the UK’s first web app designed to allow teenagers to learn about female genital mutilation (FGM) anonymously, and get help if they are at risk.

The free app was designed by a team at Coventry University and developed with the help of local schoolchildren. Click on the image (to the right) to access it.

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