Friday, March 9, 2012

Jennie Thunder's feminist adventures in Windsor

I was invited to speak at the University of Windsor as part of their International Women's Day events this year. It was a real honour to be invited to share my knowledge about the representation of women in advertising, plus my experiences as a feminist radio program host and blogger.

Me (left) with Nicole and Meghan, hosts of Milk & Vodka
One of the coolest experiences was being a guest on another radio program. The University of Windsor has a campus radio station much like our beloved CJSW in Calgary. CJAM is smaller, but they do have a feminist radio program - Milk and Vodka. I was interviewed by the fabulous hosts Nicole and Meghan.

It was really fun to be the guest rather than the host, and it was awesome to meet other feminist radio program hosts! We share a lot of similarities regarding our goals and hopes for strengthening the feminist communities in our respective cities.

I gave three presentations while in Windsor, all of which involved ad-busting - my specialty! I taught students how to identify things like sexism and racism in ads, and showed them how advertisements work by making us feel ugly, wrinkly, fat and generally inadequate. The shittier we feel about ourselves, the more we'll spend on products that supposedly make us thinner, more beautiful, less hairy, less wrinkly, and so on. Below is a typical example of what my ad-busting looks like. I've been doing this for about 6 years now and it's so much fun. I like challenging the mainstream messages in advertisements and inserting my own message of empowerment (or maybe just something funny that makes people think twice about the images they're seeing). 

My whole experience at Windsor was thanks to a group of women's studies students who were asked to find a presenter for Women's Day. They wanted a young feminist who was active in her community, and they found me via this blog. As I mentioned, I felt very honoured to be asked to present. Spending time with the students who organized the events was a real treat. They reminded me of myself six years ago - a keener student (I mean that in the most affectionate way!) with a passion for women's issues and a desire to make a difference. 

The students who organized the event: Sapphire, Marianne, Alexis, me and Laura

On my final night in Windsor I attended a button-making event at a local cafe. Tons of students from all faculties showed up to make buttons. I made a few myself - pictured here. This was actually my first time making buttons - hard to believe since that's practically a right of passage for feminists!

Well, that's my trip to Windsor in a nut shell. The best aspects of the whole experience were spending time with other young feminists and hearing feedback from my presentations like, "I learned a lot" and "That was really interesting." I have returned to Calgary with renewed feminist spirit and I'm ready to keep on rockin'!

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