Archive | January 2013

The Alexia Foundation Supports Photographers as Agents for Change

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Negar Yousafzai, 27, a British Afghan, at her home in Birmingham, UK. Negar is an educated and well informed young woman. Here she asks, “Who wants to hear the social or political opinions of a veiled woman like me. They only want to see pictures of oppressed Afghan women”. November 2, 2011. Bharat Choudhary/Alexia Foundation [Photo essay link]

The most important issues of our time – the most important events in history – many of us can recall the photographs in our heads and the stories that they brought to life. Pictures can capture our hearts, make us laugh, or provide a glimpse into a sobering reality of human actions and consequences through a language we can all understand. Photojournalists bring us these pictures, the indelible images that give voice to social injustice or shine a light on issues and focus attention on things that might otherwise go unnoticed, serving as catalysts for change.

The role of today’s photojournalist has never been more critical. Through grants, scholarships, and special projects, The Alexia Foundation is committed to supporting the work of photojournalists and their powerful ability to communicate through images and move each of us forward to a better understanding of the social injustice that exists around us.

Inspired by their dear daughter and sister Alexia Tsairis who was innocently killed at the age of 20 during the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, the Tsairis family have worked to build Alexia’s legacy as a photographer through The Alexia Foundation. From its beginning as a memorial fund at Alexia’s alma mater Syracuse University, The Alexia Foundation has grown to become one of the most well-known and respected awards in the field of photojournalism, earning recognition and awards from World Press Photo, the Emmy News and Documentary Awards, the duPont-Columbia University Award, and a Pulitzer Prize; just to name just a few. The Alexia Foundation has given $700,000 to 110 photography students and 18 professional photojournalists producing 128 funded projects over the last 24 years. Photojournalists supported by The Alexia Foundation have had their work featured in prestigious media outlets such as National Geographic, The New York Times, TIME, Newsweek, LA Times, The New York Times, and many more.

Now, The Alexia Foundation is seeking to increase the impact of photojournalists and the stories they tell through targeted grant opportunities and partnerships with non-profit organizations that will enable the images created by Alexia photojournalists to bring awareness to problems, give voice to those who have gone unheard, and move people to take action – whether it is the impact of climate change on Bangladesh or the lives of those in The West Bank. The Alexia Foundation is actively seeing financial support from new sources – foundations, corporations, and individuals who have a commitment to human rights and a desire to drive change.

If you would like to learn more about how you can make a contribution to support the mission of The Alexia Foundation, or how the work of the foundation can raise awareness of your organization, please visit their website at http://www.alexiafoundation.org.

Also, check out their video on Vimeo!

I’m a woman

I’m a woman. I think. I hate. I lie. I cheat. I’m not a virgin. I’m not a whore. Because, you know, women aren’t either virgins or whores – they are a complex mix of both. We have vices and virtues. We are not White or Black, we are fifty thousand shades of grey. We are complex. We are human. We have urges, as natural as yours. Image

Sometimes, we don’t have them too. You cannot police us. We do not owe anything to you. You do not own us. We are beautiful, we are ugly. We are saints, we are murderers. We are everything; we can be everything, a complex mix of everything.

Accept it; deal with it, live with it.

This note is for those who resort to the popular (at least in India) tactic of silencing and policing women through “Women Are Goddesses, Therefore”*

* This phrase is used to deny women liberty and choice and they are made to fit into an “ideal woman” mould. For example – Give him another chance, be forgiving, women are the embodiment of goddesses after all (at the same time reducing men to grown up boy-children who Refuse To Mature And Must Be Mollycoddled By Women).

A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space”

 – Gloria Steinem

A short note asking us all to introspect about what we find funny

Laughing at misogynist jokes, such as those which promote slut-shaming (or racist, or any other bigoted jokes), doesn’t make us have a “great sense of humour”. It makes us actively participate in a culture of marginalisation. Raging against rape won’t do shit as long as you don’t change OURSELVES. We should question what has been drummed into us. 

The notion of “virginity” and “purity” is a shit one. It is THESE attitudes which play a big role in rape victims not coming forward and reporting crimes. 

Woman: I had Sex wid only 4 boyz in my entire
life & U had it wid 16 Girls, still, Everybody Calls
me a SLUT
&
Cal u a REAL MAN,
A Winner?
Why?
Man: It’s because,
when a Lock is Opened by many Keys,
it Becomes a BAD LOCK.
But when a Key Opens many Locks,
it becomes a MASTER KEY..  😉 😉 😉

And equating men with “keys” and women with “locks” is just so messed up, I don’t even know where to start. We are not locks or keys, we’re actual human beings. A woman being called a slut for having sex with four men and a man being called a stud for having sex with sixteen women has nothing to do with locks and keys, it is sexist double standards stemming from patriarchal mindsets. 

I, for one, have nothing against standing up in opposition to such “jokes” and this may make me a “killjoy feminist”, but, you know, fuck joy stemming from sexism.

Sexism is not cool, and that includes sexist jokes.

We’re not making fun of sexism, you’re actually endorsing it, even if unintentionally.