Awesome Flash site aimed at educating young girls about airbrushing, sexism in the media, sexualization of young girls, etc. This is a really wonderfully done project, especially as it encourages girls to directly call or email CEO’s to confront media sexism. What’s even more amazing is that it’s a government project. Wow.
I would love to see something like this in the US! If anyone would like to collaborate, just let me know. Another great resource for educating kids about media and consumerism is the PBS documentary “The Merchants of Cool“, narrated by media sleb Doug Rushkoff. I grabbed a .torrent of it, but you can actually watch the whole thing online for free! PBS is aces in my book for making resources like this available.
Finally, I’m going to plug my favorite teen novel, Feed. This is an absolutely amazing book which I read randomly about two years ago and have had firmly lodged in the front of my brain ever since. It’s dystopic sci-fi, really, really dark and detailed, and every time I read it, it seems darker (I caught the “disposable table” the last time I read it and I got really freaked out). At the same time, it’s a very light teen novel, written in the bubbliest of val-speak, peppered with brand names and partying. Basically, it’s set in America in a future where internet feeds are linked with the limbic system, meaning that people have constant access to information, but are also constantly inundated with intrusive advertising. This has created a population of trend-driven sheep, barely articulate, able to think of almost nothing but products, dimly knowing that there’s something wrong, but unable to figure out what. At the same time, the planet is on its last legs as a result of the environmental damage caused by late capitalism. This book had had an enormous influence on the way I see technology and consumer culture in general, and it’s a freaking teen novel! Basically, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. The first chance I get I am teaching it. I challenge you to read it and view consumer culture in the same way.
(I feel the same way about 1984, but I feel like it’s lost a lot of its power due to having been taught mostly to kids who are too young to understand the nuances. If you haven’t read it since high school, I’d really recommend picking it up again.)