As this year comes to a close, we at The Representation Project are looking forward to the new year. Now more than ever, we need to focus on the next generation as agents of change. That’s why, this week, we wanted to share the story of one young woman who is already using her voice for change and working to change the narrative for many young women.
Neha Kulkarni assumed that, ultimately, her value as a woman would depend solely on her ability to be a mother. As a young Indian woman, growing up in Michigan, Kansas, and Virginia, “that’s the way it was and the way it will always be” she was told. Then, in her sophomore year of high school, Neha saw Miss Representation. She learned women everywhere were challenging the traditional cultural narrative that she, unknowingly, had been told her entire life was the absolute truth. As Neha put it, “Miss Representation gave me the confidence to pursue my passion. I have something unique to offer this world, and my life can be whatever I build without constraint.”
Neha chose to embrace her nascent talent in math and science and pursue an engineering degree from the University of Virginia. It wasn’t enough for Neha to change herself though — she intended to make a lasting difference in this world. Last fall, Neha became a founding member of The Representation Project’s Global Youth Advisory Council. She’s building her skills as a leader and using her voice to amplify a conversation about the representation, or lack there of, women and girls in STEAM fields.
It is because of young women, like Neha, that I have hope. Hope for a future in which young people break free of limiting stereotypes and create a new narrative. A future in which everyone – regardless of their gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, or circumstance – can fulfill their human potential and become the leaders of tomorrow. Thanks to you, this vision is possible.
Your dedication and support have given The Representation Project the opportunity to dream big and achieve big; opening doors for individuals like Neha to do the same. My friend, your support has never been more important, and I’m hoping we can count on you to help us deepen our impact in 2017.
Please help us and make a special year-end contribution now. Our goal is to raise $10,000 with this weekly action.
Thank you for your unwavering commitment to building a world free of limiting stereotypes and social injustices.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom & The Representation Project Team
“How Masculinity Dominated 2016”
Check out our video and share it on Twitter or Facebook to spark a national conversation about toxic norms and how we as individuals and a society can do better. Together, let’s challenge and overcome this limiting and harmful culture in 2017.
Representation Around the Web
“At this point, it should be common knowledge that feminism doesn’t benefit only women; it aims to help everyone. In case you needed a reminder that, for example, men are equally constrained by patriarchal ideals, the Representation Project’s latest video is a great place to start. ‘How Toxic Masculinity Dominated 2016’ examines the way the toxic variety of masculinity that’s often perpetuated by the patriarchy influenced the events of this year — and trust me: The video will be simultaneously the most depressing and infuriating three minutes of your day. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, you’ll be able to recognize its effects. Broadly speaking, toxic masculinity is the rigid set of social norms that require men to be stoic, aggressive, and dominant — characteristics that aren’t necessarily conducive to a healthy lifestyle. When they’re imposed on society, they create a culture in which violence is prized, women and LGBTQ people are seen as inferior, and men are discouraged from expressing — or even simply experiencing — any ‘feminine’ emotions.” – Bustle
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation: All Hail the Rise of Cat Men, an Antidote to Toxic Masculinity
- The Daily Beast: Women in Aleppo Choose Suicide Over Rape, Rebels Report
- The Huffington Post: Clinton’s Loss Has Motivated Thousands of Women to Consider Running for Office
- New York Magazine: Meghan Markle Opens Up About What It’s Like to Be a Biracial Actress
- The New York Times: Piers Morgan Mansplains PTSD to Lady Gaga, Prompting Offer from Singer to ‘Educate’ Him
- Vox: A New Report Shows the Hell LGBTQ Kids Go Through in School
Viola Davis, at the Critics Choice Award accepting the #SeeHer Award.
Image via Miss Representation‘s Instagram