October 04, 2012

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity (available thgough October 9th)

Documentary film Trailer (5:48)

This documentary film is "a landmark series based on the book by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Half the Sky follows six celebrity activists including Diane Lane, America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde, and Gabrielle Union as they travel to nine countries and meet inspiring, courageous individuals who are confronting oppression and developing real, meaningful solutions.

The series follows Kristof, WuDunn, and six celebrity activists including Diane Lane, America Ferrera, Olivia Wilde, and Meg Ryan as they travel to nine countries and meet inspiring, courageous individuals. Across the globe oppression is being confronted, and real meaningful solutions are being fashioned through health care, education, and economic empowerment for women and girls. Embedded in the linked problems of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, gender-based violence, and maternal mortality — which still needlessly claims one woman every 90 seconds — is the single most vital opportunity of our time — and all over the world, women are seizing it." PBS Link

To view this film in two parts, go to PBS.org: 

Episode One (1:56:46)

Episode Two (1:56:46)

Purchase The Book and The film on Amazon.com: 

Visit their website: Half The Sky Movement


  1. Don't need to leave the country to find these problems. Human trafficking, sex slaves and violence exists across the spectrum of economic and global environment.

    1. You are absolutely right, Ruth; and your comment is in alignment with my criticism of this film. When a film focuses on 'third world' issues, it objectifies the people in the film---making me a little uncomfortable in my first-world skin.

      This was a very complex film though, taking a broad view of cultures with historical contexts to the terrible consequences of ongoing gender oppression---and yet, people are waking up to a universal consciousness challenging patriarchal dominance and privilege.

      I hope that people in countries like the USA, do not exclude themselves from intimate scrutiny of our gender injustices and inequities, blind to them as we are. If a woman has a job cleaning toilets, we wanna add her to the liberated list and tell her she’s earning the living and aren't we proud. Denial of our prejudices and 'sanctified' abuses makes us BLIND to the horrors all around us.

      It's easier to point fingers and pat ourselves on the back if the film is located in other countries, because no, not us, too...couldn't be! The idea that we condone gender oppression shakes our notions of superiority and equality.

      The pretense that WE are above such practices is grandiosity and it does not concord with reality (we have statistics) so let's call it what it is: cultural narcissism.

      As I watched this film, my mind make connections to the ways women are appropriated in the western world, objectified, traded like trophies to the highest bidder, and discarded to the sidewalk and shitty jobs when they are old, and all without public censure. And we like to call ourselves 'civilized' cuz we have high 'family values'.

      I was also thinking about the many ways women have adjusted to patriarchal abuses by commodifying themselves.

      The gender issues this film brings into global awareness are terrible and while they inspire insight into our own oppressive practices, I wouldn't dare minimize the gravity of these women and girl’s lives. We can see the connection between plastic surgery and genital mutilation practices intended to increase a woman’s worth to a man. However, they are not the same and it would be cruel to compare a child’s voicelessness to a grown woman’s decision to enhance her self-worth through plastic surgery.

      I am still offloading the trauma of watching this film. It hit me hard this morning and I broke down crying, not realizing how much this film had impacted me.

      Thanks for commenting, Ruth.


  2. Riveting, horrible, reality and hopeful.
    I can't say I'm shocked or surprised-when you see this up close and personal, you-wait, let me own this-I use to feel, "What real difference am I making? How can I even dare to HOPE my little drop in this bucket of all this (culture, history, family, norms, values etc.) can possibly make ANY kind of lasting impression?"
    Each and every one of those *drops* matter. Often, you're NOT going to see or experience the results of your uphill battle for YEARS, if at all. It's like a tree here in The Tundra and each of them drops a kizillion leaves-their "future" and the wind blows them all OVER the place. What hope is there for any particular leaf to become a sapling? Or survive to become a tree? But they do it anyway because nature in it's "knowledge" knows not every *last* effort at change and reproduction is gonna work.
    And somewhere, with the "right" soil, light, water, location is a sapling. I will never live to see that one "grow up." It will be battered by all kinds of forces beyond my control and beyond MY puny lifespan.
    But I look around and I SEE a mature forest. And I SEE saplings. And I know that despite the reality (and humans would say, "Futility") someone(s) made it. How did THAT happen?
    Because someone or something planted an idea/a seed. And accepted MANY will need to take hold for large scale change to occur. But just that ONE that takes hold bears the potential for the future. And ya never know which one it's gonna be. So keep sowing. You have a desire, a gift a "Want To." USE IT.


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