No Comment Goes to High School

During my first college Women’s Studies class, I kept thinking, “Why couldn’t I have learned this in high school?” Turns out some lucky high school students get to: Ray Salazar’s English class at Jones College Prep in Chicago brought women’s studies into the classroom when they embarked on a project inspired by a “No Comment” section of Ms.

The students recorded public service announcements about advertisements that use gender stereotypes as a means of humor–and promote sexism in the process.

Gabs Schreiber critiques a De Beers ad from “No Comment”:

While everyone at De Beers is trying to be funny with the ads, they are lashing out toward women, making them diamond-hungry mercenaries. But these ads do more than make women mercenaries, they accrue negativity to women as well. A report from the LA Times summarizes the ads as such: “We know your bitches are crazy and all, but if you buy her a diamond, she might just stop nagging…”

Janelle Perez discusses a Dodge ad:

Many men believe that women have nothing to offer them if they do not look sexy or act wild. As a result, women feel obligated to focus more on the way they look above than anything else.

Kudos to Salazar for working this into his curriculum. Oh the time and money I could have saved from straightening my hair and buying padded bras if I had only learned this kind of thing in high school!

ABOVE: Screen shot of a Svedka ad published in Ms.No Comment section.

UPDATE:

For those who want to tell Svedka Vodka what you think of this ad, here’s their contact information:

Spirits Marque One, LLC, 598 Madison Ave., Floor 4, New York, NY 10022; (212) 838-8383; consumer@svedka.com.

Comments

  1. This is so awesome! Women’s studies in all elementary and high schools should be the next step. That’s a better way to practice no child left behind, right?!

  2. That is great! I teach social studies. There is only one women listed in the standards…Betsy Ross. So sad! Of course I add other women in as well as minority groups beyond the civil rights movement.

  3. All I can say is: about time. The kids need these messages now more than ever. The younger ya get them, the sooner they learn how to be better people.

    Maybe this will spark women’s studies throughout more middle and high schools throughout the nation.

  4. PioneerGrrrl says:

    I was lucky that a junior high teacher taught me women’s history–and about Texas Woman’s University.

    But I’m I’m also remembering that other teachers who did claim to also be proressive left me behind because of my disabilities. They did not want women with disabilities being part of the academic environment.

    And we have to ensure that all women and our experiences are included in this curriculum if it’s actually going to be progressive, and therefore effective.

  5. Maureen says:

    Women’s studies should be required for all students in middle school and high school. At my community college, we don’t have women’s studies and one of my male teachers last semester said we should.

  6. Thanks to Ms. for publicizing my students’ work. Just want to clarify the info Gabs Schreiber includes in her PSA. The LA Times report she mentions is actually a blog posting in the “Living” section by some someone criticizing the negative diamond ads. In essence, that’s the message the ad sends. Here’s the link to the posting:
    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/alltherage/2008/02/men-buy-her-a-d.html

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