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ThinkAboutIt June 2013
Compiled by Nancy B. Olsen


Merida's maddening makeover
Disney morphed Merida, the self-rescuing princess of the Oscar-winning "Brave," into someone skinnier, sparklier and sexier for her official coronation as a royal princess, sparking an outcry.

"I think it's atrocious what they have done to Merida," the film's writer and co-director Brenda Chapman told a California newspaper. "When little girls say they like it because it's more sparkly, that's all fine and good but, subconsciously, they are soaking in the sexy 'come-hither' look and the skinny aspect of the new version. ... Merida was created to break that mold. To give young girls a better, stronger role model, a more attainable role model."

Chapman signed a petition on Change.org addressed to Disney Chairman Bob Iger, as did more than 225,000 others. Disney defended the makeover, saying that Merida wanted to "dress up" for her coronation and that it was part of a "limited run" of products-at Target.
Source: Change.org, Rebecca Hains blog

Media imbalance
Women are still underemployed and underrepresented in news and entertainment media, according to several new studies. At this rate, "it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men ...," wrote Diana Mitsu Kos of the Women's Media Center. The findings include:
• Print: Bylines by journalists: Men 71.5%, women 27%, (1.5% N/A)
• Movies: Women made up 9% of directors of the top 250 grossing U.S. films in 2012.
• Prime-time TV: Men outnumbered women 4 to 1 in directing 3,100 shows.
• Sunday talk: 25% of guests were female in one study, while in another, 14% of those interviewed were women, with 29% of roundtable guests women.
• Video games: 47% of gamers are women, while 88% of game developers are men.
• Boardroom: Only 17 women at media and technology companies are on Fortune's list of the 50 most powerful women in business.
Source: Women's Media Center

New low, even for TV
A Danish TV show has male host Thomas Blachman and his male guest judging the bodies of naked women-often with humiliating comments-after the women disrobe and stand in front of them. Blachman insists the show is breaking taboos and giving viewers something they've never seen before. "The female body thirsts for the words of a man," he said. One Danish woman blogger noted, "It's more like listening in on a conversation between a couple of middle-aged men in a strip joint."
Source: Bust.com

Chocolate choices
Three multinational companies that control 40% of the world's $100 billion chocolate market-Mondelez (formerly Kraft), Mars and Nestle-have agreed to do more for women cocoa growers, after Oxfam International launched a campaign and more than 100,000 consumers signed a petition and/or took action via Facebook and Twitter. Oxfam had released a study showing that women in four countries who produce cocoa products on small-scale farms face extreme hunger, inequality and unfair pay. "Empowering women cocoa farmers has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people, some of whom are earning less than $2 a day," Oxfam said.
Source: Oxfam International

Henhouse, meet fox
With sexual assault already a high-profile issue in the military, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, chief of the Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention and Response branch at the Pentagon, was arrested in Arlington, Va., and charged with sexual battery for allegedly grabbing a woman's breasts and buttocks. Wired, meanwhile, reported that an Air Force brochure that the magazine acquired advised potential victims of sexual assault "to submit [rather] than resist their attackers." The brochure apparently was issued at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.
Sources: USA Today, Wired

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