Women Speak Out! A Report of the Pacific Women's Conference. October 27 – November 2
Media is a powerful social force. Who controls it? As far as I can see, it is controlled by only a few people, a certain sector. In some cases, it's the government, in some cases, big businessmen of businesses that sell you images of what you're supposed to look like, what you're supposed to think, what you're supposed to eat, what you're supposed to smell like. It's like the definition of colonialism given at this conference-the self defined by the other. You're defined by the advertisements that tell you what to think.
Media serves to perpetuate those in power, those who have money to control us not only through the media, but also through education. It serves to perpetuate stereotypes that are generally Western, white and male. That's why women come off as very passive and weak. They're supposed to be feminine. The people who control the media know the value of pushing this kind of stereotype through ads. because it makes them money.
The press is a tool to educate. The print shop that I worked in is an alternative to the kind of propaganda that's forced down our throats by history books etc. It is an alternative to newspapers that are old and controlled by a few rich people.
In Hawaii the media portrays Hawaiians as stupid, happy-go-lucky, easy-going; it puts them down. It portrays working people as too weak to fight the system. Thus, the media reinforces the power of the rich, the landowners, the government, the banks, against the poorer people.
The print shop is an alternative to this power. It shows you can fight back through newsletters, posters, bumper stickers. We try to show that people have a lot of common page 48 problems and a lot of common strengths. It's extremely difficult for women to get a decent job in something like a print shop-they are usually relegated to the tedious, boring unimaginative jobs.
Finally, you can't seperate the issues – sexism, racism, colonialism. They are all related and they all affect women.