Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jean Kilbourne, author "So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood & What Parents Can Do To Protect Their Kids"; LGBT Leader Cleve Jones in Madison

On the August 30, 2009 Forward Forum:

Our show begins with an interview with UW-Madison student and organizer Jessie Otradovec, previewing Monday night's appearance on campus of LGBT Rights Activist, Cleve Jones, an early colleague of Harvey Milk, and the founder of the NAMES Project. Jessie and Cleve and others are organizing an October 2009 March on Washington for LGBT Rights. Details below.

Then, for the remainder of the hour, we're honored to have the opportunity to be in conversation with Dr. Jean Kilbourne, one of the most important intellectual voices of our time in the context of her critiques of the advertising industries effect on women and children. On this week's show, we discuss her latest book, "So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do To Protect Their Kids."

Also known for her pioneering work in identifying the addiction-related dangers represented by alcohol and tobacco advertising--particularly those targeting youth-- she is a prolific author, and much-sought-after lecturer.

So Sexy So Soon is an invaluable and practical guide for parents who are fed up, confused, and even scared by what their kids–or their kids’ friends–do and say. Diane E. Levin, Ph.D., and Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., internationally recognized experts in early childhood development and the impact of the media on children and teens, understand that saying no to commercial culture–TV, movies, toys, Internet access, and video games–isn’t a realistic or viable option for most families.

About this Book: Thong panties, padded bras, and risqué Halloween costumes for young girls. T-shirts that boast “Chick Magnet” for toddler boys. Sexy content on almost every television channel, as well as in books, movies, video games, and even cartoons. Hot young female pop stars wearing provocative clothing and dancing suggestively while singing songs with sexual and sometimes violent lyrics. These products are marketed aggressively to our children; these stars are held up for our young daughters to emulate–and for our sons to see as objects of desire.

Popular culture and technology inundate our children with an onslaught of mixed messages at earlier ages than ever before. Corporations capitalize on this disturbing trend, and without the emotional sophistication to understand what they are doing and seeing, kids are getting into increasing trouble emotionally and socially; some may even to engage in precocious sexual behavior. Parents are left shaking their heads, wondering: How did this happen? What can we do?

The authors offer parents essential, age-appropriate strategies to counter the assault.

For instance:

  • Help your children expand their imaginations by suggesting new ways for them to play with toys–for example, instead of “playing house” with dolls, they might send their toys on a backyard archeological adventure.
  • Counteract the narrow gender stereotypes in today’s media: ask your son to help you cook; get your daughter outside to play ball.
  • Share your values and concerns with other adults–relatives, parents of your children’s friends–and agree on how you’ll deal with TV and other media when your children are at one another’s houses.

Filled with savvy suggestions, helpful sample dialogues, and poignant true stories from families dealing with these issues, So Sexy So Soon provides parents with the information, skills, and confidence they need to discuss sensitive topics openly and effectively so their kids can just be kids.

More About Jean Kilbourne

Jean Kilbourne has lectured at about one-half of all the colleges and universities in the United States and all of the major universities in Canada, as well as scores of private and public schools, and has twice received the Lecturer of the Year award from the National Association for Campus Activities.

She is known for her wit and warmth and her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides, that encourages dialogue, and that moves and empowers people to take action in their own and in society’s interest. Even advertisers sometimes respond positively, as in an AdWeek editorial: “After listening to Jean Kilbourne, I would never doubt her intellectual honesty. While she bills herself as a critic of advertising, she is more akin to a prophet calling out in the wilderness for fundamental change in the way we communicate publicly with one another.”

Here's what others have to say:

“I have enjoyed seeing and hearing Jean Kilbourne wrestle with the issues that beset us all. Her intelligent probing and the deductions she has made are of use to all her listeners and readers.” —Maya Angelou, author (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and others)

“Jean Kilbourne’s work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture – advertising. We owe her a great debt.” —Susan Faludi, author (Backlash and others)

“Jean Kilbourne is a remarkably insightful critic and researcher of American mores.” —Jerzy Kosinski, author (The Painted Bird and others)

"Out of the banal and commonplace ads we absorb each day without believing ourselves influenced, Jean Kilbourne creates a politically sophisticated and frightening tapestry. Her presentation is fascinating, fast paced and extremely funny." —Marge Piercy, author (Woman on the Edge of Time and others)

“Jean Kilbourne’s arguments are as focused and unassailable as those of a good prosecutor. Piece by piece she builds a case for an America deeply corrupted by advertisers. …Jean Kilbourne is our best, most thoughtful, most compassionate teacher.” —Mary Pipher, author (Reviving Ophelia and others)

“Hearing Jean Kilbourne is a profound experience. Audiences leave her feeling that they have heard much more than another lecture, for she teaches them to see themselves and their world differently.” —Carole Beebe Tarantelli, Member of Parliament, Italy

Renowned National LGBT Rights Activist Cleve Jones in Madison Monday to Promote the Oct. 10-11 National Equality March

Cleve Jones (left) is pictured with actor Emile Hirsch, who portrays him in the Academy Award-winning film, "Milk."

At the top of the hour, we'll be speaking with UW-Madison student organizer Jessie Otradovec. Jessie is a local activist who is part of a coalition of local groups that are encouraging and supporting people who hope to attend the October 10-11, 2009 National Equality March, in promotion of federal action on LGBT rights.

An Evening with Cleve Jones

"Why We Can't Wait:
The Struggle for LGBT Civil Rights”

HARVEY MILK’S closest collaborator, author, founder of the AIDS MEMORIAL QUILT, and progenitor of upcoming National Equality March to visit Madison August 31st to discuss the ongoing struggle for LGBT Rights!

Monday, August 31 -- 7:30 pm

3650 Humanities: 455 N. Park St. on UW Campus

Tickets are $5 - 10 sliding scale; all proceeds go to scholarships for the Madison buses to the National Equality March

Madison, WI— From the early days of Harvey Milk’s activism (as portrayed by Emile Hirsch in the Oscar-winning movie Milk), to the founding of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and today’s struggle for equal marriage, veteran activist Cleve Jones has been at the center of the LGBT rights movement for the last thirty years.

Now, as the promise from the Obama administration to be a “fierce advocate” for equality for gays and lesbians continues to go unfulfilled—with both the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell upheld since the administration took office—Jones and other activists from across the country are planning a National Equality March as a show of mass support for LGBT rights.

LGBTI Equality NOW!, a grassroots organization leading the local planning for the Equality March, and Haymarket Books, publisher of Sexuality and Socialism, will host Jones in a discussion of the history and current state of the movement for equal rights in the run up to the national demonstration.

Cleve Jones will speak at 7:30 p.m. in 3650 Humanities on the UW campus. Doors open at 7 pm. His talk, “Why We Can’t Wait,” will focus on the urgent need for demanding LGBT equality now.

“It is for equality. And it’s for shifting the strategy,” Jones said in an interview with Democracy Now. “We’re tired of this state-by-state, county-by-county, city-by-city struggle for fractions of equality.”

“We agree with Cleve Jones that it is time to demand full equality under federal law,” Emily Wickenhauser, LGBTI Equality Now organizer said. “With Obama’s vacillations on gay rights, it’s up to everyone who believes in equality, gay and straight, to demand civil rights.”

The event is co-sponsored by WORT Radio, Wisconsin Capital Pride, Outreach, International Socialist Organization, The Havens Center, Madison PFLAG, UW LGBT Campus Center and the MATC Pride Alliance, as well as LGBTI Equality Now and Haymarket Books,

Tickets are $5-10 (sliding scale) and are available at Room of One’s Own Bookstore (307 W Johnson St), Mother Fools Coffeehouse (1101 Williamson St), MATC Student Life Center (Truax, 3550 Anderson St.) and the LGBT Campus Center (UW Memorial Union, second floor), Woofs (114 King St) and Shamrock Bar (117 Main St.).

Tickets will also be available at the Jones event for buses to the upcoming National Equality March, scheduled for October 10-11 in Washington, DC. Sponsors of the event are organizing buses from Madison to DC for his historic march. We welcome donations to make participation available to the widest group possible.

For more information about the march, visit

For local information, email or call 608.446.0273.

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