Feminist TV critic last speaker of President’s Lecture season

Feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian was the last of this season’s guest lecturers. PHOTO BY HELEN SURGENOR Feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian was the last of this season’s guest lecturers. PHOTO BY HELEN SURGENOR

Feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian was the last of this season’s guest lecturers. PHOTO BY HELEN SURGENOR

Helen Surgenor
News Reporter

A talk entitled, “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” wrapped up the Humber President’s Lecture Series last Tuesday, leaving the overseeing committee to look back on a year of guest speakers.

“We really did have quite good attendance, compelling lectures, everything really seemed to work quite well,” said Melanie Chaparian, chair of the President’s Lecture Series committee.

Lecture topics included: the politics of rape (Jane Doe), overcoming hatred after personal tragedy in Gaza (Izzeldin Abulaish), HIV-AIDS in Africa (Ilana Landsberg-Lewis), Canada’s forgotten native children (James Bartleman) and guilt-free pop culture (Jian Ghomeshi).

Tuesday’s guest lecturer was blogger and feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, who encouraged students to examine the “strong” female characters in their favourite TV shows.

Sarkeesian made the case that many female characters are only considered strong despite their sex because they take on male attributes.

“Part of being a fan is to really love something and simultaneously be really critical of it,” she told attendees. “You don’t have to stop watching it.”

Sarkeesian explained that she uses public talks to speak on topics in greater depth than she would in her short video-blog format.

“People can ask questions about it and I can interact on a one-on-one basis as opposed to writing a comment and waiting however long it takes me to respond,” she said.

Najamuddin Mohammed, a client services agent for Humber’s IT services department, said he recommended Sarkeesian after he came across her blog, FeministFrequency.com, while searching for open source software, and found the videos so interesting that he continued to follow it.

Chaparian said series organizers are already planning for the next round of speakers, and welcome suggestions from students as they try to include new themes in the talks.

“We’re hoping we may have some speakers that touch a little bit more on the economy – which is of course a big deal right now – and some of the social movements that have been occurring in both North America and elsewhere,” she said.

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