Monday, November 17, 2008

This video is amazing! It will brighten your day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Remembering Laney

We were shocked and saddened by the recent loss of our friend, Laney. Her struggle with Lupus was not an easy one. Still, she remained strong and with great spirit, spunk and creativity. She is an inspiration to us all. I feel very fortunate to have shared time with her in our TVbyGIRLS creations and am very happy that she became a part of our TVBG's family.

I am so thankful for all the amazing people who have entered my life because of connections through TVbyGIRLS. I have gotten to watch and be a part of so many young women's lives as they find their places and develop their voices. I have had the opportunity to support, to encourage and to hold close to my heart, so many who are helping to shape this world.

I am thankful to Laney for her courage, dedication and loving heart.

My thoughts are with her family, especially her Mom, Elaine and sister, Simone. I feel the loss of a friend,and a young, young, woman, very deeply. However, as a mother, I can only imagine the deep, deep, devastation one feels in loosing a child. Sending love and thoughts......


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An exercise.

The girls have been busy working on Undercover and we have had a lot of meetings over the past few weeks. Many of which have been very intellectual conversations, plans and discoveries. They have also been busy conducting interviews... people on the street as well as experts.

We decided to mix it up a bit at our last meeting and give the girls an opportunity to go out, with a camera, and do some evocative self searching and shooting.
Using the elements: Fire, Water, Earth and Air we had them find a location that connected to each element. Once there they opened an envelope we had given them with questions. A different question for each element.

1. What does it mean to belong? What does it mean to not belong?
2. What does connecting feel like?
What do you connect to and why?
3. How do you see God/spiritual power?
4. How do you find opening? What does it feel like?
5. What does fear feel like?

They were to find a way to use the elements (fire/light, water, air and earth) to first Meditate and listen for an answer. And then create a visual response.

They were very silent as well as very animated. Maddy, Rachel, Kirsten and Kaisi... share with us what the experience was like.....
What did you notice? How did this process help you? What did you learn about yourself?
What were your challenges? How did you succeed?

We'll post some of their video from this shoot soon.

Feel free to give this a try yourself. Our questions were in connection to the girls work on Undercover. A way to explore as well as acquire some evocative images as b-roll. You might choose questions like:

What strength of mine never fails to create miracles?
What is a strength I have that takes all my courage to access?
What strength of mine is waiting to emerge?

Give it a try and let us know how it goes!

Monday, August 18, 2008

You MUST see American Teen.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I cam across this short film and thought it was very interesting and quite relevant to what we've been talking about: fear of the unknown and of differences. The most interesting part to me was that there was no dialogue and no official statement or explanation of the film's meaning, so you get to draw your own conclusions. I had some pretty strong emotions watching it and I'm really curious to see what you all think.

Friday, July 11, 2008

This is going to be kind of a sacreligious post (no pun intended having to do with Undercover). TVbyGirls tends to be rooted in media. I know that we know and value other ways to communicate, but, for example, the whole point of having this blog is to be communicating with the world via this newfangled medium of digital communications and internet. However, during the summer, I find myself really not wanting to spend time on the computer (an excuse - although not a very good one - for not blogging as often). Even when it's awful and hot and sticky outside, I don't want to waste time - that could otherwise be spent with friends or nature or both - sitting in front of a screen. I am wondering if anyone feels the same, and how much time (on average) each of you spend on the computer or watching TV or playing video games every day. Does it change between the summer and the school/ work year?

Monday, June 23, 2008

So… at our last meeting some of you were asking me about Christianity and I told you that basically, Christianity boils down to 2 things: Love Jesus and Love People. (To me, that’s what the cross symbolizes – one beam reaching up to God and one beam reaching out to people.) Some of you asked how it could be this easy and it does seem easy but it isn’t. Not really. The thing is, unlike what TV, our friends, and popular culture says, the word “love” is not a feeling. It is a verb – an action verb – active - requiring and demanding action. And, Christianity (again, contrary to what some people calling themselves Christians act like) Christianity is based on the belief that we are all jerks and idiots – all of us. We all screw up and guilty of sin but God loves us anyway.

There is no way that we can earn our way to heaven or atone enough for our screw-ups via sacrifices (ala Old Testament) or good deeds or whatever. So… God sent His Son - perfectly sinless, innocent and blameless, to take the punishment and be the sacrifice that would atone for us. All we have to do is accept it. I’m sure you have all seen people carrying signs at sporting events that says John 3:16 on them. That verse says that “God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son so that all who believe in him might not perish but have everlasting life.” Well…. The thing is, if you keep reading, it gets better. It says that the thing is, that it is not the fact that we love God that is so important, it is that He loves us. And, he does. He hates the sin but loves the sinner. And… He commands us to love (and forgive like He has forgiven us) all people – friends and enemies. Murderers and saints. All sins are equal under God’s eyes. So… yea… someone who cheats on their taxes or lies to their parents or writes their name on someone else’s homework assignment is no different than a prostitute, or a bank robber or a murderer or a pedophile. And, even though those actions are all sin, we are to still show everyone God’s love. (Okay… Tell me again that’s easy!?)

Part of the problem and differences in Christianity is this. How do you show God’s love? Well… to some people, they read the Bible and decide people should act a certain way and spend a lot of time/energy loudly asserting this. The problem is…. Is this love? The people doing would say yes. But I think God would not be so worried about body piercings and tattoos as much as he would be worried about urban decay. I don’t think God would be as offended by your language when you tell someone that conditions at a homeless shelter are “crappy” as He would be offended by the conditions at the homeless shelter. I think whatever religion you are, it is important to think about what is God really saying – what are His rules – and what rules are made up by human beings. Anyway… Philip Yancey had a great visual book (you can borrow it if you want!) called “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” that shows is in a visual way what Christianity – true Christianity, not the distorted-by-human-beings-who-know-everything-and-are-better-than-you Christianity - is all about. Some of it is on YouTube at

Thursday, June 12, 2008

To preface, this is partly in response to Casey's last post, but it was kind of long to put as a comment :)... I would agree that Clinton and Obama are treated differently by the media and general public. While sexism may play a role, I think the enthusiasm for Obama comes more from the way he holds himself. If both were men, people would still like Obama more because Hillary Clinton is seen as stiff and cold (be it true or not)whereas Obama seems to be a more gentle, yet strong character.

One of the things the WHP talked about is that femininity isn't based on gender, but more on characteristics of personality. Men who have feminine characteristics often bear the brunt of sexism. Marie Wilson, commented that in this election Obama was the women -- based on those characteristics. So when she says she wants a women in office it is reffering to "women characteristics". I think this is really interesting to discuss and for more info go to


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TVbyGIRLS Kirsten and Greatest Girls partner Jean, on KSTP's TWIN CITIES LIVE!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Okay - I still intend to answer the other blog Q's soon - it's been kind of busy. Besides all the end of school stuff (BTW I was voted 'Most Likely to Travel the World,' and 'Most Likely to Suceed.' - which apparently must be the same as "Surprise! We do know you're alive!" Because that's what it feels like sometimes.) My gramma got into a bad car accident and cracked her sternum, bruised her lungs and broke her foot, my mom's aunt got brain cancer and my brother's best friend was hit by a car. (If my family was Native American and did winter counts this would be the moon of the medical maladies.) So... anyway, now everyone is okay and I can get on with blogging. :-)

Anyway... I ran across this article about this media/advertising experiment today and wondered what you all thought. I am kind of thinking about the Democratic primary races and the impact of YouTube etc on the whole thing. If you go into YouTube and Search, nearly every video about Hilary Clinton is derogatory, sterotyped and sexist while all those about Obama are cool and hip (even if they don't say anything.) Any videos that appear to criticize him are flagged as racist and have mostly been removed. So...I'm not sure exactly what I'm asking. Kind of... Why is it okay (socially acceptable) to be sexist (ala freedom of speech) but it is not okay (Socially acceptable) to be racist? Why has no one flagged the Clinton videos as sexist and asked for their removal? And, If people had made cool hip videos about Hilary CLinton do you think the outcome would have been different? Or, is that the people each candidate is attracting? ie. Clinton followers are not cool, hip and media savvy?

Also... I would be interested in what you think about this experiment. I am really curious how many people fall for it and stuff.

Anyway... I'm off to the mall for now. Have a great 1st day of summer vacation!

Friday, May 30, 2008

The school year is coming to a close, girls. 
Thoughts as you progress into the summer and on to school next year?  
What are you looking forward to in the future?
What were your favorite parts of this year?
What are you most glad to be finished with?
How did you grow?
What did you learn?
Any advice for others?

Monday, May 19, 2008

"Black studets are far more likely to be suspended from school then their white classmates -- and MN's disparity in suspensions is twice the national average. What's the cause? What are the consequences?"My dad gave me this article to read, because the main story has to do with a kid from my school which i happen to know and I happen to be friends with. So i think you should check out the slideshow or atleast the headline on the newspaper from sunday..
All of this leads you to ask questions. Why are the black students getting suspended more? && is this problem for better or worse? And also what can we do to stop it? What can teachers do to stop it and what can students && the community can do to stop this. It's a list of questions that will never end?

Here's the commercial we watched in our monthly meeting yesterday.
Is it worth adding that the little girl, 10, is also on a soap opera? I don't know.
So what do you think?
Most who spoke up were offended, disgusted... outraged.
Now, what action should TVbyGIRLS take to say this is not acceptable?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Seeing women directing film

Okay, I graduated from MCAD and sadly some of what I experienced there felt like a direct reflection of the outside production world. Film is a male-dominated industry.
And that is not to say men are making all the choices, there are many women making choices in the industry and in some ways that makes it harder for me to accept.
Still, like with everything, it is about who you know. It is developed in a manner that is supportive of men, and really difficult for women.

Women in the production world are encouraged to be producers not directors or cinematographers. And if they go into these roles they are presented with many challenges; a crew who questions their direction and voice as well as criticism, much like we see with the current election and words regarding Hillary Clinton. Her hair, her clothes, a tear???
Is it that the people making the choices to hire/elect a woman in any role (director, president, board, instructor...) are so accustomed to the male perspective
that they can’t relate to something else? I’m not sure. But I am not willing to accept it.

I know it is difficult but I also know, thankfully, that there are hundreds of women out there doing it.
I think we should spend more time acknowledging and celebrating the work of women who are creating and trudging through. In the process of doing this we create positive role models.

As we all know, media is a very important form of storytelling and has become a way to connect in our culture . How can this connection be an authentic one if it is not represented by both genders as well as all races? It is critical that the number of women directors, presidents, board members, etc. are heard as well as recognized.

I remember reading an article once about Martha Coolidge, president of the Directors Guild of America. She talked about how discouragement starts in film school. She went to NYU’s film school in the 70’s and when she applied she was told she couldn’t be a director because she was a woman. Of course she was accepted and has since directed at least 40 works!

Maybe you are thinking, this was 30 years ago. But we are still seeing/hearing it happen. No, I do not know the protocol or selection process for the 13 directors selected for the class at MCAD. But I also don’t think it matters. We need to see a representation of both genders as well as all races. We each have a different story to share and in different ways. Not all women directors make “women” films and not all men make films about shooting and sex. I am tired of hearing about all the male prodigies, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson... So let’s start celebrating female directors... And in honor of the MCAD class and the time frame or 1980 to present, I will reply to this post with some women directors from 1980 – 1995, many who continue their work today!


Pick a director from the list and find a work sample and a bit of information on her to post on the blog for discussion. Share the knowledge.

Compose a letter to MCAD... Maybe Amalia, as a current student, could help with the deeper exploration on this. Think about a piece you might make to explore these issues.

Take action, take action, take action!!
There are a lot of discussions happening but what are actions you can take???

Monday, April 21, 2008

Cops say copycat beating hits 12-year-old
Plot inspired by Florida scheme to videotape, post online beating, cops say
The Associated Press
updated 11:40 a.m. CT, Sat., April. 19, 2008
CLARKSVILLE, Ind. - A group of southern Indiana middle school girls videotaped the beating of a 12-year-old schoolmate and posted it on the Internet in an attack that authorities believe was inspired by a similar one in Florida, police said.

No charges have been filed and police said they have not yet interviewed all the girls, ages 12-14, who are students at Clarksville Middle School. The girls' identities were not released because they are juveniles.

The victim, who was treated for cuts and bruises at a hospital, was the daughter of a police officer, Police Chief Dwight Ingle said.

Police said the girls lured the victim to a parking lot near a warehouse in the town just north of Louisville, Ky., on April 12 and beat her. The violence was videotaped and later posted on the video-sharing Web site PhotoBucket, Ingle said, but it has since been removed.

The video begins with one girl arguing with the victim and escalates into a fight during which the 12-year-old is repeatedly hit in the head as other girls watch and laugh, police said.

Detective Darrell Rayborn said Thursday that police believe the plot was inspired by a similar scheme in which a group of teenage girls in central Florida posted online the videotaped beating of a 16-year-old victim. Parts of that video have been widely seen on TV and Youtube.

Clarksville school Superintendent Stephen G. Fisher said he did not anticipate disciplinary action against the students because the fight did not occur on school grounds.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Last night at dinner, my dad told me about a new class at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) where he teaches and where we often meet for TVbyGIRLS.  The course will be offered in the fall and is entitled "Great American Directors: The 80s to the present." Sounds like a good class, right? But here's what got him angry and which will probably also anger you: Out of the list of 13 directors that will be examined in depth in the course, directors like Quentin Tarantino, Alexander Payne and Clint Eastwood, there is not one woman!  It might be understandable in a course about early filmmaking to only include male directors.  But in a class about film from the 80s to the present, leaving out women directors is just unacceptable.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Okay... I know I'm not blogkeeper or whatever any more but... I am perplexed! My birthday is coming up and becasue we had a coupon for 50% off an item at Michael's for this week, I got to pick out my gift last night. So... I got a really nice easel I can minimize to use on a tabletop or take outside. Along with that, I wanted to get an artist's manikin. So... we went to go get one and guess what. If you want to buy a 12" wooden manikin of a female figure it costs $9.99. If you want to buy a 12" wooden manikin (same wood, same brand) of a male figure, it costs $16.99. What's the deal? Gender discrimination in art supplies??? Does anybody have any idea at all why this might like this? I could understand a maybe a dollar difference - maybe but almost twice the price? I think this sends the message that men are worth more than women. What do you think? Does anybody have any ideas why this might be?

Monday, April 14, 2008

I am trying to embed the video again. Hope this helps.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

When I saw this I wondered, what could have caused such brutality? What are your opinions? If people do this just because of a small dispute, what would they do if it was larger? I'm currious about what you think.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Did you hear about kids being strip searched at school? What do you think? Do you think police should be doing this instead of school officals? Do you think they should have parental permission? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

ok...the question is:

how do you feel when you disagree but DON"T say anything. honestly. try it once for real and then report back.
Okay.. the baton has been passed to me... So, yea. Based on Maddy's question and the responses to you ALWAYS have to respond when someone is forcefully excerpting their own opinions? IS IT an ethical obligation to respond immediately all the time no matter what? I mean, I responded about why I sometimes don't speak up but it doesn't mean I never speak up. It was just why, when I choose not to respond, I don't. You can't possibly speak up about EVERTHING because you would get totally depressed! Isn't it more effective sometimes to let it go and then later, when the person isn't so passionate, speak up about how you feel?

Anyway... I think speaking up is more than what happens on a one to one basis. It is how we use our talents - whether that is speaking out verbally, writing or, like what we do with TVbyGirls, making videos - to educate other people about other opinions and facts they may not have considered. Also, a lot of times speaking seriously about topics is ineffective because people are conditioned to stop listening when the conversation gets serious. I think sometimes other approaches can be much more effective, like a video or like through using comedy etc. Check out what John Roy does with serious issues that he feels obligated to speak up about. I am interested in what you think.

Copy & paste this into your browser click on download clips and watch the one from the Tonight Show - that's my favorite.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

This is a general question that kind of relates to Undercover. I have noticed that when someone says a really strong opinion, people who disagree tend to either very strongly oppose it/argue, or they will not voice their full opinion and try to downplay the difference of opinion. I am more interested in the second reaction. Why do you think people can be more soft-spoken and passive even about something they disagree about when faced with someone who has a strongly opposite view? Have you ever been in this position?

Monday, March 17, 2008

To spin off what Kirsten said: it is interesting to see how people react to you wearing a hijab. She got reactions from people she didn't know. I got reactions from people I knew. So since everyone is so jazzed up about facebook, who would feel comfortable putting a picture of yourself wearing your hijab as your profile picture? If you feel comfortable doing it, change your picture and let us know people's reactions. If not, explain why you don't feel comfortable having this as your picture. If you don't have a facebook, feel free to throw in any comment you want about this idea.
Hey Everyone, 
I am going to pull a maddy here and post something out of turn. sorry!!! Just wanted to share an experience i had yesterday.

As i was going home from our undercover shoot yesterday, we stopped for food, and at that point i still had my hijjab on and looked as muslim as a girl with white skin, blonde hair, and blue eyes can. As we walked into the place there was an almost immediate change in atmosphere.... it was really interesting.... i cant explain it. I sort of experienced what Hannah and Molly did. At first when we sat down I was getting a lot of not-so-respectful looks from mostly white men in more dressy clothing and a little more subtly suspicious looks from the women with them. My parents noticed it to. Then our server came up, all smiles and hellos and all of a sudden all the hostility was gone. Everyone went back to eating and talking and i even got a few smiles from people when leaving. I think its safe to say our conjecture about one person changing their attitude can affect the attitude of the entire establishment.... or whatever it may be.

=] Thoughts? Comments?

I think this is a good thing.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hello all... This is a really interesting story about societal influences on gender and self image/esteem. It is a really good, and short read... so when you get a chance, read it! :) I think, although fiction, it truthfully portrays the society we live in...

X: A Fabulous Child's Story -- by Lois Gould © 1972

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I know it's not my turn on the blog, but there I just had to write about this. I was listening to MPR this morning, and they were talking about an investigation of Saddam Hussein's government and how it had supported many terrorists. They made some reference to "uniting Muslims for jihad". This made me so sad and angry, because the last thing the Muslin community needs are those kinds of comments that imply that all Muslin people would want to unite and be terrorists together. It reminded me why we are doing undercover: to show that "Muslim" and "terrorist" are not interchangeable words. We know that this isn't true, and that Muslims around the world contribute really valuable, beautiful things to their communities. This is what the world needs to know.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

So, alot of the topics we've discussed (on this blog and in person) come back to how we percieve ourselves and how the media alters our self image. I found a book, I think is really great in helping promote a positive self image. Body Drama takes a really interesting approach to making women and girls feel comfortable in our own skin, answering questions about our body and promoting all types of people. It eliminates myths and shows us real women. I think it's worth reading "You’d think a Miss America swimsuit winner would feel completely confident about her body, right? Not always! So I decided to write the book I wish I’d had as a teen and in college—an honest, funny, practical, medically accurate, totally reassuring guide to how women’s bodies actually look, smell, feel, behave, and change. Alongside real-deal photographs of women just like you and me (no airbrushing, no supermodels, no kidding) you’ll find medical pictures of things you need to be able to recognize, true confessions by yours truly, and the encouragement you need to appreciate the uniqueness, strength, and beauty of your body. What are you waiting for?"—Nancy Redd " What do you think about this kind of media?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hello all! I am thrilled because this is election year. I have been watching the debates, debating others about which candidates rock, and watching political adds. The now infamous Clinton 3am add was particularly interesting to me. I know we have always talked about how people use images to convey strong feelings and emotions -- but here was a perfect example of a politician using this technique! Also, this is no indite on the ability of Clinton to lead the U.S. (almost every politician has done this -- remember Huckabee's Christmas add?) Here's the URL for the Clinton add if you have not seen it:
I wondered what you all think about this political tactic...

Monday, March 03, 2008

I'm not sure how many of you have given this topic much thought or experience but I was wondering what you thought about relationships and what we call them.  There're a lot of terms thrown around: boyfriend, friends with benefits, best friends, acquaintances, hook ups....  Remember "We Don't Let Label's Stick?"  I almost think it's sort of like that.  I've given it some thought and I feel that these labels are unnecessary and often harmful.  Every relationship is different and it's foolish to put a person or two people into an invented category where they don't fit.  That's my opinion.  What do you think?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"There is in every serious friendship a trove of confidences.  Secrets is too mean a word, because it is not merely the facts that require proper handling.  It is the way those facts relate to the friend, the emotional context in which they were buried, the moment in which they were told.  We think we will be weakened by giving away each one, but with every trade, we feel stronger, knowing that a burden has passed out of our keeping and into the hands of someone we trust."  ~Ivo Stourton

Monday, February 25, 2008

Let's mix it up.  Here's something fun you can share: favourite movie of the year.  And once someone lists their favourite movie and explains why, you have to pick a new one.  

I'll start.

I'm going to steal this one even though I know everyone else will want it and it may seem cliche.  My favourite film of the year was Juno and it makes me really angry that everyone in the entire world, practically, fell in love with that movie. I kind of wanted it to be my movie.  But here's why I like it.  I felt that it appealed to many audiences.  I saw it with a bunch of my female friends.  Then I took two of my guy friends to see it on different occasions.  Everyone was pleased.  People got different things out of it.  It was superbly-crafted and I gleaned new wonders out of it every time I saw it. (3 times so far!)  So the cinematography and directing was excellent.  The script, of course, was golden and Minnesota-born.  I'm proud.  The music was spot-on even if the songs were a little folky. I got into it.  And of course the acting was perfect.  I really have not a sore thing to say about this film.  The best thing about Juno is that it is humorous but not without a great amount of depth.  To put it simply, Juno was very real.  I laughed for the first 70 minutes of it and cried for the last 20.  You can't get much better than that.

Your turn.

Monday, February 18, 2008

So this may be an overdone topic but I figure I'll see what my favourite girls have to say about it. That means you.  I'm wondering what you think of the frequent objectification and disrespect of women portrayed in popular music, especially rap and hip hop. I am a big fan of hip hop and listen to it frequently. I try to listen to artists like Kanye West and other lesser known artists whose work, I feel, is more respectful toward women (not always, mind you).  Examples of lyrics I noticed just today while riding in the car with a friend.  These are somewhat explicit just so you know:
"You got me so hypnotized / The way your body rolling round and round / that booty keep bumping, boobies just bouncin up and down." ~ "Hypnotized" by Plies
"Imma say that I prefer them no clothes / I'm into that, I love women exposed." ~ "Low" by Flo Rida
"Because she mine, and so fine / Thick as can be ... In her mind she fantasize about gettin wit me" ~"Kiss Kiss" by Chris Brown