Travel Log 11: “Holding up Half the Sky Reaction Paper”. By Chelsea Campbell. Barcelona, Spain

Half the Sky is a documentary that conveys the message of the oppression of women in our world, with real accounts following the lives and stories of girls and women, and the differences that can be made to correct an issue not many give much attention to. The beginning to making a change is by being aware. The documentary brings a social issue to the eye of the viewer by following stories and entering villages where forced prostitution, rape, and gender-based violence is not only common, but accepted. The goal of the documentary is to create oppression awareness and they do an absolutely amazing job. The stories of the young girls are more than just touching, they are mind-blowing. The stories are ones you simply cannot forget because you cannot believe someone has gone through what these women do. As touching as they all are, there was one that really impacted me.

One young women, who was a victim herself of forced prostitution by the young age of 11, took action and created a safe haven for young girls she rescues herself. This young lady was rescued and didn’t let her past destroy her, she became a leader to then help young girls that are in the shoes she used to walk in. She plans secret night attacks on brothels where she knows young girls are being kept and then goes in when the time is right to save these little girls. She has provided a safe haven for these girls that she brings them back to where they have other girls just like them to get better with. In this safe haven the young girls are taught coping mechanisms, meditation, and group therapy sessions where they share each others stories to let each other know they’re not alone. I have never been more impressed with someone’s actions than this woman in the documentary. She took her horrible past and let it turn her into an amazing person that changes young victim’s lives everyday. Her story impacted me the most because I found her to be a huge inspiration. One person may not be able to change the world but she’s on the right path by changing the world to these little girls.

JRoppression

Photo found on JR’s TED talk

The documentary was the not the first time this issue has risen in a class this semester. In my graffiti class we learned about artists who do what they do for a social cause. They feel that maybe their art could at least inspire a good handful of people on certain social issues. One of the artists I learned about, who happens to be my favorite and I am writing a 10-page paper on him currently, is JR, a Parisian artist. He pastes his photography on large scales in socially disturbed areas in order to make a statement. The most inspirational work of his that ties to this issue was when he went to a small village and pasted on the sides of the buildings the eyes of the women that live there who have been oppressed, raped, beat, neglected, etc. The photo I attached is of this project of his. I highly recommend watching his TED talk and hearing him speak about how he does these things in communities to make change one disturbed community at a time.

As a management major, I can identify many ways that an individual in my field of study could make a positive contribution to this issue. Any company can and should have corporate social responsibility. Any social issue can be backed for change by any company and women’s oppression, as displayed in Half the Sky, is a great issue to be backed. A business, by taking action and being a leader in society could hire artists, such as JR, to make a creative statement on the issue for them or they could simply donate funds to the issue, such as to the young lady’s safe haven. The world today is commercially driven and businesses have larger impacts than some would like, however, with the right social responsibility they could make positive contributions to the oppression of women.

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