PAYCE Stories

One minute of norms

October 10, 2018 Season 2 Episode 5
PAYCE Stories
One minute of norms
Chapters
PAYCE Stories
One minute of norms
Oct 10, 2018 Season 2 Episode 5
Palestinian American Youth Civic Engagement

Raneem describes the negative stereotypes about young adult Palestinians.  But what is dreams and goals truly characterize this generation?  She and her team profile one of the artists, Zeina, who created an art project designed to challenge gender inequality through a film project called One Minutes of Norms.  The project films a statement written on a sign put on a public space and responses to the sign in order to capture attention. The controversial statement calls out gender oppression in Palestine.  People were hesitant to engage with the statement, and a small error in the writing created confusion.  It was an experiment that, although imperfect, presented feminist commentary and challenged norms. Art opens dialogues necessary to create a change. Zeina and Afnan, the artists, are also PAYCE Fellows whose stories are found in the series. 

Show Notes Transcript

Raneem describes the negative stereotypes about young adult Palestinians.  But what is dreams and goals truly characterize this generation?  She and her team profile one of the artists, Zeina, who created an art project designed to challenge gender inequality through a film project called One Minutes of Norms.  The project films a statement written on a sign put on a public space and responses to the sign in order to capture attention. The controversial statement calls out gender oppression in Palestine.  People were hesitant to engage with the statement, and a small error in the writing created confusion.  It was an experiment that, although imperfect, presented feminist commentary and challenged norms. Art opens dialogues necessary to create a change. Zeina and Afnan, the artists, are also PAYCE Fellows whose stories are found in the series. 

Raneem:
0:01
Transcript in progress. Hello everyone, this is Raneem from Al-Quds Bard College. We have been told so many times that life is not a fairy tale like the ones that we watch on TV . Or as easy as a post that we can edit on Facebook whenever we want.. So many times, we were accused to be useless generation, but what if the will and the power for change is what defines our generation? Instead, what if dreams, goals, and sounds are what stands out for us from a post on social media to the business field and civic engagement. Youth are working so hard to leave a mark that will change their societies in the world for a better future here as a sport in college there are two sophomores, Afnan and Zena who are human rights and media studies students working on planting the seeds of change in their society. Throw a filming project called one minute of norms. Hashtag controversial. Two colleagues of mine who are also students have aqb. Mariana and Leon and myself sat together with Zena to have a discussion about their new project. Zena today I came to college and a so you end up non filming, assign in the middle of the entrance of a university. So what exactly were you doing there?
Raneem:
1:38
This was US launching our new project for the semester. One Minute of norms #controversial. It's essentially an idea that we were inspired by from a course that we took this semester where we watched a one minute video of a man interfering a public space by placing a sign which had something controversial written on it. So we thought, why don't we do this on our campus and what we had written on the sign today was a society that oppresses will never be liberated. I am sure people reacted differently to the sign. Did us a little bit about this. People would actually take their time reading the sign. Although what was written on the sign is a really short sentence. It's a sentence to have essentially four words. It did attract people's attention and we were very pleased by seeing that it did turn something in people's minds.
Raneem:
2:24
From my understanding, you were inspired by another social experiment done before, so how can you project be considered as unique? I think what makes it unique is two things. First, the context and the message behind it, and second, the personal aspect of it by addressing issues like sexism and sexual harassment and other issues that women face on a daily basis by introducing feminist concepts. We want to make feminism a relatable to the society. We want to address the occupation from a feminist point of view. People blame the occupation for everything and this is not true. Like we can't blame the occupation for why women face succes and from men and women have their own society. So what we are trying to deliver is maybe if we started solving the problems that we have in our society, something will change and maybe we will progress in terms of solving our political issues and what makes it also unique is the personal aspect. My partner and I, like many girls, we do face sexism on a daily basis and we do face sexual harassment. So we want to voice our opinions because what we find is that women do face these things, but these don't voice their opinions to show people that we are becoming aware of this and we're trying to tackle it through this project and we are hoping that others would do the same. Of course.
Raneem:
3:46
Vina, how did you deal with certain reactions and were you able to have discussions with the people who acted with the sign? I think people's reactions reflect their opinion. Let's say if a guy curses at it or if a guy pushes it, we want them to do that. We want them to express themselves freely because I think through the reactions we get to know what is their opinion and in terms of having discussion, we don't want to convince people of our point of view necessarily. We just want them to be exposed to different perspectives. That real discussion that we want to happen is between themselves. We have two guys were talking about something. We're having a conversation. They pass by the sign. They started talking about the sun itself, so I think we were very successful in that by generating discussion about controversial issues between people who usually wouldn't talk about these things because nobody has ever brought their attention to what stuck in my head was actually a sarcastic comment made by a guy who was walking with two girls and he was like, oh no, because of the sign you're free and you can cross in front of the camera, and the girls left.
Raneem:
4:45
They thought it was funny. It was a completely offensive, a completely sexist remark, and they left and I think this is a problem that we see and I think this project let us be sure of this deep and very dangerous phenomenon that's happening where girls are normalizing sexism themselves. They are not aware of sexism because they don't react to it because they accepted and I think normalizing issues like sexism is a coping mechanism that people kind of take because when girls normalized sexism, it's the easy way of going about being treated in a very sexist way every day. It's very unfortunate and I think this project will not only raise awareness for guys, but it will raise awareness for girls,
Raneem:
5:31
so what sort of change that you seek to have in our society as a result of this project, so essentially the change that we want to see in our society is people being open to different perspectives that don't align with their own and being able to have a productive conversation about it and a discussion. So we want to generate debate. We want to introduce that concept. People were not necessarily thinking of this particular issue and now when they see the they will start thinking why does this point of view exists? US being leaders of this project and leaders of this social experiment sends a message that our voice, our involvement in solution that regards a problem that we face on a daily basis is very important and is very significant.
Raneem:
6:17
My partner, if none is a Hijabi and I'm not in the future, there will be signs addressing issues regarding his job is not. The aim is to make feminism something that's very relatable for the society that at a certain point it's no longer that for him, we are trying to be the spark behind people thinking about certain issues. So the real action, the real change will come from the people who start doubting their own point of views, who start looking into other methods that they would not have normally look into and this is exactly what we want to do and we hope to do more and more people being included in this. More and more people supporting this. This will definitely reach a greater point.
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