FEMINIST FRIDAY: Trans Youtuber Gigi Gorgeous Breaks Barriers & David Schwimmer’s Sexual Assault PSAs

Welcome to another edition of Feminist Friday, the series where we share a handful of our favorite videos this week! It’s our favorite way to end the week, and an inspiring note to start the weekend on. In this piece, we’re sharing author Peggy Orenstein’s important and eye-opening TED Talk related to her book ‘Girls & Sex’, actor David Schwimmer’s series of sexual assault PSAs, and the journey of a ground-breaking Youtuber who is giving voice to a demographic of vulnerable youth across the world today.

That Youtuber is Gigi Loren Lazzarato, a 24-year-old model and internet personality otherwise known as Gigi Gorgeous, who has over 2.5 million subscribers on her channel. Not only does Gigi share makeup tips, fashion and style advice, she has also used her platform to be candid and open about her transition journey. In fact, she began documenting her transition as she was going through it.

Gigi was born Gregory, and started making Youtube videos as a young boy. Gigi’s life and work is the subject of a new original documentary produced by Youtube called ‘This Is Everything’, shown at the Sundance Film Festival. We believe Gigi’s presence online is more than just about a Youtube personality, it is about advocating for many trans individuals who do not feel represented, supported, or even acknowledged by our current society. Under the Trump administration, which has already rolled back a crucial bill signed by former President Obama, which protected the rights of transgender people to use the bathroom of their choosing, we are seeing an increase in the dialog around the need to ensure every single person in this country is afforded the same basic rights.

For all the people in the world who don’t understand what it means to be a trans individual, or sees them through the lens of hate and fear, Gigi’s channel breaks through the myth and rhetoric by showing the humanity through it all. Her family being supportive of her transition and career is heartwarming and an encouraging message to all the parents of transgender kids out there. Take a look at the trailer for ‘This Is Everything’:

Peggy Orenstein’s book ‘Girls & Sex’ as well as her new TED Talk are required reading and viewing for every parents of teenagers today (and parents of future teenagers). She has been following around and interviewing teen girls across America to understand their perspective of sex, pleasure, relationships and bodies today.

Why is this talk important? Because across America, abstinence-only education is still being taught, which sets up the narrative about shameful experiences, especially in the lives of young girls. States which require public schools to teach abstinence-only have high rates of STDs and teen pregnancies. This is a HUGE problem. But more than that, with so much increased awareness about the need to get to the root of rape culture and victim-blaming, by teaching a sexual foundation that isn’t afraid to talk about pleasure and especially consent, Peggy’s words are a helpful guide to how parents can navigate this brave new world for teens, dominated by the internet, pornography and social media.

Why are we so afraid to to allow girls to talk about sex in a pleasurable context? How do we get away from the harmful binary of viewing women’s bodies only as acceptable in public spaces as the objectified being, or the silenced, hidden figure? What will it take for girls to grow up not viewing the act of sex as something that is done for a man, as opposed to something that happens between two individuals, both deserving of pleasure? Why are we so afraid to acknowledge that kids are having sex, rather than equipping ourselves with the right tools and information to safely guide them through this important time in their lives?

ICYMI, Donald Trump seemed a little too eager to declare April sexual assault awareness month, and the irony was lost on absolutely no one, we’re quite sure. While we don’t want to make this about him, the fact that millions of people in America decided his open admissions of non-consensual grabbing of women and sexual assault wasn’t a big deal, the following set of videos (we’ve posted only one) are timely and crucial pieces of content.

Actor David Schwimmer, best known for his iconic role as Ross Geller on ‘Friends’, recently appeared on ‘The View’ to talk about a series of PSAs he co-created with his friend and director Sigal Avin. She previously made a series of videos in Israel which she showed David, who was so disturbed by the scenarios shown that he wanted to re-create them for an American audience. They feature well-known names such as Cynthia Nixon, Emmy Rossum, Mamie Gummer, and David himself.

We loved David’s part in this project because: 1. he is using his celebrity status for a good cause, 2. he is giving all due credit (appropriately) to director Sigal, and 3. showing why it is important that men realize the role they can play in preventing situations of assault and harassment.

He told ‘The View’ panel that most people think of sexual assault situations as the guy popping out from the bushes and attacking a woman. But the reality is much more pervasive than that.

“The current climate right now in this country … it feels like women and their advocates are fighting for basic human and civil rights. Sigal and I thought, we need to explicitly state that sexual harassment and sexual assault is not permissible and also give a face to it,” he said.

In line with Former Vice President Joe Biden’s ‘Its On Us’ advocacy campaign to engage men to speak out against assault in all forms, the following series of 6 videos (they will play consecutively when you watch the first one below) are the kinds of resistance material we need to see in the media:

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