Subverting the Swiffer
Back in February, Feministing reported on a truly dumbfounding moment in modern women's history when Swiffer launched their "Amazing Woman of the Year" contest. What makes an Amazing Woman? Her adherence to the 1950s code of June Cleaver wifery, updated for 2006 due to technology advances like the Internet and, of course, the Swiffer:
An Amazing Woman is an inspiration not only because of all she does to make her world a better place, but also how she does it. Maybe she runs her own home-based business while her children are in school, volunteers at a homeless shelter once a week and cleans on the weekend. Or maybe she cleans her home a little bit each morning, works during the day and is able to keep her weekend free for family and volunteer projects.
The one thing Amazing Women have in common is the creativity they use to get everything done. They team up with other women in their neighborhood, they order groceries and clothes on the Internet, or they use day planners to keep their schedules on track.
Rather than deconstruct the very wrongness of much of this, I'm jumping onto a subversion bandwagon that Jennifer Pozner of Women in Media & News (WIMN) has launched last week. WIMN is a media analysis, education and advocacy group involved in training and offering media resources on a variety of women-related issues; here's what Jenn has to say:
Veronica Arreola, an amazing Latina feminist activist and board member of Women In Media & News (WIMN), has been selected from thousands of nominees as one of ten finalists for the "Swiffer Amazing Woman of the Year" contest. Your vote will help determine if she's chosen as one of five winners.
This is not just a silly PR effort for a cleaning product company -- if Roni is chosen as one of the company's five Amazing Women, Swiffer will donate $5,000 to WIMN! As a small, grassroots organization, WIMN can really put that money to good use. Roni, a passionate feminist and media activist (and I think the only woman of color on the Swiffer list) needs the support of the blogger community to make that happen. In addition to her work with WIMN, Roni is involved with local women's rights and women's health projects in Chicago, is active one a national level as a leader with the National Organization for Women, and works with young women in science and engineering at the University of Illinois.
Please encourage everyone who cares about women -- and who cares about the media -- to vote for Veronica Arreola (she's Amazing Woman #7 in the list) here.
Bitch Magazine rightly questions whether getting involved with a commercial contest that supports the most old-school stereotypes is a Good Thing (tm), but supporting an activist and organization like Veronica and WIMN seems like the best way to answer and redefine "amazing" for reaching some of these folks. Vote today!