Posted by: cj2kewl4u | October 15, 2012

A “Moment-us” Conference (OSCLG)

A “Moment-us” Conference (OSCLG)

I want to share my most recent experience relating to our class. I got to spend the last few days in Tacoma, Washington with Dr. Danielle Stern at a conference hosted by the Organization for the Study of Communication Language & Gender (OSCLG). We presented research describing and analyzing the Miss Representation movement, looking specifically at their vision, online presence, and the ways they are working to create a grassroots campaign.

I really enjoyed this conference, particularly the sense of community I felt there. I’m a business major and because this conference generally concentrated on communication studies (hence the name), much of the content was beyond me :). Although, one panel on mindfulness did cite the work of Kouzes & Posner in The Leadership Challenge AND I met the Foss sisters who I once cited, in their work on invitational rhetoric, in a research paper! They are famous in the communications world and I have to admit, I was start-struck for a few moments in their presence!

Even though I wasn’t always familiar with the references and theories tossed around at the conference, I still feel like I learned so much- I learned to think differently. The fact that the people at this conference were incredibly kind and considered the conference an opportunity to offer and receive constructive criticism contributed to that. It was a learning environment for all. Everyone brought fascinating research projects; many of which surrounded feminism, gender, the media, politics, religion, sex, and sexuality – everything we talk about in class and more! As I listened to one presentation after another I kept thinking about the conversations we have in class and on our blog and how much I wanted each of you to be there!

The conference had several dynamics, but one theme of mentorship kept emerging. There were a handful of panels that covered different types of mentorship; whether it is peer to peer, professor to student, or the ripple effects that one generation of mentors can have on two and three other generations, the importance and value of mentorship was duly emphasized.

When I think about my past and present mentors I recognize the intricate role they played in my life, and I can’t imagine what I would be like without their support. It also reminds me of the potential we all have to impact another person’s life and the choice we have to either take advantage of that power, or overlook it.

I’m sure you recall the Miss Representation documentary focusing on the concept of mentorship as an agent of change. Gloria Steinem eloquently offered, “If you and I, every time we pass a mirror, downgrade on how we look or complain about ours looks, if we remember that a girl is watching us and that’s what she is learning,” and it causes me to imagine how things might look different if we applied this thought-process to our lives in everything that we do. If we thought about the implications of our words and actions for other women, other men, other young people, society, and took advantage of opportunities to mentor others, I bet we could transform the limiting tendencies of popular culture to reflect a more respectful place for everyone.

I’ve attached the Prezi Dr. Stern and I created for our presentation if you want to take a look and I would be happy to answer any questions you have about the project. Thanks!

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