Women of color are acutely aware that we are often missing or stereotyped and degraded in mainstream media. These media representations impact our lived experience. FAAN Mail stems from this awareness and the desire to respond. FAAN Mail (Fostering Activism and Alternatives Now!) is a media literacy and activism project formed by young women of color in Philadelphia. Together with our allies, we seek to critique and create media, so that more diverse, fair and fully human representations of who we are exist. Through the process of “talking back” (bell hooks) to media and creating new alternatives with each other and teen girls, we deconstruct and challenge hegemonic representations and messages within media and our everyday lives.

FAANMAIL purple1The following ten principles inform our media literacy efforts:

1. Media both reflects and shapes society.
2. Media owners should be accountable for the media that they financially support.
3. Artists have the right and responsibility to make the music/art that is meaningful to them.
4. Artists should be aware of WHO their audience is and how they may interpret the message.
5. Artists can no longer pretend that their selling power is only limited to products like shoes, soda, etc. They sell ideas with their lyrics, videos and other forms of media.
6. Artists should be willing and have a responsibility to have conversations, good and bad, with audiences about what they produce.
7. Audiences are not passive. We interpret media texts based on our world view. Our interpretations shape the meaning of texts.
8. Audiences have a responsibility to question and think critically about the messages we consume.
9. Audiences & consumers have a voice.  We too can create our own messages.
10. Audiences are diverse. We are all races, multiple genders, at various places on the class hierarchy, and fall everywhere on the sexuality spectrum. We acknowledge that solidarity across these differences are important when addressing media representations.

For updates about our efforts and how you can get involved, subscribe to our email list!

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