Act MTV Act Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:31:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lena Dunham Shares Why We Need to Vote During the Midterms Thu, 30 Oct 2014 18:14:25 +0000 LenaMidtermsMain
By Robin Lempel

Lena Dunham wants everyone to know why it’s important for young women to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. And it really is. With states like Colorado, North Dakota, and Tennessee having measures and amendments on the ballot that would directly affect women’s reproductive rights, it’s more important than ever to get out and vote.

Dunham just released a video on in support of Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Women Are Watching campaign where she, fans, and friends described why it’s great to be a woman and why it’s so important to vote right now. “We contain multitudes, man,” one girl said.

+ Watch Lena’s Video

And there are so many issues that affect young women today from reproductive justice, to the minimum wage, to immigration, to the wage gap, to prison reform, to working families. Really, the list goes on and on because every political issue affects you. And you can use your vote to make a change.

Dunham talked about how there’s this misconception that young people are really apathetic today. But that’s just not true. The best way to use your voice about important women’s issues is to vote on November 4, 2014

“I used to think all that mattered was that you, you know, vote for Obama then go back to eating Cheetos and reading gossip magazines,” she said in the video. “But the fact is the midterm elections matter. This is how you keep sexist healthcare policies from passing. This is how you keep sexist politicians out of office. This is how you create the change you want. When you show up to the polls, you empower yourself, you empower the women you love, and you take control of your own body back from politicians who don’t want the best for you. Girls want change. Girls are change. You have to vote on November 4th.”

It’s time to tell the “old dudes in D.C.” that what happens with our bodies isn’t up to them.

The best way to do that is to vote in the midterm elections.

Photo: (Glamour/Women Are Watching)

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6 Times Gloria Steinem Reminded Us Why It’s Important To Vote Thu, 30 Oct 2014 17:57:39 +0000 GloriaStickerMain
As part of the #CosmoVotes campaign, feminist icon Gloria Steinem penned an article on the importance of getting out and voting for this midterm election.

She told a personal story of helping a woman named Harriett Woods run for Senate in the 80s. Woods was considered a long shot for her views on women’s rights and the fact she was running against men. However, it looked as if she had a good chance of winning and she was getting votes from areas that traditionally voted for the other party. Then, because she didn’t have enough money to push herself through the last bit of the election, she lost by a small amount.

Steinem traced Woods’ loss with the creation of the political women’s rights org Emily’s List. She also showed how Woods’ opponent was able to change the makeup of the Supreme Court through his connections, leading to a Supreme Court today that has ruled against women’s reproductive rights in cases like Hobby Lobby. Check out the full article for all the deets, and in the meantime, here are some quotes from Steinem’s piece about how important voting is:

+ If your friends say, “My vote doesn’t count,” or, “Politics are dirty,” it’s no wonder. Many forces profit from the unequal pay and status of women, and ever since the civil rights movement and the women’s movement created a new majority, they have been trying to convince us that our vote doesn’t matter.

+ Some state officials also create barriers of voter identification — especially for the poor, voters of color, students, and other forces of change. That’s part of the reason that voter turnout in this country is lower than in, say, India, with all its problems of poverty and illiteracy. In fact, our country makes voting more difficult than any other democracy.

+ In non-presidential years like this one, turnout is even lower because the media tend to focus on the White House. This creates the very real danger that the majority of Americans — who believe that women, not the government, should make reproductive decisions about our own bodies — will let unrepresentative anti-choice state legislatures go right on shutting down clinics, as in Texas and Mississippi.

+ All this is why we must not only vote but be willing to fight to vote — not only for who goes to Washington, but also for our school board and state legislature.

+ Due to the absence of just a few votes, each of us can count the differences in our lives, our nation, and our world.

+ Yes, voting isn’t the most we can do — but it is the least. Our vote is our voice.

Photo: (Getty)

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Joan Jett + Friends Tell Why You’ve Gotta Vote Thu, 30 Oct 2014 16:10:51 +0000 JoanJettMainDon’t listen to the myth that midterm elections are unimportant — voting on November 4 will make a big difference on a number of policies, including those involving women’s rights. To share this message, Joan Jett got together with a bunch of kickass women and men to make a pro-voting video to her song “Bad Reputation.”

You might notice some familiar faces here, including Sia, Tavi Gevinson, Natasha Lyonne, Lizz Winstead and Lesley Gore, whose song “You Don’t Own Me” was used as a 2012 voting PSA.

+ Watch Bad Reputation PSA

This PSA points out that every single senator in one of our two major political parties voted against giving women equal pay for equal work. And don’t forget the fact that in the past year there were more laws passed against reproductive rights than there were in the decade before that. Coincidentally, a report was just released saying women have more rights and equality in Rwanda, the Philippines and Nicaragua — among other countries — than they do in America. Something to think about.

Writing about this PSA, “Daily Show” co-creator Lizz Winstead said, “The very second a woman demands agency, she is considered trouble. She earns a ‘bad reputation’ for simply asking for what she deserves. Equal pay, access to reproductive care, not to be raped. Yep, when a woman starts in with all this ‘respect me’ business, the haters start up.”

The PSA invites you to visit Lady Parts Justice for more details on specific laws and proposals that have to do with women’s rights. For instance, reproductive rights activists are all closely watching North Dakota, Colorado and Tennessee for ballot measures that could roll back a woman’s right to decide what happens to her body.

“There are candidates running for office this November who have backwards views on women’s rights,” Joan says at the end of the PSA. “If you care about our right to control our own bodies and our own paychecks, then get yourself out to the polls this November 4th and vote. And bring your friends.”

Photo: (YouTube)

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Yesterday’s #CarryThatWeight Event Needed to Happen Thu, 30 Oct 2014 15:30:25 +0000 CarryThatMain2Inspired by Emma Sulkowicz and her performance art activism, activists picked up their beds yesterday to “stand in solidarity with survivors of sexual and domestic violence by carrying mattresses together” for the Carry That Weight Day of Action.

Here’s how people on Twitter got involved, raised their voices, and shared their stories:

Some activists got ready the night before:

Upworthy let everyone know the hashtag for the day:

The folks at V-Day let everyone know that Sulkowicz was the inspiration behind the movement:

Senator Gillibrand pointed her followers to a ThinkProgress article about the movement:

Dana Bolger, one of the co-founders of Know Your IX, opened up about how she felt about the day:

She also discussed #carrythatweight with others on Twitter:

Bolger also quoted Alexandra Brodsky, a Know Your IX co-founder and Editor at Feministing:

Andrea Pino, one of the co-founders of End Rape on Campus, gave kudos to all the survivors participating today:

Our mattresses might be back in our rooms, but there’s still more we can do to end sexual assault on campus. Check out organizations like NO MORE and Know Your IX to see how you can get involved and help survivors.

Photo: (Twitter)

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Get Free Tix to See Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan + Rock the Vote Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:30:09 +0000 young-thug-rich-homie-quan
November 4 is all about voting, so what is November 3? It’s about getting ready to vote, of course! Rock the Vote is putting on a concert on Midterm Election Eve that will have Young Thug and Rich Homie Quan taking the stage in Atlanta at The Tabernacle.

Tix become available at noon today, so if you’re in the Atlanta area, you def want to jump on this. You can also register for free tickets! Doors open at 7 this Monday, and the two-hour concert starts at 8.

Young people make up a considerable voting bloc, and if we get out and vote, we can sway elections to the causes that matter to us. Rock the Vote has been working hard to get everyone registered, educated on the ballots and candidates and ready to go to the polls. Didja catch their viral vid of Lil Jon’sTurn Out For What,” which discusses some of the reasons you ought to turn out to vote, like women’s rights and environmental issues? If you go to Rock the Vote’s Turn Out For What page, you can actually show your friends what you’re turning out for. We hope to see you at the concert, and we definitely want to see you at the polls!

Photo: (MusicTimes)

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Strict Texas Voter ID Law Keeps Veteran From Voting Wed, 29 Oct 2014 14:46:06 +0000 voterid
By Robin Lempel

The Supreme Court ruled to allow Texas’ strict voter ID law in the upcoming midterm elections. People are already feeling the effects of the ruling that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said “risks denying the right to vote to hundreds of thousands of eligible voters.”

These new voter ID laws have become very contentious, with some saying that they’re an attempt to make it harder for low-income, minority and elderly populations to vote, while others have argued that it’s simply a way to protect against voter fraud. That said, there were only two cases of voter fraud in Texas from 2002 until 2011.

Though not many people have been turned away during early voting, the strict voter ID law is anticipated to keep about 600,000 people from the polls, the majority of them Latino and African American. Marianela Acuña Arreaza, the Texas coordinator for VoteRiders, said that the 10 cases she’s personally seen are “still too many.” One case is too many.

But a case witnessed by election judge William Parsley has really been grabbing news: A 93-year-old veteran was turned away when he tried to vote. Why? “His license had expired,” Parsely told Think Progress.

Texans can use one of seven forms of IDs, including a Texas-issued driver’s license, a federally issued veteran’s ID card, or a gun registration card. Licenses can actually be expired as long as they haven’t been expired for more than 60 days. This man’s license was expired for a few years probably because he didn’t drive anymore. He hadn’t gotten a veteran’s ID, but had other forms of ID, though none of them were acceptable under the voter ID law.

So Parsley had to tell him to go renew his license so he could vote. “He just felt real bad, you know, because he’s voted all his life,” Parsely said. This is just one case where someone’s ID wasn’t acceptable, but there have been others. Acuña Arreaza described how even if people could go get the correct ID in time for Election Day, they may not want to after being turned away. Only time will tell how much of an effect Texas’ strict voter ID law will have on the upcoming midterm election.

Photo: (CBS)

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High School Student Creates Winning FCancer PSA for Film Festival Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:36:48 +0000 addisondlott
Although cancer affects millions worldwide, it can be an incredibly personal and lonely journey for those affected. This year, as part of the All American High School Film Festival, students had the opportunity to create a short PSA showing their personal stories about how cancer has impacted their lives.

Founded by Andrew Jenks, the man behind MTV’s “World of Jenks,” the film festival invites high school students from all over to submit their films. The new category was the result of a partnership between the AAHSFF and FCancer, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting prevention and early detection of cancer. This year, Addison Dlott took home first prize in the new category for her “FCancer PSA.”

+ Watch the Winning PSA

F Cancer PSA from Addison Dlott on Vimeo.

The executive team of FCancer and select judges chose Dlott’s entry as the overall best film in the category, and Harry Hudson presented her with the award. Hudson, a cancer survivor, recording artist, and FCancer celebrity community member, called it “an honor” to present the award at the festival and explained why having a creative outlet is so important:

During my battle with cancer, I used music as a creative outlet to express and share my experience. It’s so inspiring to see young filmmakers contribute to the FCancer community in a way that’s authentic to them. Addison’s film embodies the importance of FCancer’s mission to prevent and detect cancer in its earliest form. Young adults are often left out of this conversation and FCancer is changing that. I hope more high school students are inspired by Addison’s PSA and continue to do what they love to express themselves.”

Julie Greenbaum, the co-founder of FCancer, said having this type of category “provides young kids with a therapeutic outlet to creatively express the different emotions they face when dealing with cancer.” It also helps further FCancer’s mission by “promoting the importance of talking about cancer with a raw authentic voice.”

Greenbaum said the group chose Addison’s film as the winning entry because it “was successful in capturing the despair and loneliness you often feel after losing a loved one.”

Photo: (Vimeo)

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Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF with Zendaya [Interview] Wed, 29 Oct 2014 13:00:38 +0000 Premiere Of Disney's "Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" - Arrivals
Have you picked out your costume yet? Maybe you can be a superhero for kids around the world! Zendaya is repping for Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF so that you can use the spooky holiday for a good cause.

You can go door-to-door with a collection box for UNICEF, and you can also create your own fundraising page online. If you’re throwing a Halloween party, this could also be a great way to raise extra money.

Funds raised will go toward things like clean water, feeding malnourished kids and supplying vaccinations. Donating a dollar gets a kid safe drinking water for more than a month, and $10 lets 280 kids receive vaccinations to help them with their health. In about 60 years, this annual Halloween event has raised $170 million for UNICEF.

To learn more about Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, how to help UNICEF year round and the best Halloween costume she’s ever worn, we turn it over to Zendaya.

ACT: How can people support Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF while they’re enjoying Halloween?

ZENDAYA: You can go online and get a box [for collecting donations], or you can actually go online nowadays — I think this is a really cool feature — and make a donation page. You can get your friends to go online and donate and kind of be involved in a different virtual way.


ACT: Where will the funds collected go to? How will people be helping kids by taking part?

ZENDAYA: It’s going toward clean water, vaccinations, a lot of basic necessities that I think we overlook. A lot of people don’t understand these issues. It’s turning something like Halloween trick-or-treating into a fun way to give back. I hope everyone gets involved and I hope we can make a pretty big difference. A little goes a long way in this case.

ACT: After Halloween, what are other ways people can support UNICEF?

ZENDAYA: Obviously Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is kind of what I’m representing, but UNICEF keeps its work going all year long. You can go online and donate. It’s pretty easy to get involved and be part of the charity and continue to support the cause. I support UNICEF in general and everything they do.

ACT: What’s the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn? Are you wearing a costume this year?

ZENDAYA: [laughs] You know, in my lifetime I’ve worn quite a few costumes. Like, literally every other day I’m in a costume considering I’m on a TV show. So I’ve been in some crazy costumes, but I’d say my favorite Halloween costume was funnily enough the year I didn’t know what to do. Last minute, I decided to be a boy. I think it was fifth grade. I hid my hair under a cap and I tricked a few people. I really got into character. I’m proud.

This year, I don’t think I’m wearing a costume. I think I’m just probably going to help my little nieces pull together a costume and Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.

Photo: (Getty, UNICEF)

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What’s Up With the Women’s Equality Party? Tue, 28 Oct 2014 14:00:10 +0000 Hillary Clinton And Andrew Cuomo Campaign In New York
By Robin Lempel

With states like Colorado and North Dakota adding personhood measures on their ballots and an amendment on the Tennessee ballot that would make it easier to pass anti-abortion legislation, women’s issues are becoming an important topic in the upcoming November elections. And thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Party, women’s issues are becoming a big focus in the New York Governor’s race.

Cuomo created the Women’s Equality Party because he wants to pass the Women’s Equality Act. And he even has Hillary Clinton on his side.

“I want you to know how much I believe in electing Andrew Cuomo and [Lt. Governor candidate] Kathy Hochul,” she said. “They will fight for every woman and every family to have a fair shot. And here’s what they will never do: they will never waffle on a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. They will never shame and judge a woman for decisions that are complex and deeply personal, decisions that belong to a woman, her family, her faith, and her doctor. Not with her boss or with her politician.”

Cuomo is promising to fight for women’s rights and a woman’s right to choose. Many, such as NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, are applauding the Women’s Equality Party for giving women’s issues a real platform, saying, “[T]his party is an opportunity for women to have their voices heard – but also to make sure elected officials know they need to be responsive to women.”

She also defended the Woman’s Equality Party against rumors that the new party is an attempt to get the Working Families Party, which actually ended up endorsing Cuomo, off the ballot. Many people have problems with Cuomo’s Woman’s Equality Party, and the tensions with the Working Families Party is seen as a big one.

Michelle Goldberg, writing in The Nation, for example, called the party “a joke,” saying that one of the Working Families’ biggest problems with Cuomo was that he didn’t do enough for women in New York. She said that the party “seems inspired by nothing so much as his desire to undermine the progressive Working Families Party. Cuomo’s attempt to hijack feminism for his own petty ends is such a craven move it could have been dreamed up by the scriptwriters at ‘VEEP.’ It would be bleakly funny if it didn’t pose an actual danger to an organization that has always fought for New York’s women.” The article went on to say, “It’s one thing to be pandered to, and another to be used.”

But that’s not the only issue people have with Cuomo’s Women’s Equality Party. Some people see the Women’s Equality Party as using women as a political tool. If this is the Women’s Equality Party, why wouldn’t they endorse an actual woman like Zephyr Teachout, who ran in the primaries? She actually called him out on this new party, according to Capitol New York, by saying he was “trying to buy women’s votes by cynically creating a new party to advertise values he hasn’t fought for in office.”

In fact, some people have found this party to be unnecessary and ridiculous. “Thank goodness,” one voter said. “Because us girls just weren’t sure where we should cast our votes.” Former head of ACORN Bertha Lewis, meanwhile, said, “I think it’s bogus, I think it’s outrageous, I think it is cynical, I think it is disrespectful to women, I think that it is disingenuous, because he’s not really building a party.”

Republican candidate Rob Astorino has his own “issue party” on the ballot that he’s standing behind called “Stop Common Core,” which is capitalizing on people who are against the Common Core. “This is an opportunity for people to either make a statement or to truly vote for me – either one,” Astorino said.

Cuomo thought about an education or immigration-related party before starting on the Women’s Equality Party. These new parties are a way to highlight what could be important during this election and are a way for you to vote based on the issues you think matter.

And Cuomo’s been campaigning hard for women’s rights. But is he going about it the wrong way? Though many people find the Women’s Equality Party to be problematic, there’s no denying that Cuomo is the better candidate when it comes to women’s issues. The Women’s Equality Act is a good thing. And the Women’s Equality Party has its share of supporters, too, from Lena Dunham, to Ana Wintour, to leaders of Planned Parenthood and NARAL. But the problems that have been brought up are definitely worth thinking about.

Photo: (Getty)

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Voting Matters: We Can Stop the Wolf Hunt Tue, 28 Oct 2014 13:00:47 +0000 keepwolvesprotected
The midterm elections are next week, and they include a number of important ballot proposals, including ones in Michigan that can save wolves from being hunted and let voters decide how animals are treated.

Here’s a refresher: the Michigan government is dead set on a wolf hunt, despite the fact that (1) wolves just came off the Endangered Species List, (2) wolves haven’t harmed people in Michigan and (3) the stories given by politicians in support of a wolf hunt (like wolves threatening kids) proved to be lies.

Prop 1 in Michigan is about the hunt, and Prop 2 was sneakily added as a way to try to ensure voters don’t ever get a say on which animals are hunted. Instead, politically appointed people (who were not elected and are not scientists) would be deciding on which animals can be hunted. To learn more about what’s going on, I spoke with renowned wolf expert Dr. John Vucetich, Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Michigan Technological University, who has spent his entire career studying wolves and wolf management, and Michael Markarian, Chief Program and Policy Officer with the Humane Society of the United States. Both are against the wolf hunt and are encouraging people to vote “No” on Props 1 and 2.

“It’s already legal in Michigan to kill problem wolves, if any individual wolf is threatening livestock or creating a concern for safety,” Markarian said. “But the random killing of wolves for trophy and for sport [which is what the Michigan government is supporting] is inappropriate. When it comes to wolves, and the wolf hunt, people don’t eat wolves.”

Dr. Vucetich explained the science of why the wolf hunt is a bad idea. “One of the most important principles in wildlife management is that you shouldn’t kill a creature without a good reason. The government of Michigan has offered reasons for why it wants to hunt wolves, and those reasons are wrapped up with protecting safety and protecting livestock. The idea that wolves are a threat to human safety is just fabricated; it’s made up. With respect to livestock concerns, losses of livestock by wolves are rare events. It’s an important concern, and it’s not that it shouldn’t be dealt with. It’s just that hunting is not the sensible way to deal with that problem.”

He continued, “Most livestock losses in Michigan occur in late spring or early summer, and also in late summer and early fall. When there’s a problem, all the science that’s ever been done on the topic indicates you have to have a certain precision and timeliness. You have to be on the farm where the threat occurred within days or perhaps a week. You have to stay focused on the wolf that caused the problem until the problem’s solved. A hunting season in Michigan would occur in November and December, many months after most threats to livestock occur.”

Speaking on Prop 1 and 2, Markarian said, “The first law would allow a hunting season on wolves. Prop 2 grants the authority to the National Resources Commission to designate species as game and to open hunting and trapping seasons on those animals. What Proposal 2 does, is it takes that power away from the voters and puts it in the hands of this new commission, which is making these decisions unilaterally and is not accountable to the public. It takes the voters’ voice out of the equation. This is not just relevant to wolf hunting, but any other protected species that this politically appointed, unelected commission could decide in the future should be hunted or trapped. Voters would not have an opportunity to petition their government.”

He described what this midterm election means for wolves and for other species who could end up on the hunting list, despite science or voters’ opinions. “We believe this is a critically important election in Michigan,” he said. “Voters should not give up their rights to have a say on wildlife policy issues in the future. If voters don’t turn out in Michigan and vote No on Proposals 1 and 2, then they may give up their rights and never have this opportunity again. Even though this is taking place in Michigan, this is really ground zero of a national concern. Wolves were removed from the federal Endangered Species List just a couple years ago. More than 2,200 wolves have been killed, many with painful, steel-jawed leg hold traps. Many of them chased with packs of hounds and the dogs fight the wolves.”

What if you want to take action on this but are not a Michigan resident or not yet old enough to vote? Markarian suggests getting involved with the website Keep Wolves Protected. “You can alert your friends and family in Michigan. Many people, when they vote, they may not even get to the end of the ballot. They vote for governor and U.S. House, but they don’t get to the ballot questions.”

As Dr. Vucetich pointed out, you can also get involved with helping wildlife in your own region. “To young citizens in other states, get involved with whatever’s happening in your local communities that deals with wolves, if you happen to live in a state where there are wolves, or that has to do with environmental issues,” he suggested.

“This is a terrible slaughter of 2,200 animals who just came off the endangered list,” Markarian said about the hunt. “Voters in Michigan have an opportunity to send a message all over the country about how regular people feel about hunting wolves.”

Photo: (Keep Wolves Protected)

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