PBS Preview Night: Half the Sky

October 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Mexico PBS hosted a public screening of the upcoming documentary, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity Worldwide, at the Kimo Theatre. The event consisted of a 40-minute segment of the upcoming 4-hour series that airs Oct 1 & 2 on PBS. The documentary, inspired by Sheryl WuDunn’s best-selling book, tells the stories of women around the globe who are fighting back against economic, physical, and sexual oppression. Different celebrities, such as Olivia Wilde, go to different countries to interview those women who are making changes in their world.

In front of Kimo for Half the Sky preview. Dia tried to get me to Vogue. I hadn’t seen the Umoja women’s song yet.

Here’s my favorite story from the preview: an all-women’s village in Kenya called Umoja. This village was formed by women who decided to retreat from the world of men because they were tired of being beaten and mutilated. The village leader, Rebecca Lolosoli, put it very simply and eloquently: “We want to choose our husbands. We want to own the land. We want to go to school. We don’t want to be cut anymore.”

The Umoja women have a song and dance they do, one that Olivia Wilde was initially embarrassed to do. She soon got into it. The Umoja women call it the “vagina song,” a celebration of women’s sexuality. Coming from women who have been raped and circumcised, this is pretty profound and powerful stuff.

Walking to Kimo. I’ll do a little dance next time.

These women have chosen to live without men and without disturbance. These women are raising the boys who are born in the village to value women and treat them as equals. When Olivia Wilde asked one fourteen-year-old boy how he felt about living in a village surrounded by all these women, he smiled as he drawled, “It’s real nice.” Adorable! Future generations of women will get to one day fall in love with and marry men like him, men who cherish and enjoy women for all that they are.

I realize how fortunate I am to already have the freedom these women seek. Okay, I’m still waiting for the right man to come along, and I admit that there are some days when the waiting bit really sucks. But I get to wait. I get to choose. That is gold.

Does this lipstick make me look sexy?

There’s something else I learned from the Umoja women. How important it is to celebrate and rejoice in our sexuality, regardless of our circumstances.  I’m going to learn a new song and dance. And get out that red dress.

Well, it makes me feel sexy!

Wait a minute. I don’t even own a red dress.

Half the Sky airs on PBS Oct. 1 & 2. Will you be watching? How do you celebrate what God gave you?

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