End Gendered Slurs – Julia Gottlieb

My project began as a big idea to raise awareness of the problem with the casual use of gendered slurs. I wanted to explore how the use of these words contributes to larger problems such as violence against women. I wanted to do this through posters around campus, a blog where people submitted their stories, and multiple filmed interviews. Very quickly, my project’s goals narrowed greatly. Eventually my projected focused on a raising awareness with a small blog and short video with only a couple of interviews. I learned a lot of things about the logistics of activism and interviews and the film-making process while doing this project…


  1.  DO NOT SAY ANYTHING WHILE THE INTERVIEWEE IS SPEAKING. I edited at least ten “Yeahs” and “Mhms” out from my interview recordings.
  2. When interviewing someone, ask questions that will advance the conversation further, ask questions that help present the themes of your campaign to your interviewee, and engage in a casual conversation with your interviewee to capture any candid and serendipitous moments of inspiration.
  3. Get a tripod or something to put your camera on when you’re filming. My camerawork did not turn out pretty.
  4. Talking to friends and talking to friends of friends is something that worked well.
  5. Being shy and hesitant to ask strangers to be interviewed is something that does NOT work. Fellow introverts, listen up: It is really, really hard to talk to strangers, I know. Try to take baby steps and conquer your fear with one new stranger at a time.
  6. The more energetic people you have in your coalition, the better. It is so easy to lose interest and motivation when you are working alone. Find people who care about the cause as much as you do.
  7. Never stop posting or trying to spread the word about your project. Make a blog post part of your daily routine to try to accumulate a larger following. Take the advice from “Grassroots” and instead of trying to fit your project into the margins of your life make your project a part of your daily routine. You will get more out of it and gain more followers.

If I could do this project again, I would all-of-the-above better than this time around. Next time I would not let fear of talking to new people stop me from improving my project, and I would make sure to find people as passionate about this topic as I am.

Overall, I created three social media sites for my project, gained fifteen followers on the project’s Tumblr page, received one real story, one anonymous hate message, interviewed two people, wrote an article about one interview, and created a six-minute video showing comedians use gendered slurs and showing an interview I filmed. Editing a video can be difficult; I had to download each clip of each comedian and find the exact time they said the word and cut that part out. I had to cut every moment I talked in the interview I filmed, and I added title slides displaying the interview questions I posed. Lastly, I added music to accompany the film to make it more interesting.

This is important because I got the two people I interviewed to both reflect on their own opinions about gendered slurs and the prevalence of the negative effects of gendered slurs, and in addition, they both gave me entirely new insights about gendered slurs that I never would have gained otherwise. Also, as a result of this project, I now have a much clearer awareness of where and why gendered slurs are used, and every time I hear or see a slur, I engage in the tiniest micro-activism in my head and query why these words are used so casually.


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