Whoa: This Campaign is a Chilling Representation of the Invisible Truth We Continually Deny

by Andrea Stopa

In honor of International Women’s Day (IWD) coming up this Saturday March 8th, Catapult – a crowd-funding website championing the empowerment of women and girls – created a series of photos as a part of a visual campaign depicting the growing global epidemic of sex slavery, child slavery, and child brides. 

The campaign created mock magazine covers, nearly identical to the well-known pop-culture magazines we see stuffed into our newsstands.  These covers illustrate the reality of some girls across the world–abuse, fear, and oppression–making the real cover stories from magazines like Seventeen and Good Housekeeping even more embarrassing than they already are. The mocks the headlines we do gawk at, by highlighting the stories we tend to ignore. 

From the Mashable article covering the story:

“International Women’s Day is a time of year that girls’ and women’s equality gets a little bit of attention,” Maz Kessler, Catapult’s founder and creative director, tells Mashable. “Our partner organizations hold events and media outlets often feature articles about inspiring women or important causes associated with women. That’s great, but we really want people to get fired up and take action to make a difference in the world.”

The covers bring viewers face-to-face with the oppression of women and girls worldwide, that leads to violent and dangerous material realities in the lives of many. The campaign aims to challenge complacency and inspires activism by presenting  people with the uncomfortable facts about the work that still needs to be done. It’s true that a lot of International Women’s Day becomes a celebration of past and current accomplishments – which is great- but falls short of the true potential of a day meant to bring attention to the status of women worldwide. 



The campaign made sure to include American girls as a part of this problem, which is very important when considering that Western Feminism and Western ideology tends to create an us-and-them dichotomy around issues like sex slavery and rape-culture. The semi-recent coverage of gang-rapes in India is a perfect example of this, where “our” culture was depicted as “not as bad” as “theirs.” Acknowledging that the youth of America also fall victim to sex slavery is a thoughtful inclusion that sheds light upon a truly global patriarchy. 

The faux-magazine covers could potentially be seen as mocking the real issues, but creator of the campaign urges that Catapult is very serious about changing the reality for women and girls worldwide. 

Here are the facts featured on the website:

* This year, 14 million girls – some as young as eight years old – will be married against their will.

* An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked into slavery each year. 80% are girls.

* In New York City, the average age at which a girl first becomes a victim of commercial sexual exploitation is 13.

Be sure to visit their site to contribute to the cause, and do something about this terrible reality.

Thanks to Mashable.

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