The Activist Issue:
Keeping the Flame Alive
Take inspiration from the lives and work of six women whose passion for justice and commitment to their communities make the world a better place for all.
- Kitchen Table Candidate: Winona LaDuke
-Speak Truth to Power: Kek Galabru, Wangari Maathai, Senal Sarihan, Maria Teresa Tula
- Street Fighting Woman: Cheri Honkala
- Mementos of a Movement: Memorabilia of the suffragist movement

-Word: Bush

Honey, Disney Shrunk the Kids
What's in your child's VCR these days? We asked progressive parents and their kids what they watch. The answers might surprise you.
Dorothy Roberts talks about reproductive rights in black and white.
Women and Venture Capital: Women vie for a place in the world of high-tech venture capital.

Work Notes: Grrl power to Scotland ASAP and more
Editor's Page: Making Mischief

Ms News

TECHNO.FEM: Digital Divide

-Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Now?, by Angela Dillard
- Toy Guns, by Lisa Norris
- Boy Still Missing, by John Searles
- Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
- Women and Popular Music, by Sheila Whiteley

-First Person: Give Me Shelter
-Columns: Daisy Hernandez, Patricia Smith and Gloria Steinem
Call for Woman of the Year
Tell us who you think should be recognized in this special issue.

<< back | kid video home | next interview >>

Cofounder, The Third Wave; author of Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self (Riverhead, 2000)

Our 11-year-old has a strong opinion about what he wants to watch, so it isnt a matter of choosing for him anymore. It s more about saying no or yes to his choices. Recently we talked him into watching My Bodyguard [about a boy who is bullied in school] because he was having trouble with kids in school. A few nights ago we watched Kundun, about the Dalai Lama and the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet, because wed been talking about nonviolence and karma. Last month we watched 9 to 5 and he loved it. And he was developing a strong pro-labor position at the same time! We say no to anything that has gratuitous violence in it. I'm also a real stickler about movies I consider to be antinaturemostly films set in the water or the woods that involve scary happenings. I think kids learn fear of the earth through such films and once that fear is there, they are far less likely to develop the bond necessary to protect and love the planet. We are, however, not so tough on sex and complex relationships. Obviously I'm not putting our 11-year-old in front of graphic sex scenes, but I dont want to be weird or coy about sexuality. One of my big concerns is that films only show young heterosexual intimacy, so I m always looking for films that are fluid and progressive about sexuality without being heavy. We recently rented Harold and Maude, which he loved!

Managing Editor of Ms.

I would prefer that my daughter not like some things that she really enjoys, but thats an adult sensibility trying to impose itself on a three-year-old. While I do think Barney is instructional, it s not very creative. The kids have these pat, automated responses to everything. Thats reassuring to children, to always know what's coming next. I would say the same about Teletubbies, which is why I don't buy their videos. They have a dumbing-down effect. The creatures speak in baby talk. When Kasey was two she didn't talk like that, so I hate having her listen to it. I'm glad she s interested in shows such as Blues Clues, Dragon Tales, and Dora the Explorer. Dora is my favorite. She's a Latina who, along with her friend Boots the Monkey, explores a different place every day. They teach kids how to count, memorize, and solve problems. Dora teaches all her lessons in English and Spanish. As the parent of an African American girl, I think it's important for her to see people of color in shows catering to children her age. Blues Clues is also huge in our house. It's hosted by a young man and his dog, Blue. Kasey really likes the fact that Blue is a female dog!

Author of nine children's books, including Night Garden: Poems from the World of Dreams (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2000)

I usually choose science and nature videos. Halfway through the dinosaur encyclopedia, I might suggest that we watch Walking with Dinosaurs. Its a way to vary our learning. Andrew, who is eight, likes Wallace and Gromit, which is claymation and very funny. One of his favorites is the art video Chihuly over Venice, about Dale Chihuly, the glass artist. He loves the way it shows the making of art as a concrete and complete process, from the blowing of breath into a fiery mass to shipping details. I also like Beethoven Lives Upstairs, the story of Beethoven in his last years deaf, angry, and somewhat crazy. The video shows a young boy as he comes to understand how frustrating deafness must be. But it also shows Beethoven acting like a belligerent, overgrown baby. After watching it, Andrew and I had a good talk and we agreed that even being a genius does not excuse inconsiderate behavior. Last year, I gave in on the Pokemon videos, which mainly depict the violence of fantasy: dragons breathing fire, creatures kicking others flat on their backs, tails that whip. But it is the kind of thing that makes a kid want to kick and wrestle and knock someone down. Lucky for me, he got bored within two months. Or maybe all those years of wrinkling my nose at the crummy stuff and sitting with him during the good videos have paid off.