A panel of noted authors and advocates will discuss “Female Sexuality, Media Politics, and The War on Women” in a public forum following a screening of “The Purity Myth” at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 21, in Suffolk University’s C. Walsh Theater.

The public event caps off a three-day Console-ing Passions conference focused on issues in feminist media studies and hosted by Suffolk University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The 'War on Women'

“My colleagues and I put together the "Female Sexuality, Media Politics and the War on Women" public session because we – as well as many women around the country – have watched and listened with dismay to the recent public debates and legislative attempts to roll back fundamental gains in women's reproductive rights and access to health care” said Professor Nina Huntemann of Suffolk University’s Communication and Journalism Department.

These setbacks include:

•The Komen Foundation decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood
•Virginia’s proposed law to require transvaginal ultrasounds for women considering an abortion
•Rush Limbaugh’s reaction to Sandra Fluke’s testimony on the Affordable Care Act
•The silencing of Michigan State Rep. Lisa Brown for using the "V-word" while debating an anti-abortion bill
“We have witnessed this year an attack on issues of central concern to women, and yet women’s voices are being left out of media coverage of these issues,” said Huntemann, who is the author of articles including “Irreconcilable Differences: Gender and Labor in the Video Game Workplace” and editor of the forthcoming book Gaming Globally: Production, Play and Place. Huntemann is chair of the Console-ing Passions conference organizing committee, which also includes colleagues from Emerson College, Boston University and Simmons College.

Taking as its focus the centralization of women’s bodies in these national debates, and the gender gap in media coverage, the public “Female Sexuality, Media Politics, and The War on Women” event gathers together experts on media politics, women’s sexuality, health care and reproductive justice to discuss how both traditional broadcast outlets and social media have framed – and changed – this conversation.

'The Purity Myth'

The evening begins with a screening of the film “The Purity Myth,” written and introduced by Jessica Valenti. Valenti was named one of the top 100 Inspiring Women in the World by The Guardian and is the author of several books about "third wave feminism" and the young women's rights movement. She is regular contributor to The Nation and a sought-after speaker.

Following the film, Valenti will be joined on stage by Michelle Goldberg, senior writer for Newsweek and The Daily Beast; Deanna Zandt, a social media activist and technology consultant; La'Tasha Mayes, founder of New Voices Pittsburgh: Women of Color for Reproductive Justice; and media historian Allison Perlman. The conversation will be moderated by Boston-based activist Jean Kilbourne, an internationally recognized media educator known for her pioneering work on the image of women in advertising.

20th anniversary conference

The Console-ing Passions conference had its origins in feminist media scholars’ and artists’ wish to address issues of television, culture and identity, with an emphasis on gender and sexuality. As it celebrates its 20th anniversary, the conference presents a program that has expanded to include digital and new media, aural media and gaming.

Tickets for the July 21 public film screening and discussion may be purchased online.