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Taryn Southern, Yulin Kuang and Clara Chung Join Geena Davis Institute’s #ShesGotDrive Campaign

Also: A GIVEAWAY!

Last night at the YouTube Space in Los Angeles, the Geena David Institute on Gender in Media, in partnership with YouTube and Ford, launched a brand new campaign called #ShesGotDRIVE, bringing together some of YouTube’s most popular and powerful female voices to promote a vision of female empowerment and equality.

The #ShesGotDrive campaign has enlisted the help of YouTube powerhouses Taryn Southern, Yulin Kuang and Clara Chung (A.K.A. “Clara C.“) to make videos that both tell the stories of their own inspirations, path, and drive, as well as emphasize the fact that girls and women need to see more women like themselves in media in order for things to change in the real world. Last night’s panel featured them, as well as Geena Davis herself, alongside Ford’s Director of U.S. Marketing, Chantel Lenard in a moderated discussion with KPCC’s Alex Cohen, host of “Morning Edition.”

The evening began with a screening of each of the creators’ videos.

You might remember Taryn Southern from her Season Three appearance on American Idol, or you may be one of her over 400,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel, where her content ranges from music, to her “Videos For Good” series. If you don’t know her, her #ShesGotDrive video is a great place to start. In it, she talks about relentlessly following her passions, professing that “It’s my defiance that’s kept me going.”

Clara Chung is an incredibly focused singer/songwriter whose fans are drawn to the way she straddles the line between fun pop vocals and imagery and a grittier, darker sound and look. In her video, she says that she started finding success, despite the fact that “no one on TV looked like me” once “I trusted myself, and my voice.” These days, she’s using that voice any way she wants, to gorgeous effect.

Writer/director/filmmaker Yulin Kuang devotes her YouTube channel mostly to fiction content she’s written or directed. Girl after my own heart! Her YouTube channel is packed with short films like I Ship It, inspired by her real-life Harry Potter fannishness, and Irene Lee, Girl Detective, about a tiny sleuth who pursues cases to find adventure and stave off loneliness. She also has several series worth checking out, like Kissing in the Rain and Tiny Feminists.

In her #ShesGotDrive video, she talks about having overcome the fact that all of her early role models for What a Filmmaker Is were male, and that now, she wants to “give girls a chance to be in charge of telling their own stories.”

It was a really cool evening during which both Ms. Davis and Ms. Lenard reaffirmed their organizations’ commitment to strengthening diverse female voices in media. And yes, that includes intersectionality. One of the things I loved most about this launch is that two of the first three videos in the campaign were created by women of color. Of course, there’s always more work to be done.

Several audience members brought up the specific needs of trans, queer, Latina, older, and disabled women, and the women on the panel talked about what they’re already doing (ensuring participation from these groups at all levels, creating content that utilizes stories and talent from these communities, etc) as well as admitting where they’ve fallen short. Clara C. was grateful for the questions that got this specific, and vowed to be more conscious about what she’s putting out there based on the questions audience members raised, because it was a wake-up call that she could always do more.

This is exactly how campaigns like #ShesGotDrive are supposed to work!

Campaigns live or die through participation, so feel free to get in there and join the conversation. Nominate women (yes, you can nominate yourself!) you think have drive via using the hashtag on your social media platforms. Leave comments on and share the videos above, and follow the Geena Davis Institute and these awesome female creators on YouTube.

Better yet, make your own #ShesGotDrive spot and share that with the hashtag. Let this be the beginning of your own creative projects, whatever they are!

Dellany Peace and Teresa

image via Dellany Peace

To keep you inspired, I managed to snag a Large, unisex #ShesGotDrive t-shirt at last night’s event (you can see it in the photo above on my friend, the lovely actress/producer and body positivity activist, Dellany Peace) that I can give away to a lucky TMS reader! Here it is up close:

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All you have to do to enter to win the shirt is be sure you’re following us on Twitter (so we can DM you if you win!) and tweet the following in its entirety with no alterations:

I’m entering @TheMarySue #shesgotdrive t-shirt giveaway. Media needs more female representation & #MarySuesGotDrive! https://www.themarysue.com/geena-davis-institute-shes-got-drive-campaign

This giveaway is limited to people in the US only (but if US residents want to help out overseas friends by entering for them and taking on the shipping, we won’t judge). You have until this Friday, February 10th at NOON EST to enter, and we will alert our winners after that. Good luck!

(featured image via Teresa Jusino)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.