This year’s Weltweitwissen Congress, entitled “Changing Perspectives – Nationwide Congress on Global Learning and Education for Sustainable Development,” took place January 16-18 at the Haus der Wirtschaft Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart. To the dismay of many attendees, the photo exhibition for this year’s STIHL erotic calendar (attention trigger warning) was prominently displayed in the foyer. This year’s calendar (circulation 900,000) of the Swabian chainsaw manufacturer, which has been around for 40 years(!) with similar discriminatory images, is described as follows:
“Inspired by fascinating night shots of wild animals, the interplay between femininity and technology is staged as a nocturnal encounter in “Unique Encounters.” Caught by the light of the camera, women move like shy animals in the impressive nature of South Africa.”
In a spontaneous workshop, the exhibition was examined for aspects of sexism, racism and sustainability/greenwashing, and creative forms of protest and action were developed on site in the spirit of the “Recognize-Value-Act” principle of Global Learning. This resulted in, among other things, the following appeal, which was adopted by acclamation by the participants of the congress and sent to the Stihl company and to the management of the Haus der Wirtschaft by public letter:
“Participants of the congress WeltWeitWissen have noted with astonishment and horror the presentation of the photo calendar 2014 of the company STIHL (circulation 900,000) in the foyer of the Haus der Wirtschaft Baden-Württemberg. “Depicting women as shy animals in the impressive nature of South Africa” – according to the exhibition text – is not only contemptuous of women and discriminatory, but also counteracts the goals of Global Learning, as well as the declared educational goals of the state government of Baden-Württemberg. At the same time, we feel encouraged and confirmed that Global Learning must be anchored much more deeply in society and invite those responsible at the Stihl company as well as at the Haus der Wirtschaft to a training session on analyzing and avoiding stereotypical and inhumane depictions in text and images. glokal e.V. will gladly accept inquiries on behalf of the participants of the congress and refer them to organizations with comprehensive expertise on these topics.”
Taking up the criticism, an alternative calendar was created with the clear request to STIHL to stop producing sexist and racist advertising in calendar form.
Anyone who wants to reinforce this call or, in addition, express their protest, can contact Stihl directly (firstname.lastname@example.org). Remember to point out that the correspondence is public. We are happy to publish other letters and protests at this point.