Inforum Launches Speaker's Series to Inspire Innovation, Creativity, Risk Taking in Lives of Women

New 'IN4M' events will feature game changers and rule breakers who strive to make a difference

Kick-off event on Oct. 20 to feature educator and author Susan J. Douglas

Aug 30, 2010, 08:00 ET from Inforum

DETROIT, Aug. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Inforum, Michigan's leading business forum for women, announced today it will launch a new speaker's series highlighting women with lessons for anyone who feels stuck in a rut or stifled by conventional thinking.

The series, called IN4M: After Hours, Ahead of the Curve, will kick off Wednesday, Oct. 20, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center. The featured speaker will be Susan J. Douglas, a University of Michigan communications professor and author of "Enlightened Sexism: The Seductive Message That Feminism's Work is Done" (Times Books).

The IN4M (pronounced "inform") series will highlight women who test the limits in work, recreation, and lifestyle. Speakers will be women who question authority, break rules, and strive to make a difference.

"The purpose of this series is to shake people up a little bit – in a good way," said Terry Barclay, CEO of Inforum and Inforum Center for Leadership. "We'll be presenting speakers who can share groundbreaking ideas and perspectives and inspire audience members to 'take a leap' they otherwise might not risk.  These events are designed to create thought-provoking dialogue between the speaker and the audience and speakers will provide attendees with actionable items to take home with them. We're delighted to be starting this series with Susan J. Douglas, a prize-winning author, columnist, and cultural critic with a lot of intellectual firepower and leading-edge ideas."

At the Oct. 20 event, Douglas will discuss why she thinks feminism – a movement that has been maligned and accused of being out of step with the times – is as necessary as ever.  She will discuss how the media, by exaggerating women's achievements and suggesting that full equality has been achieved, repeatedly imply that feminism is no longer needed.  

"Enlightened sexism is a new, subtle, sneaky form of sexism that seems to accept – even celebrate – female achievements on the surface, but is really about repudiating feminism and keeping women, especially young women, in their place," Douglas said. "It is a response, deliberate or not, to the perceived threat of a new gender regime. Enlightened sexism insists that because women have allegedly achieved full equality with men, and the battle is over and won, it's now OK, even funny, to resurrect retrograde, sexist images of women, especially young women. I want to talk back to these images, and expose why they're false, and dangerous."

Event Details

Date: Oct. 20

Time: 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Location: Birmingham-Bloomfield Art Center, 1516 S. Cranbrook, Birmingham, Mich.

Cost: $29 for Inforum members; $39 for nonmembers

Special Offer: Buy one ticket for an IN4M event at the regular price and get $5 off admission to any of the other IN4M events in 2010 and 2011.

About Susan J. Douglas

Susan J. Douglas has been with the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan since 1996. She is the Department Chair, Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor and the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Communication Studies. Her two broad areas of interest are the history of broadcasting, especially radio, and the representation of gender in the media. Professor Douglas has written many books including "The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How it has Undermined Women" (with Meredith Michaels); "Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media;" "Inventing American Broadcasting;" and "Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination," which won the 2000 Sally Hacker Popular Book Prize from the Society for the History of Technology. Her column "Back Talk" appears every month in "In These Times."  

About Inforum

Inforum is Michigan's leading business forum for women, with more than 1,800 members from a cross-section of Michigan's business community.  The mission of the organization is to strengthen the business environment by creating opportunities for women to lead and succeed.  Founded as the Women's Economic Club in 1962 in Detroit, Inforum has affiliates in Grand Rapids and Lansing, Michigan.  For more information, visit or call 877.633.3500.

Note to Editors and Reporters:

Additional events IN4M series will include:

  • Jan. 19, 2011: Toni Griffin, adjunct associate professor of urban planning at Harvard University's Department of Urban Planning and Design. Griffin made news locally this year when she agreed to come to Detroit to lead the city's effort to re-think its physical footprint. Location: Detroit Institute of Arts.
  • April 28, 2011: Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press columnist and author of "Raising A Parent: Lessons My Daughter Taught Me While We Grew Up Together" (Church Street Media and the Detroit Free Press). Riley will discuss the challenges of parenting in the 21st century and the experiences all parents live through, love through and sometimes just survive. Location: Max M Fisher Music Center, Detroit.

Pre-event media interviews with the speakers may be requested by contacting James Melton, communications manager, Inforum at: (w) 313.578.3244 or (c) 313.580.8423 or email As a rule, one representative per media outlet is welcome to attend each event.

SOURCE Inforum