I want to take a moment to write about something other than picture books. Last night I took my mom and my two daughters to go see the documentary Miss Representation. It was an amazing piece about the media and how it is dis-empowering women and we as a society are letting it happen. We are letting the government and the media dictate what is acceptable behavior: how we should act, what we should wear, where we should eat, who we should vote for, essentially, the media is becoming the role model for the kind of person we are going to be when we grow up.
The film talked about women in the media and what is the norm and expected:
- scantily clad
- not strong
- not leaders
- lots of make up
- not average
- not smart
- needing to find a man
When Hilary Clinton was running for president there were very few news reports that talked about her content, her issues, her politics, they were all focused on her hair, her clothes, how old she looked, how would it be in the oval office when she was PMSing, and my favorite, how much of a _itch she was. Whether you like her or not, her opponent was never scrutinized for his clothes, hair color or if he was the male counter part to a _itch. No wonder she didn't continue, who would take this woman seriously after listening to the media about what a horrible, ugly, frumpy, _itchy person she was...certainly not us women and for sure not the men in our society, how could the men feel like a "man" if the most powerful person of the free world was a WOMAN and a frumpy looking one at that! And lets face it many women are so caddy...and because we are trained to judge a woman for what she "LOOKS" like and not what she stands for we wont vote for an unattractive woman. How sad!
The film talked about men in the media and what is the norm and the expected behavior:
- drooling over women
- conquering their sexual fantasies
It is perfectly acceptable for a man, and now young boys, to treat women as things to be used and tossed aside when they are done, isn't that what our media shows us? Men are always the heroes, the president, the leaders and the ones allowed to bash strong women on their news programs. This is acceptable behavior...and we listen to it! Worse still are many of the violent video games that our youth play...they actually let women be raped and beaten in these games! So if it is okay for it to happen on the TV, then why can't it be done at school? The truth of the matter is, it is being done at school, the statistics for girls under the age of 12 being raped or sexually assaulted is raising. How scary!
In the early 80's there used to be the "family hour" on TV where any questionable shows could not come on till 9pm. That is not regulated anymore, and since that regulation has stopped and the ratings have gotten more lax and the content more extreme the statistics on teenage cutting, eating disorders, violence, rape on girls under the age of 12, depression and suicide has increased! But the government won't regulate this, why? Because the media is in the pockets of the government. How wrong!
After seeing this movie, I walked away feeling sad, a little ashamed, extremely angry and completely woken up to the realities of today's society and the profound influence the media has on us and our children.
I also started thinking about our schools and how as educators we try and try to teach good character, instill strong values and respect, because let's face it, some of our kids are really lacking this at home. I also thought of Barbara over at The Corner on Character and all the work she does on teaching character to all the students at her school and the many wonderful posts she shares. After all of this, I am now questioning, am I doing enough?
If you haven't seen this film you really should. If you go to their site you can search for a screening near you! Here is the trailer to entice you to find a screening.
I will leave you with one of my favorite lines from the film "you know more than you think you know".