I just finished watching Miss Representation – a documentary which focuses on the way media impacts the futures of an entire society of girls. From cradle to grave, young girls are bombarded with images, standards and expectations which are hyper-sexual, derogatory and unachievable. Girls are taught from the time they can walk that how a woman looks is the basis of her value.
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Some outrageous facts from the film:
Female cartoon characters often dress comparable to women in an R rated movie. Tinkerbell and Ariel, for examples, are half naked.
Girls 11-14 are exposed to about 500 advertisements a day.
By the time a girl is a tween, $7000 will already be spent on beauty products.
53% of 13 year old girls are dissatisfied with their bodies. By age 17, that number jumps to 78%.
About 2/3 of all women and girls have an eating disorder.
I will be writing more about this as I think I want to make it the subject of my next editorial. But I wanted to pop on and talk a bit about it because of something my step daughter said to me today.
Just as I finished watching the film, she returned home and asked if I had a blonde wig. I said no but wondered why she asked. She informed me that she is going to be Barbie for Halloween. I am sure you can imagine my instant disgust. I said to her, “Oh, I really wish you wouldn’t. I really regret letting you guys play with those in the first place.” And I went on to vaguely tell her about the movie I had just watched. She was most uninterested.
Now, if this were Cassidy – my answer would simply be, no. I would gladly participate in actively seeking an alternate costume (as I would for Kenzie as well) but I would not allow her to be Barbie, a Bratz Doll or anything else I felt was inappropriate or damaging to her perspective. But I cannot do this with Kenzie. The harder I fight, the more resistance I will get from her and her mom and dad. Fact is, Charlie doesn’t even think about these things and would likely think I am over reacting. Of course, he has no clue what it is to be a girl or a woman and especially, a mother.
This movie really opened my eyes to issues I already knew existed – but I never really thought about how it all works together to keep women down. It is a definite must see for everyone – especially parents. And even more especially – those parents who allow their young girls to wear clothing with “Juicy” on the butt, heels, thick ass eyeliner (saw a 10 year old with darker make up than I have ever worn on the bus the other day), belly shirts and thong underwear. Those parents have always made my skin crawl, but now…even more so.