Monday, May 7, 2012

Twitter party - media representation of women

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, CEO and Founder of, has been quite an inspiration to me lately.  It seems I'd never post if it weren't for MissRep.  At the very least, her writing has inspired several of my blog posts here.  Her latest call to action includes:
Coupled with the recent news that the Kardashian family's reality TV show has been renewed for another three years, I am especially worried about the message the media is sending my daughter, my son and their generation. Who are their role models? Why are we rewarding reality TV's exploitation of women's bodies? Are looks, for women, more important than their brains or their talents? Is hyper-sexualization and self-objectification now a legitimate path to success in America?
These aren't rhetorical questions, but part of a real conversation we want to have with you - because each of us plays a role in healing our culture. Next Tuesday, at 4 PM PST, we're calling a Twitter party with hashtag #WhyKardashians to get to the root of America's increasing fascination with superficiality and the objectification of women in popular media. 

I keep going back to #TheConversation.  The conversation springs from the unrealistic images of perfection purported throughout the media.  We should, instead, consider what we can do to better value ourselves.  Our culture has been permeated with a distorted way of showing women and girls. I'm glad there are people fighting for an "international action-oriented conversation" around these issues.  I had begun to type our "American" culture, but the misrepresentation of perfect expectation is an international phenomenon and not specific to the U.S.  The status quo is not limited to American movies, television, books and advertising throughout all those venues.
My young life was spent with a slump-shouldered gait and an androgynous mousy brown pixie haircut that got me mistaken for a long-haired boy in our class.  Mother was always telling me to stand up straight, and I kept my posture the way it was just to spite her.  Our "measure of perfection" at the time was Charlie's Angels, a latter-day fictional Kardashians. 
If boys were going to kiss you during the moonlight skate, you had to look as angelic as possible to gain their interest.  Needless to say, I wanted to instead fade into the background.  Even if my mom wasn't telling me to stand up straight to necessarily boost my self-confidence, much less get me my first adolescent kiss at the roller rink, I wish I had heeded her coaxing anyway.  Not to gain the boys' attention, but simply to help me project a better self-image than I had back then.

Women now witness an even more overt push toward perfection by the current size two to four females in the media.  Charlie's newer angels were even updated a few years back to a politically correct modern-day troupe and later another (failed) television show.  

Young women apparently have to embody that kind of flawless figure and magazine cover made-up face to be attractive enough to draw positive male attention.  Realizing it is currently the look-at-me generation, girls are trying more than ever to get anyone and everyone to look at them.  Are they hoping to mirror the K sisters or some other cookie-cutter pattern?

I hope they choose to stand up straight for themselves and not for the gaze of others.

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