Tuesday, July 10, 2012

This is why girls should watch MissRepresentation

Even though there's a lot of good information in them, articles about sexual objectification get me so infuriated with the mere mention of the double standards and sexism girls are spoon-fed from early on in their lives.  Ms. magazine provides enlightenment on the subjects while generating steam from my ears at the same time.  Children are indoctrinated to accept societal gender roles from birth, and kids are exposed to sex waaay earlier than they should be.


The body shaming of women starts at such a young age.  It breaks my heart to think of the messages little girls hear and see on a daily basis.  We grew up in the '70s and '80s when our main exposure to negative stereotypes came mainly through sit-coms, like Chrissy on Three's Company.  Who knew Mrs. Roper's caftans would be around now and known as "maxi dresses?"  Go figure.  But it was mainly through television.  

There was no electronic saturation before Al Gore gave birth to the wonderful world wide web.  We were lucky, because fashion magazines weren't as popular then either.  We might have read Seventeen and bought black beauties or white crosses out of the back of Cosmo, but that was about it.  Or maybe I lived in an insular world where we spent our time socializing in the neighborhood and later driving around town to see our friends.  

I get very worked up when I think of the level of sexism from which young women suffer now.  Perhaps it wasn't as pronounced "back in the day," or maybe I was just more oblivious to it.  There was never a time when I didn't speak up for myself in the face of misogyny, but my recognition of the over-arching patriarchy came with my onset in the adult work world.  It took a former male boss to wake me up to the fact that there were glass ceilings only potentially broken through by completing my education.  It was going to be a tough enough go as it was, and I had no competitive edge without a degree.  I mentally thank him for that information, although I would only grudgingly say so if I ever saw him again.  

Innocence out the window, skip forward to the present day.  It bothers me when I hear young women speak of finding a rich man to marry instead of delving out on their own in life.  It's disheartening to watch girls use their body, dress, and overall looks to exude a sexy persona to attract males.  How about portraying her as an idiotic sex kitten to further prove the point, and then throw in a good ol' fashioned cat fight to seal the deal.  Case in point: the tag lines from the 2010 show Pretty Little Liars, "Never trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret" and "Don't get ugly. Get Even." 

Sure, everyone wants to feel attractive, but these girls' worth is not only dependent on their sexual "value," as evident is so much advertising.  I'd dare say these same girls were exposed to sexual content when very young (too young, imo) and unaware of being considered an object of desire and only secondarily as a person.  They probably don't realize they are automatically placed a second-class citizen behind males through this objectification (which is exactly where the patriarchy wants them).  Even worse, some don't mind even if they grow to realize it.  

To any young woman who may need read this post, watch MissRepresentation and take the pledge at missrepresentation.org.  

photo credits:  imdb.com

1 comment:

  1. Hey Katy,
    I'm with you. I think it's so important for young women (and men!) to watch this film. Awareness can go such a long way in helping to resist these images. I remember my reaction to Killing us Softly when I saw it in college. I was so amazed to see how advertisements communicated such sexist msgs without my even realizing it!