The “bigger” picture.
One of the biggest things that I am increasingly aware of and believe needs to change is the myth that there is equality between men and women. What? No, there sure isn’t. Being female and having female experiences has shown me a world of ways in which we are unequal. For instance, men on average make more money than women who are in the same position as them (CEO for example). Even though women have joined the workforce, women are still responsible for the majority of house cleaning and child raising. That doesn’t sound fair to me.
We also live in a society that is based on looks. Yes, to some extent it focuses on the looks of men, but not nearly in the way it does so to women. Politicians, News Anchors, Actors, who are men are seen for their intellectual merit, their personality, and their ability to play complex roles. Women in those same positions are poked fun at if they look too old, don’t show enough cleavage, etc.. so when do women’s minds matter?
Women are constantly sexualized in media. This is one of the major issues. If women are shown images of thin celebs with no flaws, and told these are the most beautiful, powerful women in the world, how can we possibly live up to that? And if you can’t even come close, why try? So many young women do not have the ambition to go into politics, to push to be CEOs and put themselves in positions of power, because we live in “a man’s world” and learn that we can only offer our bodies as sexual objects for men to gawk at. Is it any wonder girls starve themselves?
It isn’t helping our sons either. In the same way our daughters will learn they have no self-worth outside of beauty, our sons are learning that, too. Our sons see women in media as they are shown as ditzy hot chicks, and that is what the cool powerful guys on the t.v. want, so if they want to be cool, powerful men that is what they should want in a women. A trophy wife.
You have options, however. You don’t have to give in to this whole media stereotype. You can choose not to watch television that degrades women. (Okay, so you can watch NO television). You can stop buying tabloid magazines that mock women of power based on a pimple, or some laugh lines. You can stop letting your kids watch media that degrades women. This seems impossible, and maybe it is for some of you. But another option is that when your kids watch that kind of crap, point it out. Why can’t a woman be a super hero without the six inch heels and cleavage bearing uniform? Ask questions about why women aren’t the protagonists more often. Point out to your kids how real people can’t look like that.
And for the love of God we all need to stop going around talking about how fat, wrinkly, old, ugly, saggy, we look. If you consider that your sons and daughters see and hear all of that and if mommy thinks she is fat and fat is bad then all fat women must be undesirable…. it isn’t the best message to put out there. (I am guilty of this as well, but I am vowing to make a much bigger effort to stop. What am I trying to look like? Angelina? It will never happen, and I certainly don’t want my sons to think that any woman could meet that standard)
The truth is, real celebs don’t look like this:
Real celebs look like this:
And real women look like this:
And when you consider what you can do with photoshop:
It is not hard to see that what we are aiming for isn’t even attainable for the women to idolize. We need to get more intellectual women out there as role models, and stop photoshopping. This model was beautiful before the photoshop, that extra bit of skin and all. And confident.
Everyone I know should watch the 90 minute documentary “Miss Representation”. (You can stream it at http://vimeo.com/37703485) It is about everything I am talking about and they word it in such a way you really think. They put so much into perspective, so for the sake of our sons, daughters, and ourselves, I encourage you to watch this film, and really think about how you give in to this stereotype and how we can create a better world for our kids. It is something we all have to strive for.