“It’s all about the body and not about the brain” said one of the young girls featured in MissRepresentation, a documentary on women in media. Sad, right? A young woman should not be insecure about her body and feel less powerful if she does not have the “right” body. What is the right body anyway? Who made up these standards?
The media did. The media shapes our perception of what the ideal body looks like. We see it, we buy it and we become it. From cereal boxes, to magazine covers, to reality TV, we are bombarded with images of the “ideal” female body daily. It is one thing to be healthy, but another to expect real human beings to become sexual objects in order to gain respect and status in society. The latest Victoria’s Secret news reveals the runway “angel” model diet which contains of egg powder, no solids and gallons of water (see article below). This is infuriating. Is this really what beauty is about? What kind of expectations are we setting up for young girls? Why are we accepting media like this to be circulated?
The documentary sparked many truths that we often ignore in society as we have conformed to the media and its messages to the point where we do not realize that our consciousness is being produced and manipulated by the media. MissRepresentation did a thorough job of contrasting women and men in media by providing examples of how women are limited to positions of power in society. It shows media outlets degrading powerful women like Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for speaking her mind and as a result is portrayed as a b****. It demonstrates how a woman is valued in media; through her beauty and sexuality and not in her capacity as a leader. This ultimately makes it challenging for women to have equal chances of using her mind and not her beauty to achieve equal status.
Besides having an amazing lineup of celebrity women in this documentary, the startling facts that were uncovered were truly eye opening. MissRepresentation requires us to educate our world about the damaging effects of certain media and how degrading the messages can be to women. Instead of being products of the media, we need to take action and change the way women are misrepresented.
“The media can be an instrument of change.”
How can we stop the media from treating us like second-class citizens? How do we help women attain leadership roles? How do we change the way media portrays women?
Perhaps this is a two way street. Perhaps women need to change as much as the media. If we cannot be an example for how we want to be treated, how can we expect others to believe it? Think about it.
Comments and ideas are appreciated and welcomed.
For more information on this documentary, go to www.missrepresentation.org and sign their pledge.
The Huffington Post Victoria Secret diet can be viewed here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/victorias-secret-angel-diet_n_1079315.html
Sign up for my newsletter on my home page.
Follow me on Twitter: @sonja_be