Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Choices


I hope you all will indulge me this once.  As I've mentioned before I'm not a particularly political person, but I do think that our world is sometimes careening dangerously off course.  The messages we send to young women about what their value in life is, sometimes scare me!  Images of young girls dressing in ways I wouldn't have dreamed of dressing even in my 20's and the push for sexuality at such a young age seems to be growing, even in the face of more opportunities for women.

I recently read a post by the very talented and creative Jen over at The Cottage Nest, where she spoke of her choice to be a homemaker and how often she felt as though she had to justify that choice to others.  I thought it was such a wonderful post, because she explained that being a stay at home mom WAS her career of choice.  You can read her post by clicking HERE.

My daughter recently sent me the link to a film she is hoping to have shown at her work in the near future.  The film, Miss Representation isn't widely available, and I believe it can only be ordered for things like schools, businesses, etc.

Here is a synopsis of the film from the Miss Representation.org website:

About the Film

Writer/Director Jennifer Siebel Newsom brings together some of America’s most influential women in politics, news, and entertainment to give us an inside look at the media’s message. Miss Representation explores women’s under-representation in positions of power by challenging the limited and often disparaging portrayal of women in the media. As one of the most persuasive and pervasive forces in our culture, media is educating yet another generation that women’s primary value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality—not in their capacity as leaders. Through the riveting perspectives of youth and the critical analysis of top scholars, Miss Representation will change the way you see media.

I have linked the trailer below, and although it has some mildly uncomfortable images and a tiny bit of language that some of you may find offensive, it is well worth seeing.  It's time we valued women for much more than what's on the outside.  I will refrain from linking any blogs at the end of this post just in case someone might find the video offensive and not want their blog name associated with it.  If you have young daughters, or daughters of any age, I implore you to watch this trailer.  And tomorrow, I will be back to flowers and pretty things, but this really hit home with me, so thank you for your indulgence!




27 comments:

  1. Well, we've come a long way, baybee. But not nearly far enough yet. Excellent trailer.

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  2. Love you, Mom. Thanks for being a wonderful role model.
    Love,
    Your favourite daughter

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  3. I watched the video and read Jen's post. I agree with these sides and so much more.

    I've been watching BBC period productions lately and it's amazing to me how women were treated. Yes, you could say that they were treated as lessers of men. While that was true in some ways, in other ways they were revered, respected and honored because they were a woman...because of their unique gifts. It's too bad that in our quest to vote and become equals of men, that we also removed the reverence that is due each sex for their special qualities. I think lack of respect on both sides has gotten us here. Ironic that while women wanted to be equal to men, but it seems they still desired to be revered and honored...so in order to achieve that, we became sex objects :( Exactly the opposite of what the actual goal was.

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  4. I also read Jen's post and it really resonated with me. I quit full time teaching so that I could spend more time with my kids and I am so glad I did. The only thing I miss about my job, however, is teaching adolescents about the role of the Media and the early sexualization of our young girls in popular culture. I will definitely watch this and send the link to this post to my English teacher friends.

    Good Job Stephanie and Mom!

    Best wishes,
    Natasha.

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  5. This is a bit of a tinder keg for me. I modeled some in high school, but didn't really ever say anything about it because I wanted people to respect my intellect. Somehow the two were mutually exclusive. I had been in honors classes throughout my school career, even scoring a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SATs, but was voted "Best keister." "Most likely to succeed" went to a homelier girl. I was miffed(although in retrospect, I'm not exactly changing the world as a SAHM.)

    I've always preferred being considered smart vs. pretty. Hopefully with smart films being made like this one, the option to be both, neither, or anything in between without ridicule will exist.

    Thanks for sharing this film.

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  6. Kat,
    Thank you so much for linking my blog post in yours. This is all so very important and it breaks my heart the way girls are growing up too soon. I keep hoping that there will be a backlash in our society and good morals will take over the world again.

    Jen

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  7. Kat, what a powerful message. Yes. we live in a world where sex is dominant. I cannot stand to see little girls dressed up with revealing clothes and makeup on at such a young age and everyone just thinks it is the norm because that is what we have been taught through the media.

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  8. Kat this is a powerful message and one that I think everyone, including men need to see. We need to teach that everyone is important and that woman can play a role in this world that is more than a pin-up poster. I try to teach my daughter to take care of herself, respect herself and what she sees in the ads are not true to real life but a place of fiction and fantasy. I tell her to have an open mind but also to see the world as endless possibilities that she can do things with her heart and her mind not by the way she looks.

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  9. I hate to see little girls in restaurants (for instance), and you can tell they've just been to a pageant and they're all made up. It's bad enough that kids are never "unwired" anymore and their innate creativity will suffer. I'm glad you brought this to our attention. The world we live in is not "always and perpetually pretty."
    Brenda

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  10. Thank you for this post and for sharing Jen's post. Each woman, early in life, begins choosing what she believes to be virtuous, moral, of value, and beautiful. Unfortunately, this has a different definition for each as there are no absolutes in our society today. Thre are no absolute definitions of integrity, morality, virtues, right, wrong, and no absolute TRUTH. With no absolutes, there is lack of stability, defined roles, honor, or respect for either gender. It is truly sad when women see their worth and beauty defined by how they are able to attract attention from the opposite sex. Both men and women ultimately want to be honored, respected and to be viewed as being of great worth. We need to get back to the basics...with God all good things are possible!

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  11. Great message, Kat. Kim said exactly what I feel on this subject -

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  12. Agreed. Things are way off kilter in my opinion. As a part time substitute teacher, I see a good cross representation of folks and wow!!! Family is so important and there will never be a more important job than being a parent.

    -Rene

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  13. You are so right!
    I saw a young girl walking to school the other day. I felt such a pang when I saw her. The way she was dressed.....no one was guarding her purity. She was really young, and maybe didn't know better.
    Being a wife and mother and homemaker. I am blessed to have these callings. They bring me great joy.

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  14. I have always been so thankful that my daughters thought highly enough of themselves to dress casually, comfortably and respectably. And the group of girls they were with most of the time did the same. So it is such a shock to me to see so many young girls dressing so provacatively. We ned to be good examples and speak out when we can...often.

    Thanks for a powerful post.

    XO,
    Jane

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  15. If only more mothers would speak up - if only more companies would drop the horrible advertising aimed at pre-teen girls. If only big money didn't finance the careers of young women who inspire young girls and sing and dance and dress in a way that was once called lewd - and is still, in my opinion, provocative. When I train my volunteers and have to do a segment on dress code, pointing out that showing one's navel isn't proper, and that décolletage is for evening I wonder why no one has ever taken the time to teach them that their worth is more than their sexuality.

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  16. I am so thankful that I had the choice. Was it easy to give up a profession and the benefits that came with it? No. Was it worth it? Yes! But it was my family's and my choice. As a young mom ~ we made a life without TV, not for any reason other than we were just too busy for it. So many of my friends judged me and felt I was depriving my girls of a valuable education socially. As the years went by I realized what a blessing it was that they lived life in full dimension and not through a flat screen. Without TV I had a chance as a mom to explain right and wrong. With tv, parents don't stand a chance, our children are bombarded in every direction. On a side note, how sad is it that the year our youngest graduated, the school sent notices home to parents that if they(the parents) were inappropriately dressed, they would be asked to leave school property.
    Great message ~ Thanks for sharing

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  17. Great post. I'm a child of the seventies and grew up thinking I was equal. But lately it seems like we have taken 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Too much importance is being put on our beauty, breasts, bum, etc and not enough on our brains and ability.

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  18. We only watch Netflix now and not regular TV because of all the TV ads. When in the past few months I saw a tennis shoe ad that zoomed in on a woman's butt I was furious. Enough is enough... don't try to sell me tennis shoes by telling me it will make my butt look better... Just disgusting and what we as women have to put up with. Thank you for posting this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seysNzaCEhs

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  19. I am so "with you" on this. It is so important to teach our daughters to be strong, independent women that know what their worth is and that know where to draw the line on some things. Glad you took time to share this. Thanks. Mickie

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  20. It's so hard for young women to counter all the perceptions/expectations put forward by the media. It is such a powerful and persuasive medium. They are led to believe that unless they are a certain weight, or unless they have straightened blonde hair, or unless they have large breasts, or unless they have a perfect nose....then they are some sort of failure. It seems so many young girls are almost cloning themselves just to achieve this sterotypical look of "perfection" and in doing so are losing their true individuality. The lesson we HAVE to teach our daughters/neices/grandaughters is that they are truly unique - there is no-one else like them in the world. They need to stand proud and strong and not allow themselves (or their values)to be morphed into mediocrity. It's a message we need to keep telling them - time and time again! Thank you (and your daughter) Kat for raising this issue. I'm sure it is something which has been concerning many of us for a long time. It is good to bring it out into the open. Great post! ;)Sharyne

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  21. This is a fantastic post Kat. And the film looks wonderful, I'd love to see it in it's entirety. The messages that are sent to our daughters are incredibly demeaning. I'm thankful that we raised a daughter who is independent and values herself enough to not fall into the "sex kitten" trap. One year she and her college roommate decided to protest the "skanky" halloween costumes that most girls wear by putting on as many layers of clothes as they could wear. And much to their surprise, the costumes were a huge hit! Kudos to you for this post, and kudos to your daughter for making such an important film. Kat

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  22. @Kat: I love the halloween costume idea! That is so great; I wish I had thought of that when I was in college.
    I wanted to make clear that I am not in any way affiliated with the film. I wish I had been involved in such a fantastic project, but I simply came across the trailer online. I appreciate that thought though - that is flattering! :)
    Thanks,
    LowTideHighStyle's daughter

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  23. Hi. Just found you via This Old house. I was thinking about this very topic yesterday. I live in Orange County, Ca. I saw a little girl leaving elementary school yesterday dressed like a lead actress in Burlesque. What are the parents thinking?

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  24. I couldn't agree with you more. As the mother of four daughters, I am extremely disturbed by the exploitation of women in all forms of media. Where are the women's groups? You never hear a word. I am so glad this is being done but I honestly and sadly believe it will not change. Sex sells and this is all they care about in so many industries. Women used to have the power by tightly controlling our sexuality and what we showed but now women are as nasty as men and they have the power. We allow them to exploit us when we dress and act raunchy. So much to say on this but very much needed. Great post.

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  25. I couldn't agree more. Many of my friends are younger than I am and they have young daughters. I often talk about the clothes, the dating etc. with them. It seems as if the answer is "everyone is doing it" and no one wants their child to be anything but popular. I really have no idea how to stop it...but I hate it.

    I love the comment from your daughter:)

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  26. I see it as a spiritual issue. Until people come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and allow Him to change them things will not get better...only worse. It's very sad indeed.

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  27. One of my favorite lines in the trailer was: "You can't be what you can't see." Oh this is great stuff, kudos to your daughter for arranging a viewing of the film for her workplace! ~Lili

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