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Archive for May, 2011

I am loving what’s going on with the Healthy MEdia: Commission for Positive Images of Women and Girls right now.  In case you haven’t heard, this is a group spearheaded by the Girl Scouts of theUSA and co-chaired by Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC commissioner.  They’re taking it right to where it counts –Washington,DC – to tell legislators why action needs to be taken in order to create a better media environment for kids.

I recently read an article by Deborah Taylor Tate that talked about the imbalance of females to males in the media.  According to the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, despite being 50 percent of the U.S. population, in family films and television, male characters outweigh female characters nearly 3:1 with only 27 percent of the speaking characters cast as female.

At first I thought to myself, “Does this really matter all that much?”  So I went on over to Google and decided to see what popped up when I Google-imaged “women in movies” and “women on television.”

And that, my friends, is where I found the bulk of the problem. 

While the ratio of women to men might be off, I think the biggest problem is not as much the quantity but the quality.  Just look at the pictures that pop up when you do those Google searches.  You’re gonna see a lot of skin and bust. 

Here are a few more stats for you to chew on.  According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, sexualized messages and images of girls and women not only impact girls, but also result in boys’ developing unrealistic and unhealthy expectations.  (And hello – if you watch what the average man watches, the quality of women characters gets even lower than usual).

And this is the one that really gets me.  Nearly all girls compare themselves to fashion models, with 31 percent admitting to starving themselves or refusing to eat as a strategy to lose weight.

31%

That’s too many.  Those girls don’t have strong enough role models to look up to.  I know what you’re saying – it should start in the home!  They should have real-life positive role models to look up to!  And you’re absolutely right.  But it’s 2011 and that just isn’t always possible.  And whether we like it or not, they’re going to consume media.  Because – and this is the last stat I’ll throw at you I promise – children between 8- and 18- years-old spend over 10 hours a day engaging with media.

They are going to see it.  They are going to react to it.  So we have to change it.

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