The trials and tribulations of an adventurous modern mom
Last week, I finally watched the brilliant documentary “Miss Representation.” Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation is about how women are depicted in mainstream media and the devastating impact it has on girls, women and society as a whole. The information inside the documentary was not by any means new to me. I took Women’s Studies back in college and read many of those feminist books (which I loved by the way). Yet to watch the documentary and have it all there right in front of you, with facts, testimonials and shocking images of women in media, was almost too much to stand and angered me greatly.
Sadly I realized that nothing has changed since I was growing up and in fact many things have almost gotten worse in our non-stop out-of-control saturation of media. All forms of media continue to objectify and over-sex women and their bodies. It is so blatant and so everywhere that most people have become immune to it. When standing in line at Barnes and Noble, I nearly choked on my gum when I saw the latest cover of yet another guys-oriented magazine. The photo was only of a women’s torso and the angle showed much lower than I would have expected legal if it wasn’t outright pornography. I nearly died and prayed my six-year-old daughter wouldn’t notice.
Thankfully I gave up on reading any of those girly, trashy magazines like Cosmo years ago when I realized the impact those magazines had on me. They made me feel like crap.
I wasn’t fat at all and still am what most people would consider thin. Yet reading any of those mainstream beauty magazines that I occasionally browse while getting my hair cut is bound to make any women feel darn right awful about themselves and that is the point. How else would all these mega successful cosmetic products stay in business if they didn’t make women and girls feel constantly upset and unhappy with their appearance? Got wrinkes….use this cream and they will magically disappear. Need a date with a man…..wear this outfit or this lipstick and you will be swept off your feet by Prince Charming. Feeling blue? Get a man who will rescue you and save all your problems.
Mainstream media does what ever it can to make girls and women feel like shit. Let’s face it. Even worse, mainstream media depicts women almost exclusively on their appearance and their bodies. It is so disgusting and degrading sometimes I scratch my head and have to remind myself that I am actually in the United States, a place where women have much more freedom than any other countries. But the objectification and sexification of women is disgraceful and I am stunned that it goes on to such an extent. And sadly, it seems to work. Even women themselves play the game. Think of Miley Cyrus’ “Wreaking Ball” video. What a horrifying disgrace she is! She brought herself and women down to a whole new level, and of course made boatloads of money. Furthermore, do you ever see any unsexy women broadcasting on Fox News or for sports anymore? Not much. Do these female newscasters ever wear anything besides tight, cleavage showing cloths? Not a chance. So what I’m asking is:
What message is this telling our girls? And even more so, what message is it telling our boys? That women are an object?
So what have I done? I don’t read the garbage magazines. I don’t watch TV except for documentaries. I chose my movies carefully and never see those stupid Hollywood films about the damsel in distress. At 41 years old, I just simply have accepted the way I look and realize that my appearance is not and will never be what matters most to me. It is me as a person that counts.
Of course I take care of my physical appearance. I exercise daily, keep fit and in shape, wear make-up, highlight my hair to keep it blond and yes, I hate those wrinkles forming after all my teenage years being Malibu Barbie and laying in the sun but I accept them as best I can.
What matters most to me as a 41-year-old women now is ensuring my daughter survives the onset of puberty and the horrific onslaught of conflicting, confusing messages she will be receiving daily about being a girl and becoming a woman. That she will understand that there is way more to her being than her physical appearance. That she will understand the power she has in her mind and her words. That she will be strong and reach for the stars and not sit back on the sidelines because she is a girl. That she will stand up for her rights and never allow those greedy testosterone boys to tell her she won’t be popular if she doesn’t give in. No.
Because she is a girl, she will follow her dreams. Because she is a girl, she will do so many things. Because she is a girl, she will never give up at trying to set an example that being a women is not all about sex. That being a women is a wonderful, beautiful thing and she has so much to give the world because of it.
Trailer of Miss Representation: A must-see documentary for parents of girls