Sadly, we lost another movie icon today. RIP Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)
Sadly, we lost another movie icon today. RIP Lauren Bacall (1924-2014)
From the movie, Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion.
In a new study conducted by USC Annenberg and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, researchers looked at the way women are portrayed in the media. They analyzed nearly 12,000 speaking roles on prime-time TV and in children's TV shows and family films, studying "female characters' occupations, attire, body size and whether they spoke or not."The results were pretty depressing:
The team's data showed that on prime-time television, 44.3 percent of females were gainfully employed -- compared with 54.5 percent of males. Women across the board were more likely to be shown wearing sexy attire or exposing some skin, and body size trends were apparent: 'Across both prime time and family films, teenaged females are the most likely to be depicted thin.' ... Perhaps most telling are the percentages of speaking female characters in each media form: only 28.3 percent of characters in family films, 30.8 percent of characters in children's shows, and 38.9 percent of characters on prime time television were women.
... [R]esearchers reported that they found a lack of aspirational female role models in all three media categories, and cited five main observations: female characters are sidelined, women are stereotyped and sexualized, a clear employment imbalance exists, women on TV come up against a glass ceiling, and there are not enough female characters working in STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] fields."
Media messages reinforce sexist attitudes about what women are capable of achieving. As this study shows, female characters are significantly limited in the roles they play -- they're often relegated to supporting roles, as characters less central to the plot, and as sex objects. This impacts how girls grow up feeling about their own abilities and what opportunities are open to them, and it also affects how boys learn to view girls -- who gets to be the star, who gets to be the boss, and who's supposed to just sit there and look pretty:
"Both young girls and boys should see female decision-makers, political leaders, managers, and scientists as the norm, not the exception. By increasing the number and diversity of female leaders and role models on screen, content creators may affect the ambitions and career aspirations of girls and young women domestically and internationally."
Read more about the study at Huffington Post.
I also love sparkly things, jewelry, shopping, makeup, pink, & maxi-dresses!!! Actually, I just love wearing maxi-dresses because I don't have to shave ... I guess that makes me even more of a feminist then. ;P
(And to think I gave mine away for free to my manipulative loser of an ex-boyfriend. Maybe I could've put out and put it to better use?) :/
The encounter "will take place on an airplane flying between Australia and the United States, in a bid to circumvent prostitution laws." The mile-high club. How very clever. So, does that mean there's no law in the skies? In that case, I'm totally sneaking into first class next time I fly! You know, since I'd be in the air, I'll be able to circumvent those laws about having to pay for things.Okay, back to the virgin auction -- let's weigh the pros and cons:
- Raising money for the poor = PRO
- Treating sex as a commodity = CON
- Reinforcing the fetishization of virginity = CON
- Exploiting the above for a movie = CON
- Doing it with a stranger, not of your choosing = CON
- Doing it in a cramped airplane = CON
The iconic 1987 film "Full Metal Jacket" offers an example of how racist and sexist terms are created and spread throughout pop culture. The Vietnam War era film popularized a few unfortunate quotes: "me love you long time," "me so horny," and "me sucky sucky." These quotes originated during a scene involving a Vietnamese prostitute bargaining with American servicemen. Regardless of the filmmakers' intent, these quotes have lived on as ways to sexualize and demean Vietnamese and other Asian women.
See the scene here:
The following is an excerpt from the upcoming book -- If Beauty Is inside, Why Do We Hate Our Guts?: Pop Culture, Sexism, & Body Image. Read the first chapter here.
It's time to declare independence, to separate ourselves from the bad habits, the stifling expectations, and the negative messages that no longer serve us (assuming they ever did).
It's time to declare independence from media messages that tell us we're ugly if we don't look like the "flawless" images of celebrities on the screen and in the magazines. It's time to stop buying into the manipulation and stop wasting time trying to chase an illusion that doesn't even exist.
It's time to declare independence from the belief that having the perfect body will make us worthy of love and respect. We're already worthy of love and respect in the bodies we have now -- no amount of weight loss or plastic surgery will increase our value.
It's time to declare independence from dieting, from deprivation, from seeing food as the enemy. The American weight loss industry makes nearly $60 billion a year trying to convince us that we're not good enough -- if diets worked, would they be this profitable? It's time to stop contributing to their false sense of hope.
It's time to declare independence from body loathing, from looking at our bodies with disgust instead of love. It's time to appreciate all of the amazing things they do for us -- the jiggly arms that give great hugs, the flabby thighs that carry us through the park, the droopy breasts that fed a child, the wounded heart that still knows how to love, the exhausted brain that still manages to tell our lungs to breathe.
It's time to declare independence from spending so much time, energy, and money trying to fit into someone else's idea of whom we should be. It's time to put ourselves first, to focus on our own desires and do what we want instead of what's expected of us. It's time to trust our instincts and become someone we're proud of.
It's time to declare independence from shame, from the belief that we're not good enough, not beautiful enough, not thin enough, not smart enough, not clever enough, not sexy enough. It's time to declare that we are already enough -- that we are perfectly imperfect exactly as we are.
It's time to declare independence from the oppressive labels of virgin or whore, straight or gay. Our sexuality does not define us. It can't possibly define what kind of person we are or what's in our hearts or our minds. Any attempt by others to claim otherwise is an attempt to control us, to police our behavior, and to shame us so that they don't have to examine their own ignorance and fear.
It's time to declare independence from the belief that we can bring sexual assault upon ourselves based on how provocatively we're dressed, how flirty we act, or how drunk we get. The only person responsible for a rapist's behavior is the rapist himself. We have a right to feel safe in the world.
It's time to declare independence from legislators who think the female body should be controlled by wealthy, middle-aged, white, conservative men. Our bodies belong to us -- it's time to declare our freedom to make our own decisions about them. Because if we cannot, then we are truly not equal citizens and this country as not as free it claims to be.
It's time to declare our independence from any force that tries to hold us down -- especially those forces that limit us from within.
This is me. Don't think for one second that posting a picture of myself with dirty hair, no makeup, and in unflattering lighting didn't take some ovaries! Like many women, I've struggled with not feeling pretty enough, thin enough, perfect enough. I'll be the first to admit that I think I look the best in the photo on the right. It's the photo I use on the back of my book and on the About Me page of this website. I am definitely a product of our beauty-obsessed culture. But this is also me sacrificing my vanity for the greater good. How can I talk about body acceptance and the need to fight against sexist and oppressive imagery if I'm not being real with myself? It takes courage to be real. So everyone, this is what I look like in the morning. Deal with it.
The media manufacture female insecurity for profit. They invent flaws in our appearance and pressure us to fix them. They segment the female body as if it were a bucket of chicken -- we're just legs and breasts and thighs. They convince us that our bodies are too meaty and fatty, our skin is too greasy, and our hair is too fried. They manipulate us with idealized images of hot chicks who were perfected by plastic surgeons, injectable facial fillers and paralyzers, professional photographers, makeup artists, special lighting, hair stylists, fashion designers, and finally photoshopping. And then we compare our real selves with this illusion. It's not a fair fight.
A woman's appearance is always treated as relevant. Tabloids critique female celebrities for gaining weight or having the "worst beach body". The Playmate of the Year is featured on the evening news. Political commentators assess female candidates' appearance almost as much as their political beliefs. We're trained to think that our sexuality is our primary source of power. I discuss this in my upcoming book, If Beauty Is Inside, Why Do We Hate Our Guts?: Pop Culture, Sexism, & Power. In the recent documentary Miss Representation, the filmmaker also examines how our culture's sexualization of women actually minimizes our power in society. Just think about it -- if the most powerful women in the country are reduced to their looks, how can any of us expect to be treated with respect?
It starts with respecting ourselves and having the courage to be real. We have to stop allowing the media to define us in such a superficial and demeaning way. When we pull back the curtain, we see that the sculpted and perfected illusion is just a real woman who has more in common with us than we think.
I wasn't exactly excited to share my naked face with the Internet, but I put together the above image so that you could see the reality behind the special effects. I'd love to see models and celebrities do the same, but their careers depend on them maintaining the illusion. So for now, maybe it'll just be up to us regular women. And that brings us to Beauty Is Inside's new "Courage to be Real" Campaign!
The "Courage to be Real" Campaign is about cracking the illusion of perfection that makes us hate our bodies and compete with each other. I challenge you to be courageous and send in "before and after" photos of yourselves, along with what was manipulated in the "after" photo. Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll collect them all in a photo gallery on this site, and I'll also post them on the Beauty Is Inside Facebook page and on Twitter @_BeautyIsInside.
Come on -- if I did it, so can you! Together, we can inspire other women and girls to have the courage to be real themselves.