Some of you may be monitoring the media war over “true photos” and the extreme use of photoshop in our magazines. Fourteen year old Julia Bluhm created a protest on Change.org for Seventeen Magazine to not use Photoshop for just 1 picture per issue. They responded with a stern no. Then the Miss Representation staff created a campaign where women and girls were encouraged to Tweet #KeepItReal to different magazines, asking for just 1 picture per issue to be naturally unphotoshopped.
Seventeen magazine responded by saying they wouldn’t Photoshop and they would portray “real” girls. Yay! One triumph to celebrate! This is a great way to kick-off the media war over the accurate portrayal of girls and women. However, the war is not yet won.
Many professionals from the Miss Representation team, Spark Summit, and other organizations dedicated to the mission give examples in the media, magazines and film that do not adhere to their wants. Women are not only being portrayed inaccurately but are being hyper-sexualized. Examples include ads such as this:
Or how about this
Okay that’s it for now.
But we can see just a few examples of how women are over-sexualized in the media to target men, in order to sell products. Harmless right?
Wrong. Most women cannot describe themselves as beautiful. The statistics used to be that only 2% of women can label themselves as beautiful. And why is it that eating disorders, and self-identity disorders are most associated with women? Could it possibly be that our advertising, our movies, ads, pictures, and media are reaching to young girls? Indeed, it is.
Many groups are trying to change how the media operates, how to change viewpoints, and to sacrifice advertising savvy to better our nations’ women. It’s a tough job. After looking at the efforts being strived for, I had to question the role of the performers. Ya know, the people who have their pictures taken in these ads and the actresses in films today,
As a previous teenage actress wannabe, I probably would have done what I needed to do to get a job. Performers are put in the position where they have to do what the job entails in order to get paid and make a living. We cannot tell them to stop working “for the cause”. Plus what if they don’t know about the cause, or they don’t want to know for fear of cognitive dissonance.
This thought on the roles the performers play leads me to another thought. Is there any organization that dedicates their ability to empowering and educating celebrities on this “media war”? Do most of them know of it and if so, do they care? Particularly the more famous celebrities. I would love to see them use their position of power to influence our youth. Or to deny photoshopping and photo manipulation when posing for magazines like some of these celebrities. I believe an ad campaign of current celebrities sending their personal messages of empowerment and self-worth would be phenomenal for viewers.
Of course efforts need to be targeted towards the people in power who design and carry out the ads. They of course should come down from their high horse and look around at the damage. However, if everyone played a role, the performers and the editors alike, even in small ways, this war could be won.
In diagnosing people for disorders, we must look at the root cause. I believe dissatisfaction with oneself and body is a root cause for many issues and if we can dampen it so more than 2% of women believe their beautiful, then perhaps we can lessen the number of people who turn to unhealthy practices. Such as alcohol and drugs, self-mutilation and self-hate, eating disorders, and the belief that we must be perfect. If we can target a root cause, then the others problems will fall like dominoes.
The last point to be made about this issue is that its not just benefitting women. How about the issues facing men? Well, if we can stop hyper sexualizing women, then men won’t assume that every women looks like Heidi Klum or has breasts like porn stars. And if they don’t assume that, then perhaps it could factor into more stable relationships and less divorce (Currently 50% of marriages end in divorce). And if that works than perhaps we can get rid of the idea that men must be macho and drink beer and sleep with as many women as possible, and not show emotion. Perhaps there can be less anxiety over all things and life can be grand.
Hopefully, viewpoints are changed and these problems end. The moral of the story is
And we must educate ourselves and others to stop this mess we have gotten ourselves in. Ask celebrities to make good choices for you, after all they are supported by their fans. Write to companies to have them change their advertising. Dispel gender norms. Write about it, tweet and post about it. This can be changed so everyone is benefitted! We can do it!