The message is rather terrifying for myself; being a female raising a female.
When I interviewed Yvette Nechvatal-Drew, executive director of Girls Incorporated of Durham, Girls Inc., she said fifty per cent of girls between the ages of eight and 18 have a television in their room. “That is 5 million channels sending messages 24/7 and they have a captive audience,” Nechvatal-Drew added.
Media Smarts shared 2008 research findings by Dr. Maya Götz with International Central Institute for Youth and Educational Television: While women represent 49 per cent of the world’s population, female characters made up 32 per cent of television’s main characters. And though magazines are the only form of media that represents mostly females, the majority of topics are regarding fashion and dating.
Girls Inc.’s report, The Supergirl Dilemma found that young girls believed that people expect them only to care about shopping, that they need to dress the “right” way and that they feel a lot of pressure to please everybody. A girl in Grade 4 was quoted in the report saying, “A lot of pressure to be athletic, pretty, and skinny plus smart.”
Research links eating disorders, depression and suicide rates in females to the media that is constantly thrown at them.
The only benefit of a constant unattainable image being dangled in front of females like a carrot is economics. Cosmetic and diet industries are booming. Media Smarts reported that the diet industry in the US brings in $60 million a year, “selling temporary weight loss.” Marketing campaigns focus on creating body issues in women so that they will buy beauty products, weight loss plans and pills, new clothes and even cosmetic surgery. Girls as young as six years old are reporting dissatisfaction with their bodies.
On top of looking perfect females are taught to be domesticated and docile. The strong women in action movies are not so much inspiring as they were made to be kinkier than your run of the mill media sex object.
When young girls see these images constantly throughout their lives, it gets harder and harder to teach them reality. There is only so much that can be done on a case by case basis, a larger action needs to be taken.
Next, Media series conclusion.
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