Friday, October 14, 2011

My Eyes Are Up Here

Interesting conversations on Twitter tonight around gender stereotypes, many centered around this thought provoking video from What is our responsibility when it comes to how gender roles are perceived? Is it our fault if our children grow up to believe men are more capable than women when we are inundated day in and day out with that very message? How much control do we have over our children's thoughts when as soon as they are out of our sight they see through all forms of media that women's bodies are the prize?

I grew up believing a man would be my protector and it's been a hard feeling to shake. I am surrounded by images of what my body should look like and only feel I am lacking when I frequent celebrity news sites showing "post baby bump" and "red carpet" pictures or leaf through magazines with endless photoshopped images.

The thinking is that the media and not the people are to blame, but is that accurate? I know that media and marketing push us toward what they think we want to think and feel but which came first in this scenario: the images of toned bodies with large breasts and full lips, or our desire to see/be those things? Futhermore, if we continue to be consumers of the movies,agazines and products that objectify women, can we really blame the media?

I observed a man tweeting that he was incensed to have been left out of a campaign by a large grocery store whose target demographic was women (who, incidentally make 80% of buying decisions). I agreed with him but also thought "if women are so powerful, why are they not using that power to say 'enough!' to gender stereotypical marketing?"

Now let's look at our children who from birth are exposed to the pink or blue world. Is there any hope that our own daily defiance of what they are exposed to as they just try to fit in will have any effect? How exhausting the effort seems to battle image after image from TV, internet, stores and magazines. I may have to quit my day job and don a unitard to battle each inference that my daughters can't be anything or that my son should open his mind to a woman's intelligence rather than her body.

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