Warning: Rant Ahead!
[Thanks to Eleanor Clark for bringing this to my attention on Facebook.]
Watch the trailer, but be forewarned that there is offensive material in it. Alas, that is the whole point. It's about how nearly everything the media portrays about women is OFFENSIVE. When we're not being cast as promiscuous, sex-crazed nymphs, we're either "bitches" or "dykes" or "hags" or somehow all of the above. Women in politics can't catch a break. They're evaluated on how they do their hair or what they wear as much as what they say. Their tone of voice is measured and found "nagging" or "mom-like." God forbid we have a female president, because then what would happen to the country when PMS or mood swings hit her? Because men are never irrational and always get things done in government...ha!
Look, women aren't perfect and they have flaws; and men certainly aren't portrayed as perfect by the media. Men are told by the media that they need to be tough, womanizing, powerful, ruthless, sexy, and strong. "What, you're 12 and you haven't looked at porn? What are you, gay?" That kind of talk is going on in the homes and on the playgrounds of schools right now, maybe even the school I work at. There's tremendous pressure exerted on boys and girls alike to be a certain way and look a certain way and conform to certain ideas of how (and who) they should be. I know that right now at my school some girls are getting teased and bullied because of the way they do their hair and makeup. Of course, their teasers are sophisticated enough to know exactly the right moment to make the comment, write the note, or make a face so that they don't get caught. Kids aren't dumb; in fact, they can be be frighteningly brilliant when it comes to bullying effectively. I think we've all heard enough stories lately to assure us of that.
I know that it isn't fair to blame everything on the media. And I don't really think the solution for this is going to come from the FCC cracking down or new government regulations. After all, we're complicit when we watch or click or buy. We support it, whether passively or actively. I think it needs to start in more homes just turning off the tube or getting rid of it altogether. We have a good solution: a tv set that only works to play DVDs and video cassette tapes. I can bring in what I want to watch with no ads. I'm going to do my best to keep Ruby from watching things until she is at least 2 or maybe older. I heard a report on the news that the age domain that spiked the most in use of video games and apps was the 2 to 5 age bracket. They can't buy the stuff, but they are playing it! Yikes!
But here's the really weird thing about all of this: why is it that women keep on buying into offensive stereotypes? Check out this ad:
I bet you this ad can be found in magazines that are marketed to women. Most high fashion ads are. There aren't that many in men's mags, by and large. It's usually magazines that have high women readership. WHY? What woman is going to look at this and think, "Hey, time to buy myself some Dolce & Gabbana (at outrageous prices, no less) so I can look good while I'm gang raped by a strange Art Deco pool!" But it is in women's magazines and something about this kind of campaign is obviously working, because people by D&G products. But wait, there's more!
Hey ladies, were you feeling in any way okay with your body? Not anymore, thanks to Calvin Klein and associates! This woman looks like a weird misshapen Barbie that got left out in the sun too long and warped; but it's Calvin Klein apparel so it must be fashionable and sexy, right? Everything about women's magazines are actually quite misogynistic. And yet, when I am in airports or check out lines, my eyes are drawn to them against my best intentions. The women on the covers are usually clad in something scanty and/or fancy, and they have flawless skin, hair, and makeup. I know they are airbrushed, but somehow I find myself thinking, "Gosh, I wonder if Allen wishes I looked like that?" I've asked him, and he looks at me like I'm crazy. "Why would I want that? That's not real. You're real!" he replies. But even he has had to fight off the conditioning that constantly goes on telling men that they should be satisfied with nothing less than some kind of living, breathing Barbie doll. The porn industry has done fine work (please note the sarcasm) in making men lust after living breathing Barbies, by the way. Women in those pictures and movies don't look like normal everyday women. If this is what boys are growing up seeing (along with everything peddled on TV, movies, and the internet), how the heck are they supposed to have ANY clue about what real women and real sex and real relationships are like? ESPECIALLY if their dads either aren't in the picture or aren't saying anything helpful to contradict what society is putting out there?
I hope and pray that I can bring up my children and students to see the lies in culture for what they are: lies and deception trying to enslave people to things that will never make them happy. May we see shackles in every offensive ad or image; they are binding us to something that is not going to satisfy. In the words of Sara Groves, "What a relief it is to know that I'm a slave to Christ. Of all the masters I have known, I'm compelled to live this life, free for you."