MEDIA BOOM OR BOMB?
The documentary film “Miss Representation” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, and explores how mainstream media contributes to the under-representation of women in influential positions and often portrays women and girls in a negative light leading to a cross generational movement. Men rule the majority of media. Media gets revenues from advertising and some of these companies want the ad campaigns to reveal sexual messages and the exploitation of women’s bodies in exchange for dollars. There are plenty of campaigns that require young models (both male & female) to expose themselves in a very explicit body gesture that would have been considered shocking in the 80’s but this has become the norm. This movie was written, directed and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsome. It premiered on OWN, Oprah’s network last month and re-aired on November 12th.
I bring this up because many Boomers are still raising teenagers who are completely influenced by what the media is teaching or portraying both good and demoralizing. Between TV, Internet, movies, magazines, and music it equals 10 hours and 45 minutes of media consumption a day. Girls are taught that what is most important is how they look, and their value and worth depends upon this regardless of their achievements. This is the same message boys receive about girls. Women make up 51% of the US population but only comprise of 17% in Congress.
Geena Davis was cast in “A League of Their Own” directed by Penny Marshall in 1992. Many teenage girls told Davis this movie changed their lives by participating in sports. This was a positive message for our children, although in twenty years since this movie debut there are not enough examples. Today there are still not a lot of female directors in the movie industry. Only 16% of all writers, directors, producers, cinematographers and editors are women. As Katie Couric said “The media can awaken and change minds. It depends upon who is piloting the plane.”
On a side note, Penny Marshall has Stage 4 lung cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy treatments in LA. This is very sad news and I wish her the best.
Here is an 8-minute trailer that you can watch for Miss Representation and you will be able to see very powerful women being interviewed and their perspectives on how media is shaping our nation. Want to get involved, email the Networks calling for the immediate cancellation of shows that are offensive and sexist. As you shop for gifts this season, shun companies who advertise negative messages for both genders. To reach missrepresentation.org
As Boomers we live in such an open society from when we were growing up. This exposure allows us to have a social voice and determine how brands are responsible to society. We have a lot more control as a consumer and because of the information that we receive through Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and the Internet we can simply stop buying a product that does not correctly support our morals and values. If mobile technology helped organize the overthrow of leaders in Egypt and Libya, than as Americans and representing 75 million Boomers in our country we can certainly be a force in consumerism and media.
I just returned from London and I was told that silver hair is a current trend. In NYC I use the subway and walking as my main transportation and being on the streets this trend has been happening for the past year. Lady Gaga continues to wear silver wigs and wore this color for her interview yesterday on GMA. For any Boomer considering the transition to silver this may be a great time to jump in and forgo the color. Silver continues to be a trend on the runways, but these models have to alter their color or wear wigs to be white blond when we can get the original silver color for free. Carmen who turned 80 this year still continues to model with her signature chic silver nest. American Salon magazine added a purple hairpiece to my hair to show how you can have fun but not change the color permanently. If more women transition to silver, this color will become as common as being a brunette. Hmmm……something to think about?
Wishing you a warm and bountiful Thanksgiving with family and friends.
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