By: Anika M.
Negative media images of girls affect everyone. Day after day, girls are taught early on to be sexy, flawless and unrealistically skinny, and they resort to drastic and unhealthy measures to achieve the unachievable. One example that comes to mind is the show “Toddlers in Tiaras,” about 3-year-old beauty pageant stars. The consequence: too many girls feel disgusted with themselves when they can’t succeed.
Boys, on the other hand, see how girls are sexualized and dehumanized everywhere and for the rest of their lives they may think that’s the acceptable way of treating women and girls. This will continue from generation to generation until it is finally realized and stopped–and YOU can help.
Children and teens need to understand and be conscious of the messages they are receiving from the media. The first step in combating negative media portrayals of females is gaining media literacy, which is the ability to look critically at all forms of media and its messages, and how it affects everyday life. This way girls and boys will understand that females don’t have to look a certain way in order to be valued by society. Girls will know not to put themselves through the pressure, and have a much better outlook on their appearance and increase self-esteem; boys will not have unrealistic expectations for girls and will respect them for who they are.
Secondly, there needs to be a drastic change in the values of the media with more representation of girls and women which are realistic, celebrate the differences among females, and focus beyond just looks. Once the media universe starts promoting these values, society will too.
What’s your opinion?