The Miss Representation film screening event brought the community together to talk about the way the media affects body image in women and men and how it relates to women in positions of power and influence in our society.
If you are wondering what our biggest piece of insight from the Miss Representation film screening was, read on.
Our community is ready to have these powerful conversations. In the spirit of pushing the envelope, we wanted to share an even deeper level of insight that became apparent to us after showing the film. The film made many great points and helped light a fire. One aspect of the film that we wanted to put more emphasis on with regard to our work with The BodyLove Project, is in the common tendency to point the finger at external entities such as "the media" and "politics" and "society" as culprits of this cultural epidemic of body shame, competitiveness, and low self esteem in women. What is missing in this critique is the reflection of how we as individuals relate to ourselves and how we relate to others.
The question then becomes: How do each of us, on daily basis, relate to one another with regard to these issues? To dig deeper, try asking yourself the following questions:
- Am I ready for women to take on major positions of power?
- Am I ready for women to express their sexuality, beauty AND intellectual and professional prowess?
- Further: How do I relate to women with qualities, achievements and physical attributes that I admire? Do I harbor jealousy? Do I treat them with mistrust or false pretense in order to relate to them or keep my own insecurities hidden?
- Do I believe that women are and can be effective leaders?
- What are the thoughts, judgments and criticisms that I have for others AND for myself?
BIG questions here.
My friend Michelle is a high school teacher in LA. I found out when talking to her at a party this weekend that she had in shown Miss Representation to her high school students and then asked them afterward to respond to the film. She asked them to write a letter to who they believed to be responsible for the negative and hyper-sexualized portrayal of women in media and in society at-large. She said that, surprisingly, the majority of girls in her class wrote to a current pop star or other high profile young woman and berated her for the way she dressed, acted or portrayed herself in social media.
Thats Interesting: The girls blamed other girls for perpetuating, if not creating, the negative stereotypes of women. Its seems that the competitive blame-game sets in early on in our social development.
If what we see seems utterly out of balance, it may be time to look more closely at ourselves to find the change we want to see, rather than habitually pointing at the external world. We give these negative media forces power when we blame it and focus on it. And so we can give a NEW WAY power (the one we wish to see) when we look within and focus on empowering and enlightening ourselves. We have to feel worthy and capable of success and acceptance before we can expect "society" to do so.
We spend a lot of time looking outside when in fact perhaps the most immediate vehicle for great change comes from within each of us individually. We need to take responsibility for what is created in this life.
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