In my previous post, I mentioned the power of media to influence multiple facets of our life. Some days it seems like it is just all too much, I want to throw up my feminist hands and give up on media. Many of us consume media without realizing it the inequity within it. When talking about women and media representation you can imagine it becomes quite depressing pretty quickly.
These conversations are hard and can often end in an argument about why this EVEN matters. But look at these statistics:
Girls that are 11 to 14 years old see an average of 500 ads a day – Miss Representation
Only 20% of news articles are about women – Analyzing Sexuality for Action and Policy
Teens are exposed to about 14,000 sexual references & innuendos per year on TV – American Psychological Association
Males outnumber females 3 to 1 in family films, the same ratio as 1946 – Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
And how can we be surprised by this when women comprised only 18% of directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films in 2011 – Women in TV and Film
Hopefully some of you are saying ok this sucks but what can I do? If you are like me, simply boycotting a song or movie does not feel like enough. I think these individual acts are important. They spark conversation among friends and family that may not happen without your objection. But what can we do on a larger scale? At times the options seem dismal but I want to discuss an option that has already had larger implications.
The #Not Buying It project was started by The Representation Project. Their film, Miss Representation challenges not only the lack of women in the media but also the portrayal of the women who are shown, I would recommend checking it out. It is on Netflix!
The Representation Project,
is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people’s consciousness towards change. Interactive campaigns, strategic partnerships and education initiative inspire individuals and communities to challenge the status quo and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, or circumstance can fulfill their potential.
The Representation Project started a Twitter campaign, #NotBuyingIt, as a way to use social media to call out anything from advertisements to music videos and anything in between. The Twitter campaign became so popular that there was recently an App designed to show the most recent #NotBuyingIt examples. They also created #MediaWeLike to showcase what media forms are doing a better job then some of their counterparts. (If you are like me and still holding out on getting a twitter account the App is a handy tool – unfortunately only for iphone users so far) The Twitter campaign became increasingly popular during the Super Bowls from 2012 and 2013 due to the crazy amount of new advertisements being rolled out, and the huge audience those events reach. The campaign has made real measurable changes within media.
For example, Nordstrom was selling a pillow with the words, “to hell with BEAUTY SLEEP I want SKINNY SLEEP” embroidered on them. Because of the backlash on the #NotBuyingIt app the store removed the pillows.
Another example came in children’s literature. There was a book being sold in two versions, one for girls and one for boys. The version for girls was titled, “How to be Gorgeous” and the version for boys was titled, “How to be Clever”. After the outrage expressed on Twitter with the #NotBuyingIt campaign the London store, Harrods, removed the books from the shelves.
In honor of the Super Bowl this year I wanted to expose my readers to this. I highly recommend exploring the app or their website, or both! Did you see an advertisement at this years Super Bowl that was particularity upsetting? Did you watch a music video the other day that pissed you off? Were you upset with Hilary Clinton’s TIME cover? (Side note: if you have not seen it check it out) This App allows you as a consumer to contribute to change, change you can actually see.