Girls in Media

In this age of invasive media, teaching our daughters how to weed through the onslaught of sexual imagery directed at them is not easy.  All around them are examples of young women, not that much older than themselves, being used as sexual objects to sell product. An obvious example is the one from Radio Shack: which Girl Guides of Canada posted with the query “what can you do to counter this?”music.

I responded that there were other things in the media like an episode of Glee where one of the characters takes a stand against using sex and her body to sell her.

But which one is actually getting our children’s attention?

I decided to find out. I showed my daughter, a Guide just moving up to Pathfinders, the ad and Glee clip. It was not a comfortable conversation because it involved sex and at this age, that subject can shut down a mother-daughter talk quickly. Her reactions surprised me. She found the ad stupid. She didn’t care that the girls were (in her words) “wearing underwear and plastic” and informed me she’d have moved on to something else and not watched it. Her response to Mercede’s dilemma was “duh, of course she shouldn’t do that.” which, while heartening, didn’t reassure me. Did she really understand what I was discussing?

Her answer was to play Pink’s Stupid Girls video. So it seems she had got the message that you should be smart, be true to you and not act like the girls in videos; but, even this video showed more of Pink dressed provocatively that modestly. So was the subliminal message – in order to succeed, you still have to show skin- still there? Was this a case where my daughter was simply too young to discern that?

Not long afterwards I was reminded about the Disney princesses and the growing rise of media that pass the Bechdel test.

  1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
  2. who talk to each other
  3. about something besides a man.

I showed my daughter (and son) and we are now happily reexamining everything she likes watching and applying that test.

By Guest blogger Christy Bindhardt  1st Almonte Brownies & 1st Almonte Pathfinders

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