Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Nanny State Never Ends - The Healthy Media for Youth Act

Senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) are pushing a bill to be passed in order to have a healthier image for girls set in the media; The Healthy Media for Youth Act. While I will agree that young girls are bombarded with unhealthy images all the time. We have models that are airbrushed to the point that they don't even look like the image that is portrayed in the magazine or billboard, they also are sometimes deadly thin. These images alone can push some tweens and teens into the grips of anorexia.

We have sexualized our children in ways that we tell them pretty much anything goes. We lie to them about abortion being nothing more than getting rid of a problem and the unborn child they are carrying is nothing more than a "bunch of cells". None of this is a healthy way to raise our girls so that they become happy and well-adjusted adults.

The Healthy Media for Youth Act takes a three-pronged approach to promote healthy media messages about girls and women. First, the bill creates a competitive grant program to encourage and support media literacy programs and youth empowerment groups. The bill also facilitates research on how depictions of women and girls in the media affect youth. Finally, it establishes a National Taskforce on Women and Girls in the Media, which will develop voluntary standards that promote healthy, balanced, and positive images of girls and women in the media for the benefit of all youth.
This bill was announced yesterday at press conference with both Hagan and Baldwin. They were joined by CEO of Girl Scouts of America Kathy Cloninger and Actress Geena Davis.

A survey by Girl Scouts of the USA's (GSUSA) Research Institute, Girls and Body Image, found that 89% of girls say the fashion industry places a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin. The American Psychological Association's (APA) Report on the Sexualization of Girls (2007) found that three of the most common mental health problems among girls—eating disorders, depression or depressed mood, and low self-esteem—are linked to the sexualization of girls and women in media. And according to the Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media, despite being 50 percent of the U.S. population, in family films and television, male characters outweigh female characters nearly three to one and five to one in background or group scenes, a statistic that has remained the same since 1946. Only 27 percent of the speaking characters are female. (GDIGM)
Geena Davis' role in this press conference I found particularly insulting:

"I am in the industry and I want to keep working. We are kind of like Switzerland -- we don't put down specific movies, we don't single out anybody."
It would be unfair to say that Ms. Davis has not worked on this issue in the past. She has founded The Geena Davis Institute of Gender in Media. A non-profit that works to try to disspell some of the stereotypes of woman that are shown to our young girls. Not only do I stand up cheer her for this effort, I would donate money to the cause. I don't think that the images we show young women are healthy. I firmly believe that we do a great disservice to our children with some of the things that they see on T.V. and in movies.

Where I have a big problem with what she did yesterday is the fact that she feels that government has a role to play in this. This is a woman who is in the very industry that creates many of these stereotypes and refuses to call them out for it. Instead, she would rather that government get involved in creating non-profits to be used as a counter measure to the very content she puts out there as an acting professional. At least the Girl Scouts statement is looking to address some of the real issues; sexualization of children, depression, and eating disorders.

Ms. Davis' involvement seems to end after "gender equality". More progressive PC nonsense that says we as woman are victims and being held back from doing and being all the we can be because of an unfair male dominated world. Her view of world will actually increase the problems that Girl Scouts report has listed. Ms. Davis is of the mind that women should be out having sex because if it is a man can do it, so can a woman. This is one of the very things that it causing the higher rates of depression, low self-image, and eating disorders to begin with. We should be teaching them that how they look isn't important. We should be teaching them our actions have consequences. We should be teaching them that boys who try to pressure you into having sex when you are not ready don't care about you. If they cared about you they would respect your choice. We should teaching them the way to get ahead is through education and an unexpected pregnancy could end that dream for them. We should be teaching them that abortion can be a soul killer.

We have very serious problems in this country. Having the government get involved in our lives in this type of way is not the way to solve them. The things discussed in this bill is the job of the parents. It is up to the parents to monitor how much T.V. a child is viewing. It is up to the parents to pay attention to the reading material that is brought into the home. It is up to the parents to understand the content of the movies that you are allowing your child to watch. This is not the job of the federal government.

If Geena Davis really cared about this issue as much as she claims, she would call out the people in Hollywood. She would do it loudly and by name. This is not the job of our government. This is the job of parents and society as a whole to start demanding that Hollywood be accountable for the trash they are putting out on the screens that affect how our children--and society for that matter--view ourselves. If we didn't watch this crap, they would stop making it. After all, Hollywood is one of those evil capitalistic industries.

1 comment:

Kid said...

I'm with you. I don't care for government pushing reality aside to accommodate any agenda. This is for parents to deal with and ultimately the choices women make in their lives for themselves.
The federal government is a runaway train and has been for decades.

If it were up to me it would only be involved with national defense.

Government's been turning our lives into one big day care center and people keep voting for it and will continue until they find they've lost all their individual freedoms.

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