Friday, December 2, 2011

Altering Our Kids’ Relationship with Media: 'We All Should Be Appalled.'

Ninety-seven percent of what you watch, read and hear comes from the male perspective. . . It’s wrong because media creates culture -- Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, creator of the documentary Miss Representation, spoke at a conference this week about the importance of parents curtailing the influence of media over their kids so children won't internalize the damaging, sexist messages delivered to them through an onslaught of TV/film, music, advertising and news media.

After her son was born he received gifts calling him the next president and a leader, she said, yet after her daughter was born she got things calling her cute and a princess. Labeling children “a vulnerable class of citizens” whose viewpoints are "formed" by media, Siebel Newsom said parents need to wake up and recognize what messages our children are receiving.

TV is “killing our daughters’ ambition and destroying empathy and emotion in our sons,” Siebel Newsom said. “Let’s demand a media culture that uplifts us all,” she said.

Powerful stuff. It's worth watching both her speech AND the excellent (yet heartbreaking) documentary Miss Representation.

In the meantime, Siebel Newsom is urging parents when they’re out Christmas/holiday shopping and they see “a product or advertisement that misrepresents or degrades women” they should post a description or photo of the offensive item on Twitter and accompany it with the hashtag #notbuyingit.

“If enough of us publicly tell these companies that we won’t buy into their offensive advertising or products, we can get their attention and see real change happen,” she wrote on her blog. “Let’s keep the trend going and send a direct message to the advertisers and media moguls who perpetuate sexist stereotypes: This holiday season, sexism won’t sell.”

Image credit: Miss

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