Media Literacy Bingo!

I love my job and the conversations that I get to have with parents every day and the emails or Facebook comments I receive thanking me for changing the way they see their girls and the marketplace. That’s what media literacy is all about — getting people to see the previously unseen. Once your eyes are open to it, you can’t unsee it.

We don’t need to agree with each other all of the time, and I think it is better when we don’t, because our discussions make everybody stretch and think a little bit harder. I learn from you guys every day, and I hope that you are learning from me. A group this large….there is no way all of us will see one thing the same way all of the time.  And that’s okay, as long as we treat each other with respect.

Of course, there are those that aren’t learning or seeing the Big Picture, and maybe never will. And that’s when we play Media Literacy Bingo! I realize that a lot of times, my blog or Facebook posts are preaching to the choir. We are a smart group already in tune to the dangers of childhood sexualization, objectification and sexualization in the media, and the limitations of gender stereotypes in childhood.

We are the front line of an army working for social justice for our children. Right now it is an uphill batte, but a fight worth taking to the streets. Am I overreacting? The vast majority of our daughters do not like their bodies, depression and Eating Disorders are sky rocketing, sexualized women’s bodies can be seen everywhere (including G-rated kids media and toys) in our culture, our sons have their own host of issues, 1/5 of kids are having sex before fourteen years of age, and 1 in 4 teens will suffer from dating violence (and maybe fall into the 1 in 6 women who will survive rape or attempted rape).

Crying yet? Ready to fight? I sure am. As Megan Mascorro-Jackson said so eloquently: Large injustices are allowed because small injustices have become commonplace.

Though it was suggested to me yesterday by some commenters, I’m not sure I can cure malaria, fix job inequality, or single-handedly stop sex traffiking…although those are all important issues. I think I can do what I do best, and that is awaken a consciousness among parents, continue to be a resource to those that need it, and walk the walk by putting better products on the marketplace.

This I know for sure: When we know better, we can do better.

Now – let’s play some Media Literacy Bingo!!

Everyone please take a card, and let’s play with just the comments I received yesterday…..I want you to see this, not to make fun of people, but to see the kind of push back we get when we talk about these issues so that when you are discussing them with friends and family, you don’t take things personally or get discouraged. I have received comments identical to the ones below on a dozen other posts. They are repetitive on this blog and others that tackle these issues. I want you to see it as a pattern of comments made to those of us that ask people to see things differently, to see the Big Picture of what is happening to childhood and to women in the media.  

1. “If you want your daughter to be a stuck up, lazy, unfashionable, feminist, you’re on the right track sweetie.”

2. “I think you need to find something to do Melissa. I’m glad I dont sit around trying to run the world and tell people what they should and shouln’t do.”

3. “What you are apparently disturbed by is called fetishism, or sexualization of something not normally associated with sex…That’s your dirty mind, not mine.”

4. “I think you’re looking a bit too hard for something to offend you.”

5. “Women are facing any number of difficult struggles for equality that get marginalized because folks like you get their dander up over minutia such as this.”

6. “I stand by the terming of this as “minutia,” not worthy of the attention of an intelligent, educated woman. Tempest in a teapot.”

7. “Sorry Melissa, but I’m more offended by your offense to this ad than anything else.” 

8. “My advice, either crawl back under your 1950?s circa rock or try and deal with the changing times and media.”

9. “Melissa has every right to express her outrage. And to damage the efficacy of the women’s rights movement and  decrease attention for the REAL issues, such as income and job inequality.”

10. “You’re the one with the dirty mind and the free times.”

11. “Women like you make all of us look bad at some point.”

12. “Dear Melissa, I’m sorry that you are a bored housewife who can’t take a little fun.”

13. “Please start reading into our current issues of America like the Wall Street protests, the national debt, the potential candidates for president, or even the funding needed for a malaria vaccine.”

14. “To call it sexulized or even mildly pornographic is taking things to an extreme of feminazi’ism that is just rediculous.”

15. “Find something real to be upset about.”

16. “You’re what we call a “pre-angry”. Always prepared to get into a fight about any little thing.

17. “You need a hobby.”

18. Can you fill in the blank for a Free Space from something said you?

Anybody get a Bingo?

A huge thank you to Lisa Ray of Parents for Ethical Marketing for creating and sharing with us this Bingo card.


  1. I love this and have heard many of them myself. Thanks!

  2. Andrea Vigneault says:

    “I am only one, But still I am one. I cannot do everything, But still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. “

  3. You are so welcome. The repetitive nature of the online comments is amazing. Makes me think there’s a playbook out there somewhere that I haven’t seen.

    • This makes me miss YOU Miz Lisa Ray and Parents for Ethical Marketing soooooo much…I DO think there must be a new social media job out there for corporate trolling or in marketing parlance perhaps it’s “brand advocate” or something. As every time I lob a comment on Monster High for example (anywhere!) there’s a semi-coherent, vehement tongue lashing to follow of someone ‘passionate’ about the ‘kind’ things they’re trying to do. Bah. Sock puppets are a dime a dozen these days.

  4. I’m slightly amused by the one that says you need to read into current issues like the Wall Street Protests. There is nothing saying that someone can only be active in one ’cause’ at a time.

    (Just this weekend, I was explaining the Occupy movement, putting the smack-down on an online bully, and working on a non-sexualized costume for my little one.)

  5. Aha, Lisa, this is exactly what I’ve been thinking… Corporate PR people trolling blogs and dropping in these comments to redirect the criticisms and to demoralize those who stand up to them.

  6. When I read the one about equality in the workplace and salary disparity, I LOL’d because we wouldn’t HAVE that crap if we weren’t being marginalized outside of the workplace. The shin bone’s connected to the knee bone; the knee bone’s connected to the thigh bone…

    It’s kind of a no-brainer; unless, of course, the one chiming in is the no-brainer. 🙂 But, I digress.

    • re: workplace disparity etc. – this is what I call having all the dots but not being able to connect them. God forbid we see the forest for the trees!

  7. Lisa / Melissa – this is a great post and sadly the comments are all too familiar. i am working this weekend with a group of young people who are joining us in a new project to challenge sexualisation. These are young people who want to push back against this and we are so excited at the possibilities of the work with them. I wondered if it would be possible to use the bingo card idea and adapt it to use with them in an exercise i am doing on resilience in activism???

    • Yes, please use the Bingo cards! Please let your workshop attendees know that they originated at Parents for Ethical Marketing.

      • hi melisaa and Lisa. i didnt get a chance to use them this weekend – those young people just wanted to talk and talk ad talk about their views and experiences – excellent!!!! I will keep them to use on a weekend event we are doing with them and of course i will give credit to Parents for Ethical Marketing. I am not sure if you have heard of it but we worked on a film for parents / carers/ workers earlier this year. I also made a resource pack to go with it. they can be viewed / accessed here.

        The work with the young people is really being led by them and how they want to get the alternative message out to their peers. Its all very exciting!

  8. This is an awesome post with great information. I will definitely share this.

  9. AnnonneMouse says:

    My own Mother told me that I “needed to get laid” when I was a young teenager. I am very distanced now from my family of origin. I was also told I was a “prude” at times. My family of origin is very disfunctional. I always knew something was off kilter, but it was not until I was able to grow up and move away and educate myself further that I could pin point the paternalisam and misongyny that run rampant through the entire group. I am very grateful for your blog, and for others who think like you , and I, do.

  10. I could only find a link to this video through Facebook – but it pretty much describes EXACTLY what you are talking about… media’s depiction of women – from making us nothing more than sexual creatures to totally trivializing women of power. It is a powerful video that really made me think.

    here is the link. Don’t let the first picture dissuade you from watching the video (it is sad that they had to use that picture to get people to watch….)

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