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.”
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.