This week several staff from Hackham East attended a session of Miss Representaion run by Louiza Hebhardt. The film explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence. It explores the images of women that we are exposed to everyday and how this effects both our girls and boys.
After the film we heard from Melinda Tankard Reist from collectiveshout.com . Collective shout is an organisation that campaigns against the sexualisation of girls. One of the many battles this organisations fights is to remove items, such as sexualised clothing from our stores. It is amazing (and disturbing) to see how much of this material is out there for our kids to soak up.
AS A PARENT I walked away from this session feeling fearful for my children. As the father of an 8 year old girl, I am already aware that it is difficult to buy her clothes that I feel are appropriate. I find myself wondering how I will help her to develop positive self body image and expose her to images of positive women that can serve as her mentors and role models as she finds her passions and areas of interest in life. How do I combat the massive amount of negative, horrifying, inappropriate images telling her how she ‘should be’.
As the father of a 12 year old boy I have very similar fears. In a world of sexist, horrible music, TV, video games and movies portraying men as powerful and women as weak, how do I teach him that women have the same right and expectation of power, success and equality as he does? I really don’t know the answer.
AS A TEACHER OF A BOYS CLASS I walked away realising that I have a responsibility to educate my boys to be better men. We need to provide our boys with role modeling of appropriate interactions with women. We need to talk to boys about what is and isn’t appropriate and have open, honest discussions drawing their attention to the way women are portrayed in the media. In our classroom we do this regularly already. We call the boys on an inappropriate comments they may make and spend the time to pull these apart and look at WHY these type of comments are harmful. I hope this continues as they move on to high school at a time where they really need support to navigate their way through adolescence.
AS A MAN I walked away feeling a little guilty for my gender’s part in this.
AS A HUMAN BEING I walked away concerned about our society as a whole. I walked away wondering when big business might develop some corporate responsibility? When do the powers that be step up and make a call that padded bras for four year olds are not how they are going to do business. I walked away wondering when this will become a ‘big deal’ for the public at large and I walked away wondering why I hadn’t taken notice before now.