I’m going to skip over blogging tips Monday and past a re-cap of birthday festivities, and get right to something a bit more immediate: the documentary Miss Representation. This is because my fellow iVoice, Beth, over at Mommy on a Shoestring is going to Harpo to watch the screening with ROSIE! and she wants questions.
Oh, and she’s going today.
So, all of that being said, here’s the trailer:
I want to be poignant here, but honestly none of this is new to me. I’ve spent the better part of forever thinking critically about the way women are portrayed in the media. Hell, I went through years of college about this topic. If you don’t know who Jean Kilbourne is, educate yourself about her important work right now.
I remember sitting in a media class talking loosely about this topic and children’s programming. Now, this was years ago, but it’s still true — actually even more so — that age appropriate, educational television is available for the preschool set, but once your daughter hovers near second grade: all bets are off.
What you get is a huge dose of sexy snark, weaved out hair, and high-heeled iCarlys.
As a parent — shit as a feminist– it’s fucking infuriating.
Because there is so much more to women than heels, hair, makeup, and skin and bones. And let’s not forget our faces are up here, not down there.
Women, just to be clear, are NOT a minority.
However, in every facet we tend to look like one. To me, it’s very Ants vs. Grasshoppers. You know, A Bug’s Life. We toil, we kinda work together, and meanwhile there are these grasshoppers being all: YOU HAVE NO POWER! And the ants respond with: I guess so. The ants keep toiling and freaking out about what the grasshoppers think. But the strength is in their numbers. In collective empowerment. Not until the ants realize their strength — call the grasshoppers bluff — do they forge ahead and move beyond the grasshoppers’ definition of them.
Yes, I just compared women and feminism to ants.
Which is, by far, not as offensive as the many women I talk to on a daily basis about calories. About weight. About other women. About the Real Housewives. About everything EXCEPT what they are doing to empower themselves in their communities, relationships, work places, and the division of labor inside their homes.
When was the last time you talked to your girl friend about the President’s jobs bill? Or Occupy Wall Street?
Or maternal health in developing nations?
You sure as hell would tell her if you lost 5 lbs. Or gained 10.
And just so we’re clear: I spent Sunday watching Real Housewives, chatted about Occupy Wall Street on the phone, and then debated how I plan to get fit. I also found out that my father has an imaginary friend named “Merv” who added him to LinkedIn as a Law Enforcement professional.
He’s a crossing guard and “Merv” apparently thinks the badge is a real one.
I’m not demonizing anyone’s “girl talk,” but in really, real life no one walks up to another mom at parent pickup and says: let’s have a girls night and every time we see tits and ass, let’s take a shot. Or, let’s talk about the lack of flex time.
Beyond the raging case of alcoholism you’ll quickly develop, these heavy topics somehow seem to hover below the surface of the women we meet like an unspoken code. I know it exists, and you know it exists, and somehow none of us ever talk about it.
It’s like the last thing you want to be caught doing is combining playgrounds with patriarchy.
Which is why I’m thrilled to be a blogger. Until I see shit like this and then call them out for it and get a tepid response.
See, women rule social media. OWN IT. For-reals.
Yet, somehow when women pay to “learn” about social media (and it doesn’t involve BlogHer) we end up with a bunch of guys telling us what to do. Suddenly, they have become the “experts.” Because if not, we’re at a “mommy conference” and no one takes those seriously.
I blame Merv.
Now, I just counted real fast and there looks to be 34 speakers and 5 of them are women.
When I was asked if I would be attending the Social Media Plus Conference, I said: hell nah.
This doesn’t mean that the speakers are not brilliant or hard working or that I couldn’t learn tips and tricks and valuable resources. Of course I could. But, I’m not supporting a conference that’s an old boys club that, sometimes, throws a few women a bone. And lets them, you know, play with the boys. Even though the boys, in this instance, do not make up the demographic they are speaking ABOUT.
This is my version of thinking critically and NOT accepting whats been handed to me. About speaking up and loud and owning my right to be a woman who does not behave. It’s about using my voice and modeling, for my daughter, empowerment.
Because she will be bombarded by images of women who do this and that, say this and that, and yet say nothing and do even less.
One of the first things I did as a mother was to buy the book Things Will Be Different For My Daughter.
It’s in my book case next to my bed. I walk past it every night before I lay my head down and glance at it every morning when I wake up.
It’s my alarm. My reminder. My goal.
Things will be different for her.
As noted by my sister, I never told you when Miss Representation will air. Find Miss Representation on OWN this Thursday (10/20) at 9 PM EST.