My Resolve is strong: ‘What I am endeavoring to correct in the latter part of 2012’


Well I missed the boat.  The huge Italian-piloted-playboy-of a captain’s-type of boat that is.  Because well I’m just not the glitzy “12 lido decks” sailing type.  

"Lido Deck"

I like the impermanance of the warm and sea-worn dinghy.  I love the sheer mystery that goes with the wind in my hair and the”throw caution to the wind”  feeling of, “Will I make it to shore?”  So I missed the boat on putting to paper my “wants” for 2012.  First of all, I wanted the world to continue.  I did not REALLY believe that those crazy Mayans correctly foretold of the end of our spastic little attention deficit planet.  They were probably like….tired of tip tapping all that crazy angular text into stone and were like….Um…bro, I’m DONE! this sh*t’s TIRING!!! Or maybe there’s a “mayan Calendar part deux” buried beneath a behemoth pyramid and the archeologist types will unearth it and will be like…”crap….sorry…you mad bro?”   Not to knock Mayan, because I’m pretty sure their my ancestors.  I’m Mexican and Irish, which officially makes me a “Mexi-gringa” and my grandmother’s family comes from The Tarahumara Tribe.  all you need to know is that they actually chase (yes still) deer and whatever they want to eat, on foot. They wear crazy little skirts.  AND THOSE ARE THE MEN!!   They live in high altitude cliff dwellings in Mexico’s  Copper Canyon to be exact) …and drink a beverage called Iskiate that makes ecstasy look like baby food. So I don’t diss the Mayans.  I’m not an ancestry buff but i’ve a feeling the corn meal doesn’t  fall too far from the huarache if you know what I mean.    But I’m glad they got it wrong.  VERY WRONG.  Because that means we all have more time to ignore Super-Pacs, not stand up for Women’s rights on contraception etc.,  I guess what I’m saying is…DOES IT TAKE THE IMPENDING END OF THE WORLD TO GET FIRED UP ABOUT THESE THINGS?! People…PEOPLE!!!! …..  Seriously.  If you’re gonna get fired up and change things…ahem…then these are some starting points.

I’m also endeavoring to figure out why young female children are hanging their entire tiny self esteems on the millions of mostly hardened YouTube Viewer’s opinions! Patt Morrison of KPCC devoted one of her radio shows to this question the other day.  I was lucky enough to have one of my comments read on the air by Patt, (I can’t tell you how exciting this was…) but my thoughts on this subject have not been entirely aired and I wish to explore this phenomena more fully here! You lucky readers!  Okay you four readers of mine, (you know who you are…)   Personally I don’t remember being wary of my self esteem as a child never mind manically  questioning  whether I was “pretty” or not.  Not much of a thought to tell you the truth.  Not until my next door neighbor, the evil Yvette Lopez,  told me that I got to borrow the ‘ugly Barbie’ because as she put it, ‘I was ‘ugly too.’  I remember being angry, and not really believing her.  I guess my parents had done some work there and made sure my  intrinsic self esteem was intact and somewhat unretractable in a way.  Some sort of positive verbal massaging of the spirit went on.  I do know that I did not own Barbies, either by the sheer prospect of borderline poverty or by ideal I know not.  I do know, however, I was the eager recipient of an occasional chicharone or  pan dulce whilst watching 1970’s basketball with my dad.  My mother had me busy with art projects.  As for Yvette?  I wanted to punch her lights out and began making mud pies to launch over the wall into her front yard.  Being resourceful, I enlisted my little brother and the offensive began.   Looking back, that was my first taste of justice and haven’t’ lost the thirst for it.  Today I’m wondering why America has been resting on it’s laurels with regard to women’s issues.  Not only are we on the razor’s edge of losing contraception rights, we are okay with so much misogyny in our media once again.  I wasn’t around for the 50’s and I was just a wee tot in the 60’s and all I know is that in the 70’s women’s issues were important. I felt it. I saw it.  Women were in a fight.  Gloria Steinem was a common visual on my parent’s magnavox. Cher might’ve been in a tiny deerskin bikini but she was a strong woman.   Women with caftans, flared pants large flowered prints were pissed and on guard.  They wanted to be respected for the women they were.  In the eighties the idea of ‘being an airhead’ or one’s entire self-esteem being soley based on looks still didn’t fly.  There was an enduring radar out there just daring any inkling of disrespect to waft within it’s general airspace.  How did things change so quickly? Now we have The Kardashians, The Bachelor, Jersey Shore’s women put out there as defacto role models for young girls.  Women in bikinis selling hamburgers.  Maybe the ladies on Hee Haw or Petty Coat Junction we’rent perfect but they certainly weren’t bouncing booze soaked ice cubes off the pecs of half naked guido boys! There was enough strong feminist vibe going on that even girls as young as I was knew that we weren’t to be messed with or disrespected and most of all? I had more than my looks to make me feel whole.

Thankfully there is a group called G.A.T.E. (Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment) spearheaded by John Raatz, Jim Carrey and Eckhart Tolle

John Raatz, Eckhart Tolle and JIm Carrey : G.A.T.E.

…and they endeavor to change some of the tendencies in Hollywood that culminate in movies and shows that lower that self-esteem bar.  Basically GATE is trying to raise the bar making Hollywood responsible for what is conveyed in their productions.  Can we tell a good story that people want to see without all the gratuitous sex or stereotypical demography that we now use so wantonly? Can we make an impact without the gratuitous violence?  Can we merely allude to the violence in the story if it is a necessary part of the storytelling?  but not glorify it’s detail? Can we get past using sex and violence as cash cows? and raise our cinema arts to a new level?   Can we tell better stories? and can we tell stories that are more impactful and help us all get along on this tiny blue idiosyncratic planet?  I think so.  And if we do…succeed that is, in making Hollywood just a little less attention starved, we will we have an impact on young children.  We must do this because young kids  are starting to show signs of  the hyper sexualization and adult drama that they encounter everywhere in out society.  A ten year old asking the world if she’s pretty, an eleven year old worried that she’s ‘not hot’.  it’s worrisome.   Endeavor with me.  Eyes on the prize.

Advertisements

What’s the ideal body? Who says the media gets to tell us? A constellation of sociocultural factors that are making us sick.


We all know that gender roles in media affect people mentally, and consequently physically. During childhood and adolescence these media exposure events become part of a constellation of sociocultural factors that promote a thinness schema for girls and the muscularity schema for boys amongst other ideals.

Consider these facts about the development of body image which begins developing when we are just newborns. A child immediately begins to explore what his or her body feels like and can do. This process continues his whole life. A child’s body image is influenced by how people around her react to her body and how she looks. A pre-adolescent becomes increasingly aware of what society’s standards are for the “ideal body.”

It is long known that the media (television, movies, magazines, etc.) have, since World War II, increasingly held up a thinner and thinner body image, (and now ever more physically fit image) as the ideal body configuration for women. The ideal man is also presented as trim, but muscular.

the association of attractiveness and thinness was present in over 100 female characters appearing in 23 Walt Disney animated films (cel cartoons) produced over a 60-year period.

Thin female characters in television situation comedies were more likely than heavier female characters to be praised by male characters, and less likely to be insulted by male characters.

Since the 1980s magazines have increasingly depicted the male body in a state of objectified undress, such that a significant focus for the camera and viewer is raw, exposed (“chiseled” or “ripped”) muscularity. This might be the reason my oldest son was chomping at the bit at fourteen to gain permission to start working out. (He didn’t get that permission until he was sixteen, but at that juncture he jumped right into it, buying a gym membership and start working on a “six pack.”

Most working class adolescent girls are dissatisfied with their weight and shape. A study done by ‘Field, et., al in 1999, found that 70%  the girls stated that pictures in magazines influenced their conception of the “perfect” body shape, and over 45% indicated that those images motivated them to lose weight. Further, adolescent girls who were more frequent readers of women’s magazines were more likely to report being influenced to think about the perfect body, to be dissatisfied with their own body, to want to lose weight, and to diet.

Teen-age girls who viewed commercials depicting women who modeled the unrealistically thin (yet ideal by media standards), type of beauty, caused adolescent girls to feel less confident, more angry, and more dissatisfied with their weight and appearance. I wonder what the percentage is of girls that go on to form medical and psychological maladies like shyness, depression and others?

In a study on fifth graders, 10 year old girls and boys told researchers they were dissatisfied with their own bodies after watching a music video by Britney Spears or a clip from the TV show which showcased people thin “media ideal but uncommon in real life’ bodies.

In another recent study on media’s impact on adolescent body dissatisfaction, two researchers found that:

Teens who watched soaps and TV shows that emphasized the ideal body typed reported higher sense of body dissatisfaction. This was also true for girls who watched music videos. Reading magazines for teen girls or women also correlated with body dissatisfaction for girls.

Many children watch between two and four hours of television per day. The presence or absence of role models, how women and men, girls and boys are presented, and what activities they participate in on the screen powerfully affect how girls and boys view their role in the world. Studies looking at cartoons, regular television, and commercials show that although many changes have occurred and girls, in particular have a wider range of role models, for girls “how they look” is still more important than “what they do.”

In a 1997 study designed to study how children described the roles of cartoon characters, children (ages four to nine) “perceived most cartoon characters in stereotypical ways: boys were violent and active and girls were domestic, interested in boys, and concerned with appearances” (Thompson, 1997).

In another study, three weeks of Saturday morning toy commercials were analyzed. Within the sampling,
50% of the commercials aimed at girls spoke about physical attractiveness, while none of the commercials aimed at boys referenced appearance.
What are we teaching our young girls and boys?  Young males interacting with the toys or items being advertised, acted aggressively in 50% of the commercials aimed at them, while none of the girls behaved aggressively. Even voice-over for young male’s toys was overly presented with speed and aggression.

With regard to work roles depicted on television in a study doen by Sobiera in 1995, no boys had unpaid labor roles, while girls were mainly shown in traditional female jobs or roles of unpaid labor.

Dr. Nancy Signorielli, Professor of Communications at the University of Delaware examined the types of media most often viewed by adolescent girls: television, commercials, films, music videos, magazines and advertisements. While the study did find positive role models of women and girls using their intelligence and acting independently, the media presented an overwhelming message that girls and women should be more concerned with romance and dating (as it follows how they look and looks supposedly determine how successful they will be at their roles), while men focus on their strength, aggressiveness and occupations.

I would like to extrapolate out the conversation and ask you to consider the lasting effects of this ‘body image / gender moulding pre-occupation”. Can the high incidence in male and female dissatisfaction and deprssion be linked to these practices in our media or in a larger context, in our society?

Can we further say that physical maladies such as bulemia, anorexia and a host of anxiety disorders are a result of such seemingly unbalanced ideologies? I have to venture a ‘yes.’ Don’t forget about the boys.   Consider the boys who are twelve and thirteen and already asking for ‘muscle building supplements.’ or ‘chin up bars.’ All you have to do is visit any  MySpace profile pics for young boys and we see them flexing their muscles, which have yet to even finish developing!   Our society is sexualizing, under contextualizing / and gender moulding our children into very narrow roles causing them to see a narrow purpose that is connecting attractiveness with general personal worth.  These are dangerous times.  Kids are worried that they don’t fit in. Worried that they don’t measure up.  Some of them have acquired negative mental and physical manifestations of these anxieties and are killing themselves slowly or in a quick and deliberate way.

What can we do at a grass roots level? I invite discussion.

Chrissylong

Newsworthy Smart stuff


Picture 12Hey there smart stuff! If you’re reading my blog, you are def a more enlightened, creative  type of individual so you probably are already pretty on top of this stuff, so ignore the following scriven “beating” that’s about to occur.   If you know a mall-rat or at least an”office tapir” that skulks ’round the coffee machine’ every AM waving around their Nordstrom card and talking about gettin’ some “deals” on their lunchbreak, then Implore these capricious consumers to  resist non-fair trade products and instead set an eco-conscious example by buying online at http://www.globalexchange.com” Purchasing with creativity and conscience is a win-win for all.   Tell those demented denizens of Dillons, those natiform naves of  Nordstrom that with merely a few drags of their index finger and a few clicks with the thumb (oh! that’s MAC, and it’s easier, sorry… I should not assume…) they can go to http://www.globalexchange.org and help folks!   Some of these people have quit their ‘maquiladora-type’  jobs (the ones that actually had the freedom to do it anyway), and joined a coop where they share the profits from the products they make.  These products are made from recycled materials procured in and around their communities. Coops help people to build a  better lifestyle and they afford their members an alternative to working in “sweat production houses.”  They gain a semblance of self esteem and some form of monetary sustenance.   If we’re gonna “consume” then maybe it’s a good idea to think about how we do it. Oh…yah..for all you soccer moms that will buy anything based on looks and whim, (“well, I know it was expensive but I just walked by and saw it and I just HAD to have it…) you won’t be sorry.  These items are beautiful, made with love, happiness and genuine craft. Who wouldn’t be proud to own something made with passion and independence?   There aint nothin’ better than being a part of thriving as opposed to suffering.

The bowl pictured above is called “Spread The News” and was crafted from magazines by the Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts coop. This organization was created in 2006 by four college graduates.  Who saw the need to fairly employ a growing group of marginalized women. They now have 20 artisans in rural Tuy Hoa province!  The coop provides health insurance, scholarship funds and a living wage for it’s artisans!  Now that’s newsworthy! ~Chrissylong