“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
There is an interesting debate happening online, and it’s highlighted by the “Miss Representation” Sundance documentary about the media’s derogatory depictions of women.
The trailer shows media talking about Hillary Clinton “looking haggard and 92.” It shows a clip of Sarah Palin being asked by a reporter whether she has breast implants. It shows a panel of men on a Sunday morning news program talking about Nancy Pelosi and whether she’s had plastic surgery. Then it shows Marc Rudov saying the only downside to having a woman in the Oval Office would be the “PMS and mood swings.”
The most powerful women in America are being shut down, based on their looks and physiology and not on their intellectual capabilities.
Imagine if the same conversation happened around men.
President Obama, you have rock hard abs. Are those implants? Surely you don’t have enough time to exercise while running the country.
Marc Rudov, you seem to be concerned only with sex and a woman’s place with it. Can we take this to mean you have a small … glove?
How can we be taken seriously when it’s all about the body and not about the brain?
As a culture, women are brought up to be fundamentally insecure. We worry about our weight and about when we can start wearing makeup and getting our ears pierced and about the kinds of clothes we wear.
This is short-changing our intellectual capital, our brains, and the voices that are needed in public forums. As a society, we’re not standing for the right values and principles. And the media have made it pretty clear what people should admire about women.
Don’t get me wrong. I think a woman’s sensuality is one of our best assets, but it’s only one of our best assets.
Here’s the thing, though. We’re our own worst enemies. In more than half the clips that “Miss Representation” includes, the comments are coming from other women.
We’re catty, we’re mean, and we’re judgmental. We treat one another poorly, and we rarely support one another.
How can we expect men to treat us with respect when we don’t do it?
If we want things to change, that has to start with us. The next time you are faced with making a snap judgment about another woman, think twice. When you decide not to support a woman-owned business, I hope it’s based on lack of merits and not because it’s run by a woman.
Support one another. Be kind. From there, change will happen.