As a member of the Television Generation, I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, Hopalong Cassidy and Roy Rogers westerns, Flash Gordon movies and Star Trek reruns; then later as a teen, Streets of San Francisco, Magnum P.I., and a myriad of other who-dun-it mysteries.
When I watch some of these shows now on cable or DVD I’m often taken aback by how women dressed, walked, acted and were portrayed. Even if the woman was a cop, she seemed more concerned about messing up her hair (i.e. Charlie’s Angels) than getting the bad guy. When was the last time a woman came to the rescue of her male partner?
I don’t remember. Maybe Google would know.
Instead of hapless victims, why can’t we have confident and competent female characters we can root for? I’m not talking Xena: Warrior Princess either…and don’t get me started on how women are portrayed in typical comedy shows or the horrid sadistic-violence-on-women episodes that broadcast and cable channels call “entertainment.”
Sandwiched between all these messages are commercials depicting how women should look, dress, walk, behave, clean house, raise children, etc. Basically, the message is if you don’t match one of these fantasies then something’s wrong with you. This is all done in order to get you to buy something that you don’t need and may make you feel even worse after you use it!
But television and cable are only two sources of what I consider misogynistic messaging. Magazines, newspapers, cable news shows, talk shows, morning show radio, songs, movies, billboards, novels…the list goes on.
The messages are often worse for maturing women. We have to dye our graying hair. Wrinkles destroy our beauty. Can’t find love over 40. You’re fat if you’re a size 14 (even if you’re over six foot tall)!
I have to quit because it’s all making me sick…and very angry.
That’s why I don’t buy many popular products and services from companies. I’m tired of advertisements and messages that do not empower me so why should I support businesses and other endeavors that use them.
Does that mean I accept myself 100 percent? Does this mean I’m happy with myself?
Sadly, the answer is no. But I do know that I can always improve. That I can say to myself “Hey, you look nice,” “Nice job working out today,” or “Congrats for not eating that piece of chocolate a few minutes ago” and actually feel it…even a little bit.
I firmly believe that if more of us began to believe in ourselves, to view ourselves as capable and confident, and to feel self-love and self-respect, we can enrich our lives as well as the lives of other women and future generations.
Let’s start that journey right now!