My life is delightfully full of women: I have 3 insanely wonderful daughters and an unbelievably awesome daughter-in-law, a cutie-pie of a granddaughter (oh yeah, life just keeps getting better!), super-wonderful powerhouse girlfriends, a practice focusing on women’s health with patients who teach me more than medical school ever could, and over 200 rockin’ women in my women’s herbal medicine training program. I teach women all over the country. And it is a great privilege.
With this privilege I become a holder-of-women’s-stories. Some are painful and include stories of loss of self-esteem, cutting, rape, eating disorders, and rampant anxiety about being a woman in our world. I have tried my best to protect my daughters from the influence of media and misogyny in their lives, but even with the best of efforts, it is a force beyond my control and it is insidious. Admittedly, I myself am not immune to its influences and weight – as I plan a photo shoot for my new website I am incredibly aware of my incoming grays and the wrinkles between my brows. Nor are some of my closest, most intelligent and enlightened friends invulnerable. Just recently a smart, successful, gorgeous woman friend in a kick-ass marriage remarked that she was certainly going to “get a boob job” rather than enter her fifties with her “girls” sagging! And while I won’t get one, I understand the sentiment. Sigh…
Did you know that:
- 53% of 13-year old girls are unhappy with their bodies? 78% by age 17?
- 65% of American women and girls have disordered eating habits?
- 17% of teens engage in cutting and self-injurious behavior?
- About 25% of girls will experience teen dating violence?
- 1 in 4 women are abused by a partner during their lifetime in the U.S.?
- 1 in 6 women are survivors of rape or attempted rape?
- 15% of rape survivors are under the age of 12?
Did you know that the media plays a major role in shaping our self-perception as women, leading to many of our struggles with the above issues? Do you know that the media portrayal of women discourages our daughters from becoming women who change the world, placing a greater emphasis on ass and tit size? (How many of you know who Mae Jemison is? How about Kim Kardashian?)
Over 97% of the media our daughters are exposed to is directed, controlled, or created by men!
Did you know that WE can change this?
Listen up, ladies! Over 97% of my website’s several thousand followers are women! We are a powerful force, sisters!!! I pledge to an ever-higher level of mindfulness about media, and to use my media message to “girl-cott” the messages that harm us and the girls/women we love. And you lucky men who are aware enough to be reading this…you can help us!
You can join me! To learn more about the effects of negative, women denigrating media in our daughters’ – and our own mental, physical, social health and safety – please please watch the powerful, moving, important documentary Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. It is easily rentable on I-Tunes. Watch it soon. Watch it now. Watch it with your daughters, partners, sons. Bring it to your daughter’s school. Your son’s school. Your workplace. Tell a friend. Tell many. We can make SHIFT happen!
To learn more about Miss Representation, go to http://www.missrepresentation.org.