Miss Guided

Recently I’ve been thinking – and talking – a lot about how women are portrayed in the media.  I’ve also been thinking about how women are seen in society – and in, particular, how they see themselves.

Yesterday I watched the aptly titled, MissRepresentation, a documentary that explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America in particular, and the role the media plays in this. If you haven’t seen it, it’s well worth watching.

There is no denying that women used to be seen as possessions for the convenience and entertainment of men.

There is no denying that that is possibly even more the case than ever.

Women are increasingly packaged as sex objects and everything is now sold to everybody, using women’s bodies.

I am not suggesting that women are to blame for this phenomenon.  I don’t think it’s caused by hormones or cattiness or any of the other rubbish accusations designed to disempower women.

But I am suggesting that women stop supporting it.

Stop believing the illusion that tells you that being thinner, younger-looking, compliant and presented like a sex-object will make you happier.  It won’t.  It can’t.  And when you aren’t happier even though you are complying it isn’t your fault – you’ve been sold a big, fat lie.  Even if you have to wrestle with yourself until you retrain your psyche – do it – that might actually make you happy.

Don’t buy the handbags or the magazines or perfume or clothes that are advertised by women portrayed as objects of sexual fantasies or with distorted, unnatural body-images.

Don’t watch the films or TV shows that reinforce the stereotypes.

Do watch the films and TV shows that don’t.  One of the interviewees in the movie (a man) makes the point that in the cinema of the 1940s and ’50s, women could get to play real people in movies – bitches, saints, moms, murderers, adventurers – not so nowadays, shockingly.

Stop believing that you have to be like a man – or be liked by a man – in order to make a success of your life.  Let’s face it, men are not any happier than women and have, largely, made a very unfriendly, unhelpful, unsafe and unsatisfying world for themselves as well as women.

Don’t get me wrong – men need to get on board with this boycott as well.

But women – come on – let’s stop waiting for the men to come along – maybe they’re not the early adopters they think they are?

How about we just stop supporting the system and stop accepting the stereotypes and stop conforming to the ‘way things are’ and try to create a new way for things to be – a way that is good for everyone, not just women (let’s not make the same mistakes as men).

Worst case scenario, if it all blows up in our pretty little botoxed faces we can always go back to what we have now…

11 comments on “Miss Guided

  1. patricemj says:

    This reminds me of Lindsay Lohan’s recent change, make-over. She went from being this darling, earthy red-head, so talented and just perfect really to a fake-looking girl, all her Lindsay stripped away and replaced with injected lips, cheeks, hair stripped of it’s redness and made blong. Hollywood did this to her. They have raped her image. Granted, something in her could not resist this, I know she’s got her own issues, don’t we all….

    It’s just so sad because she was so awesome before. She didn’t need to become something else, she was already there.

    We do need to stand up as women and realize that appealing to the male sex organ will not a great world make. We need to train our primitive drives….nobody talks about this anymore as it is seen as churchy, but to me this has nothing whatsoever to do with religion. Sex is powerful and left to its own devices it will pretty much level our civility. Look what we did to Lindsay.

    I absolutely love that Adele is a normal sized woman. I love her dignity. I love her honesty, her vulnerability. I hope she can hold on to the utter beauty she has brought to the world and can remain as a role model for all women. We see Adele’s true beauty precisely because she is not a sex symbol.

    • It really is about our primitive drives. They are handy and adaptive and we owe them a lot otherwise we wouldn’t be here but we really need to start using our human faculties to moderate them. And it’s not just sex – though it may all be based on it given Mother Nature’s interest in perpetuating the species! In an adaptive sense women had the best chance of survival and mating if they were sexually appealing – for men it’s all about status, if they were to survive and also attract a good mate for reproduction they needed to be ‘top dog’ so to speak. The problem is it’s still the same but with a veneer of civilisation. I think the veneer makes it worse. There’s nothing wrong with this system in it’s place – it’s just that if it become the bedrock of our system of life it has the effect of destroying us instead of helping us. Back to materialism really – the commodification of women as sex objects and men as cash-machines. All a lot more savage than it looks.

  2. Thank you for this, that is all I can say! Just thank you. I have blogged on this subject a few times now, it is relevant and critical. It is also like being a lone wolf, run from the pack and waiting for the winter snow to take us.

    • I’m glad you liked it. You are not entirely wrong with your lone wolf analogy, I think as this is based on such primitive and adaptive instincts it can feel truly frightening to go against them. Nice analogy – thanks.

  3. granbee says:

    That last video clip you posted here certainly ought to wake up a lot of young women (and older ones, as well!) to what we would settle for if we do not resist the marketing to female stereotypes. I am W-O-M-A-N, not Stereo Type!

  4. nrhatch says:

    I have never aspired to be a sex symbol . . . way over-rated. I am my own woman and always have been. Here’s hoping other women follow suit. 😀

    • That is a great attitude but I think it is a problem that goes deeper than being a sex symbol. I think it is about being accepted. Men have a similar issue around status I think. It’s complicated but it’ll be a lot simpler if we don’t just accept everything as the natural order of things and start being our own people as you describe.

  5. ElizOF says:

    Easier said than done… much of it is ingrained in society and how we view each other and ourselves.. 😉

  6. […] Miss Guided (creatingreciprocity.wordpress.com) […]

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