“The most common way people give up their power
is by thinking they don’t have any.”
~ Alice Walker
Quote shown at the beginning of “Miss Representation”
Last week, I attended a screening of Miss Representation, an amazing and heartbreaking film about how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in the United States. The film touched on body image, sexism, racism, the systematic demonization of feminists, the nauseating objectification of women, and many other issues that outraged and sickened me. Images of high school girls crying because they hate themselves, political leaders being dismissed for their fashion choices,and bikini-clad body after roiling bikini-clad body made me dizzy with dismay. And, if I’m being honest, it made me call into question my work, my writing, and my goals. I want women to be empowered, and in a moment of panic I questioned the value of style advice as a tool for empowerment. After all, the problem is that women are increasingly taught to believe that the ONLY thing that matters about us is how we look. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to contribute to that insidious lie.
Originally posted 2011-10-24 06:07:24.
More than a year ago, I saw the film Miss Representation. It was moving and inspiring and upsetting all at once, and even after months have passed I am still mulling its contents. One of the unexpected aftershocks comes in the form of a phrase that’s remained lodged in my brain. A political expert was explaining that the number of American women who show interest in pursuing political careers is dwindling. An oft-overlooked reason for this? There are relatively few women in politics right now. And – here comes the phrase – if you can’t see it, you can’t be it.
Originally posted 2012-11-08 06:09:38.
When I was in college, I got scolded by a guy for not caring enough about my clothes. He took it upon himself to tell me that I’d be so much prettier if I’d just put on a dress once in a while. He was an acquaintance, not a friend, and he felt it was important to let me know that my lack of interest in fashion was affecting his perception of me. And potentially the perceptions of others. I did not care enough about fashion.
The receptionist at my old job was an older gal and famously grumpy. She was one of those people whose compliments always felt backhanded and acidic. She made a point of commenting whenever I wore something she perceived to be new – items that, nine times out of ten, I’d had for years but not yet worn to the office. When I told her I was writing a book, she lit up. When I told her what it was about, she pulled a grimace. I cared too much about fashion.
Originally posted 2013-09-26 06:04:47.