I’ve been talking a lot about media recently, so I’m just going to go with that and keep it up. There is just so much to say on the topic that once I get going it’s hard to stop. Last week I presented my new group of college students with their Sexuality in the Media projects. I have a new tool in my belt this semester – a video about photoshopping and its ubiquity in the media industry. Take a look:
After I showed this to my students this week, they were generally annoyed with the industry. One student had a particularly interesting comment: “Every girl should watch that video with her mother.” I don’t disagree with him. But I would expand his comment to include all boys and girls – particularly those who are focused on how they look. And I think they should watch it with their mothers and their fathers. And their grandmothers and their friends. Then get a couple of magazines and try and figure out which pictures have been photoshopped. (HINT: The answer is ALL of them!)
A really great companion video to go with this one is a Dove public service video, also about photoshopping:
And as long as we’re looking at Dove videos, let’s watch this one too (it’s visually intense, so take a deep breath before and after watching it):
The media and beauty industries have a huge effect on us as consumers. We almost don’t even notice it. A friend of mine is living in Mexico for a year and after a recent trip back to the states, she writes about her culture shock and the presence of consumerism that is so prevalent in our society. While I deeply appreciate her perspective on the consumeristic aspect of our society and how much we are manipulated into a must-have-culture, I want to expand her conversation to include the impact that advertisements and generally all media have on our conception of our bodies. We don’t really even notice this either.
After viewing a timeline of pubic hair evolution in pornography from 1971 through 2008, many of my students talk with disgust about the full-bush tendencies from the 70’s. They seem to be of the initial opinion that women in the 70’s chose to be unstylish. It often takes them a few minutes to realize that how our pubic hair is coiffed is very much a matter of style, not inherent beauty.
This is something of a long, rambling post, which I apologize for. There is just so much to say on the topic. If ya’ll aren’t too tired of reading about it, maybe next week I’ll talk about how I’m introducing this conversation to my middle school class. They’re loving it! In the mean time, go watch those videos with all the young people you know. And all the old people. It’s relevant to all of us.