Giving Our Daughters the Wrong Message: Having Gabby and Lolo’s Backs
No I have no daughters, but the inherent sexism of the mainstream media is frustrating to me nonetheless. The past two weeks have seen the amazing feats of the world’s best female athletes. Whether they won any medals or simply participated in the Olympic games, their dedication to their sport and the way in which they run their lives is an example to all young women (and yes men too). But what did we get instead of discussing these women in healthy and intelligent terms? We got….
Gabby Douglas’ hair debate and Lolo Jones is too feminine to be an athlete….
Sometimes the media and people have too much to say and not enough intelligent brain cells to use to process their own stupidity. Yes I am using a mean word to describe these people (oowww bad me). The following is also not a discussion of “politics” (read that here, here, here, here) but a discussion of the media’s distortion of a woman’s value and self-worth.
Gabby Douglas is an amazing gymnast and at 16-years-old won the gold medal for best woman gymnast in the entire world. Who cares what her hair looked like when she was preforming and quite frankly who cares what her hair looks like when she is giving interviews? She’s 16! What did you look like at 16? Not everything that a person does is superficial. It is fine and dandy to worry about your outward appearance, but to ignore the magnificence of Gabby’s talent and accomplishments is inane. Do we tell our daughters, hey go be that neurosurgeon but remember when you are preforming brain surgery make sure to go to the beauty parlor beforehand so you always look like you came out of a Hollywood movie…..
Then on the other hand you have Lolo Jones, who does take more of a glam view of her appearance and quite frankly has done some modeling too. But because she didn’t medal, even though she is the world record holder in her event, some loser-in-life who writes for The New York Times decided that if she didn’t care about her appearance (read self-promotion) so much she would have done better at the Games. I can’t decide if the author just doesn’t’ like the fact that Lolo is a devout Christian and still a virgin or just mad because beautiful women like Lolo won’t give him the time of day. (Yes the media tends to try to destroy Tim Tebow because of his religious beliefs as well.)
Then you have two of Lolo’s teammates (and I use the term loosely), bad mouthing her on television. Instead of standing up for her, in the wake of that nasty NYT’s piece, the two that won the medals in the event said that they were the ones who represent athleticism and the USA not Lolo. And yes, these two are going to wonder why they will never get endorsements despite their medal wins. Someone should just give them a copy of their “catty interviews” so they can remind themselves that no company wants a “bitch” to represent their products.
No, of course I don’t know either Gabby or Lolo. I don’t know who they are in real life nor quite frankly do I care who they are at this point. But what they represent to young girls is the reality that a young woman can be dedicated and persevere in the competitive world of international sports competition. That one athlete keeps her “kinky hair” and the other one doesn’t is the most ridiculous and misdirected debates I have read about in recent weeks.
How are our daughters going to feel free to accomplish their goals and their sense of themselves when the world consistently looks for reasons to knock them down no matter how amazing and accomplished they are? Yes the reason they are attacked could also be because they are amazing and others are trying to make themselves known and relevant by denigrating the accomplished….jealousy as we see can also rear its ugly green head (just look no farther than Lolo Jones’ teammates for an example I suppose).
And yes, from the selfish perspective of a mother of sons, where is the daughter-in-law of the future who will love and cherish my child going to come from if she doesn’t have the right to be anything and anyone she wants without derision and supercilious comments? Where are my sons going to find a woman who is strong, self-reliant and can persevere, if women with strong personalities are denigrated and denied their self-respect? Where are my sons going to find the right woman to be a helpmate if all the media wants women to think about is their hair, their nails and their clothes but then demolishes them if these women incorporate a feminine appearance into a successful career and life?
In a world where we strive to make sure that our daughters are self-sufficient people there is always the reminder that there are still creeps out there who quite frankly need a really good psychiatrist to help them with their “women hating issues”. The “Our Gang” boys were a cute group from a by-gone era representative of male chauvinism and archaic views of women…sadly it seems some of these attitudes apparently still exist and the truly sadder fact is that these ideas are even perpetrated by other women as well….
Until next time,
0 thoughts on “Giving Our Daughters the Wrong Message: Having Gabby and Lolo’s Backs”
On the other hand, and I will almost never stand up for men in a media debate, but males are now experiencing a growing pressure to have picture perfect bodies as well. It’s not nearly as bad as the pressure women have but it’s enough to make a point with any male in the general population. All one must do is idly drool at Ryan Gosling’s abs (like that’s hard) and most non-gay males in the conversation will experience discomfort and change the subject. Also, as both my ex-boyfriend and husband pointed out, in nearly every post-apocalyptic film, men go on a rape spree. If you sit back and analyze male behavior in apocalypse movies there seem to be two kinds of men: rapists and good guys while the women tend to have more varied, stronger roles. So, next time you’re trying to point out how horrible the media portrays women and the men in the conversation aren’t listening, simply ask them if, when the end of the world comes, they’re going to start raping everything in sight because that’s what the media portrays them as.
“Where are my sons going to find a woman who is strong, self-reliant and can persevere, if women with strong personalities are denigrated and denied their self-respect?” Part of having a strong personality is not letting someone deny you your self-respect. For instance, my mother raised me to be strong despite the media and I take a very strong issue with being called “bitch” as a compliment. I inform my female friends that I don’t like it and they stop and I inform males, while painfully grasping their earlobes, that that word is not to be used to describe me unless it’s being muttered with fear and loathing while they walk away. No one calls me bitch anymore. Respect – Earned.
That said, I endorse Neversubmit’s letter writing campaign. I try to write my House and Senate reps once a week and, while I don’t watch television (Netflix!) I have been known to write letters about commercials I’ve caught and either really liked or hated. Those who squeak the loudest change the most.
I love it when people talk about what’s on the “mainstream media” as if nobody knows and we need a self-styled “outsider” to tell us about it. I’ve found that treating people like they are stupid is a great way to make friends and get your point across. /sarcasm
Other than that, I agree with you. Being stereotyped as superficial is nasty and insulting, and it shouldn’t be done to women or anyone else. Rather than whining about the “mainstream media,” which is only mainstream because it does a good job of catering to mainstream culture, a much more effective protest would be to refuse to buy things which are sexist or stereotyping in nature. Even better, write letters directly to the people doing the stereotyping. As well as using the “mainstream media” itself to voice your message. If you choose to make the media your enemy, then fewer people will hear your message.