In today’s society we already have a predetermined view on gender. From birth, boys and girls have to follow “societal rules.”
Boys are always told to “man-up,” hide feelings and to be tough, while girls are expected to always be nice and act lady-like. Literally from Day 1 boys and girls are dressed in either pink or blue based on their gender and have to follow these set of guidelines. The major source of the problem comes from the media. Specifically speaking, movie producers and advertisers.
For example, when is the last time you saw a commercial for super hero toys that had a girl in it? Or how about the last time you saw a movie with the main character as a female and she wasn’t nude, partially nude, or sexualized? It happens way more than you think, but as a society we are so used to it, we don’t even flinch at the sight of it.
In fact only 15 percent of movies had a lead character as a woman, more shockingly of those 15 percent, those women were three times more likely to appear nude, or partially nude.
The thing is, since society doesn’t care, movies like “Magic Mike” and advertisers like GoDaddy will continue to push their products and send the wrong image to future generations.
There has been a movement to try to put an end to this started by the Representation Project. While it is a good start, it may not be the best way to go about the problem.
The goal of the Representation Project is “to fight media with media.” The project started a new hashtag under the name #notbuyingit.
The whole point of the hashtag is for users of socially media to reply to sexist advertisers simply let them know they don’t agree with the message of their advertisement and aren’t spending their money on it.
The problem with this is, even bad publicity is still publicity and ultimately companies with sexist messages are still having their product talked about. In some cases, they are talked about even more with all the social media post.
While it’s a good start, it’s only the first part of a two-step process. After the people are well informed via social media, then the people need to execute a well-planned boycott.
A boycott will hit a company hard and they will be forced to either change their ways or struggle financially; either way it will get the message across.
However, a step even before that is to inform society, especially the youth of the negative effects of sexism. Just like sexual education taught in schools, it should be taught that boys and girls don’t have to follow the gender norms.
Not only should today’s youth be taught that, but today’s adults (especially parents) also need to know that if a child doesn’t live up to gender norms then that is okay as well and there should be no repercussions.
The first reason being, that if a society is informed about why sexism is bad, then they will be able to watch the movie and take it with a grain of salt.
Secondly, if you’re going to sit down and watch a movie, then you know what you’re getting into, especially since you consented to watch the movie.
Thirdly, while many don’t agree with the message, limiting movies based on their content will violate the First Amendment, which of course is illegal.
Sexist ideas and sexist portrayals will most likely always exist, but that doesn’t mean the people can’t get together and help reduce it as much as possible as well change the minds of advertisers and producers.
It won’t be an easy task, but if the people band together rather than feel helpless as an individual then it can be done.