Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On the Heels of Media Images Discussion, The Healthy MEdia Commission Readies First Report

Last Month, actress Ashley Judd was battling a sinus infection and "looked a little puffy in the face", prompting buzz about plastic surgery. She was not happy about the attention.

The actress explains in a Daily Beast essay that she doesn't usually read anything about herself. But she was encouraged by colleagues and friends to know what was being said last month. What she found was a conversation that "was pointedly nasty, gendered, and misogynistic and embodies what all girls and women in our culture, to a greater or lesser degree, endure every day, in ways both outrageous and subtle."

She also found that it was "initially promulgated largely by women; a sad and disturbing fact."

For generations, media has had the power to inspire, educate and entertain us. In recent years, this power has been bolstered by a wave of new technology that has enabled media to be immediate, interactive and drastically more personal.

For today’s youth, this means access to more media in more ways – research has found kids consume upwards of 10 hours of recreational media a day. And that increased media consumption has consequences. The Girl Scout Research Institute has found that nine in ten girls say the fashion industry (89%) and/or the media (88%) place a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin. 60% say they compare their bodies to fashion models. And 32% of girls admit to starving themselves or refusing to eat as a strategy to lost weight.

Next week, The Healthy MEdia: Commission on Positive Images of Women and Girls, commission co-chairs Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning Actor and Founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Deborah Taylor Tate, former FCC Commissioner, will release the commission’s first report. The Elements of Healthy Media will define what comprises positive and healthy media - from onscreen images, to increased and diverse roles for women, to healthy and meaningful relationships. These definitions will lay the groundwork for the commission’s final recommendations, scheduled for release this fall. Stay tuned!