Target: The United States Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan
Goal: Teach media objectification awareness and prevention in our public schools.
The average American teenager consumes almost 11 hours of media every day without knowing the detriment to their self esteem or body image. The Representation Project has already produced two different documentary films as well as countless infographics about the importance of media representation as well as the detriment it has to society when media is objectifying. Tell our public school system that media objectification and misleading advertisement needs to become a required subject in their education.
In 2011, Jennifer Siebel Newsom wrote and directed the film Miss Representation in an effort to reveal the massive difference in media representation between men and women for the sake of her soon-to-be daughter. Since its release, the film has won 12 different awards including the 2011 Sundance Festival. It has also become an online advocacy campaign that has flourished so quickly that they now have fully crafted curricula for the film to be taught in classrooms.
Recently, the Representation Project has produced another filmed titled The Mask You Live In that explores the harm done to the male community from objectifying media exposure. This film also has a complete written curriculum available for purchase.
Half of girls between 11 and 13 believe they are overweight, and 95% of victims of eating disorders are between 12 and 25. Men are four times more likely to kill themselves, but are half of those diagnosed with depression after puberty. The only way we can change our media is to make the next generation aware of its presence and give them the proper means to fight it.
Dear Secretary Arne Duncan,
Media representation has reached a strange place in America today. Advertising companies are utilizing sexuality in places they shouldn’t be and objectifying both genders in a polarizing and damaging manner. Women are still objectified in subtle ways as child bearers and sexual beings and men are viewed as those of power and control. Violence is also heavily encouraged throughout the male community over emotions and empathy, in large part from the United States military’s doing as well.
The Representation Project has produced two documentaries on the subject of media representation, one focused on women and the other focused on men, and have created fully-formed classroom curriculums for each. I believe these lessons are valuable for our children to learn early on and believe that it is the responsibility of the public school system to do so.
I urge you to enforce these lesson plans in your curriculum as a one-to-two-day class, as you would for any substance awareness or sexual education program. If you do your part to fight polarizing gender roles and empower the American people, the next generation will have the means necessary to abolish sexism and gender discrimination.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Wikipedia