Taking Jennifer Livingston's View One Step Farther

By now it is pretty likely you have heard about Wisconsin news anchor, Jennifer Livingston's response to an email from a viewer about her being overweight. It was also his opinion that she was an “unsuitable role model for young people, especially young girls, because she is overweight.” Livingston equated the disparaging email sent to her as a form of being bullied.

One particular point that the news anchor made resonated with me -- she stated that she was “more than a number on a scale.” Women are too often judged and valued by their looks rather than their ability and the media is a very real culprit in perpetuating this view.

This reminded me of an excellent movie called “Miss Representation.” It asserts that there are very damaging messages being sent to young girls via the media and not enough powerful women as role models. Here is the description of the film from the website.

About the film

Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, Miss Representation (90 min; TV-14 DL) uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, like Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.

“It’s all about the body, not about the brain,” says a young woman on the trailer.

Once you see the trailer, I recommend you watch the movie.

The website for Miss Representation offers media literacy curriculum appropriate for students of ages K through college. Here are some of the key points the lessons address.

  • Identify different types of media and understand that media communicates and teaches individuals ideas.
  • Think critically about how stereotypes of femininity and masculinity limit girls and boys.
  • Examine the impact media has on a woman’s ability to see herself as a leader and obtain a leadership position.
  • Understand how behind the scenes decisions affect the way gender is represented in media and impact our culture.
  • Become engaged in efforts to influence positive change in media and advertising industries.

For more information on the movie visit the website at http://www.missrepresentation.org

Please comment, tweet, share or email me at lisa.schoolzone@gmail.com

CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIDEO

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    There is negligence by the media and US government regarding obesity problems. Mr. Obama assigned Dr. Regina Benjamin a physician 42 lbs overweight as General Surgeon to guide Americans on a fight against obesity. She has to convince lay people about healthy lifestyles when she cannot convince herself besides her available professional background.
    I am a PhD scientist and I ran two half-marathons during my PhD at Penn State. We are simply becoming victims of modern lifestyle not only by obesity but neurogenesis effect also as lack of fitness increases the weight and reduces neurons in the cerebellum making people bigger and dumber as a consequence of sedentary options.
    Unhappily they are becoming obese and less intelligent to fix it making the trend grow and get worse and worse till a catastrophe kicks in.
    Obesity is a natural consequence of our physiology storing energy for the hard time that does not come anymore.
    It took around 10,000 years for humans to get used of covering their bodies as like any animal we are born naked and have walked naked in the landscape for millions of years.
    In the future we will learn how to live in the modern landscape in balance with our physiology when machinery does most of the work and our diet is becoming unsuitable because the food industry is changing it for profit. What we are eating is just good for the profitability goal.
    We are in the turning point of human evolution when food chase man for profit and we are not even intelligent enough to run away even less to do some minimum work out to protect a healthy functioning of our physiology.
    There is no such obesity level in Ethiopia as food is kind of scarce there. Also, ‘undeveloped’ humans like those uncontacted tribes in the Amazon are so behind that their obesity level indeed is ZERO.
    As humans we are born to solve problems we face. This spreading obesity will be fixed down the line but it may take some decades or centuries till the consequences of neglecting nature balance shows enough consequences to provide guidance of how bad it can become and how important is to pursue nature that respect nature functioning.
    This ruse of Ms. Livingston and Dr. Regina Benjamin General Surgeon is a clear portrait on how much awareness is employed to cope with an emerging problem that is going to hurt many for not paying attention on what is really important on our daily life.
    Sorry, there is no offense in science.
    Whenever you neglect Gravity, you fall down and get hurt. Screaming, shouting, cursing, laughing, yelling, or sobbing is not going to change or alleviate you pain.
    You learned to respect nature on your first steps to walk and survive in the landscape.
    As I read I see the toll that obesity is taking as coffins do not fit larger sizes, crematory cannot accommodate huge corpses, paramedics need cranes to handle big people, ambulances need reinforcement, and hospitals need large doors. Recently a 19 year old girl extremely obese had the wall of her house in UK broke down to let her visit a hospital as she was not passing through the door.

    Humans are intelligent and this is not supposed to be happening within our own understanding of reason and glare.

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