I think that blaming the media for how women perceive themselves is nothing but a cop-out. It is my opinion as a woman who doesn’t buy into the idea that I should be all glammed up for people to like me, that we have to take responsibility for ourselves and how we feel about our bodies and our looks. But then again, it has occurred to me that there is a pattern in my preference of television shows.
I grew up in the generation of the WB, what is now the CW. I never watched Seventh Heaven or anything like that. I preferred shows like Gilmore Girls and in fourth grade, I was introduced to this little show called Charmed. Fifth grade came around and I was hooked, recording every episode until the finale four years later. In sixth grade, I watched Birds of Prey, which only lasted for one season. And I recorded all but one episode of that. Somewhere along the line, I saw glimpses of this show called Witchblade. I’m currently obsessed with Sex and the City, it is my chocolate. I love Lipstick Jungle and my current show that I watch every week is Lost Girl. If you’re familiar with all of these shows, can you tell me the common denominator? I’ll give you a cookie.
Women lead these shows. Every last one of them. If it’s supernatural or just career women in NYC, all of those shows have strong women at the helm. This is what I gravitated towards. It is what I came up watching. It is what influenced me and is still influencing me. Take no shit. Do what you feel is right and when you’re knocked down, always come back up swinging. Find love. Be happy. I learned from these women, maybe even more so than from my own mother. But when they screwed up or did something wrong, I also saw them pay the consequences.
Is it any wonder I call myself a feminist these days? Even as a pimply faced teenager…
Even though the shows I’ve watched over the years have influenced me, I would like to think that I can still be independent of them, of what they say a woman should be. I know that not everything Carrie says I agree with. I certainly don’t like everything the women of any of these shows wear. That is, I don’t see it and automatically think that’s how I need to dress/look.
Some might say that I am eclectic Pagan, which means that I pick and choose what suits me. Maybe the same is true of the media I get interested in. And that is how I justify saying that blaming the media for girls starving themselves to death is a cop-out. It’s time we take responsibility for ourselves. It’s time that we take responsibility for the way our daughters see themselves. It is one of the first things that I’ve realized I want to teach my children – self-worth. What we see on the screen can influence us, but we can’t let it rule us. Just like we can’t let the opinions of others dictate how we feel about ourselves. And it starts while we’re young.