Turn Beauty Inside Out Conference

On April 18, 2005 I had the privilege to participate in the 2nd annual “Turn Beauty Inside Out” Conference held at the Universal Hilton in Los Angeles.  The purpose of “Turn Beauty Inside Out” (www.tbio.org)  is to “Promote healthy body image and expand the definition of what makes people beautiful!”

 

“Turn Beauty Inside Out” is sponsored by “Mind on the Media: inspiring independent thinking and fostering critical analysis of media messages.” (For more information visit www.tbio.org or email tbio@mindonthemedia.org).

 

Actionist Manifesto

 

Before the panel I was to be part of started*, I sat in on one of the sessions between entertainment and advertising professionals and the young women, mostly adolescents, who were present. At the end they came up with an Actionist Manifesto: a list of what they would like entertainment and advertising executives to do to make better media and what they can do regarding how entertainment media represents girls and young women. Here are the lists, from my notes.

 

                           The TBIO 2005 Actionist Manifesto

 

What girls want to see from entertainment and advertising executives:

 

               Women with clothes on

         Girls wearing age-appropriate clothing

         More ethnic diversity on television and in movies; we want to see ourselves, not only in black and white but with diverse hair types and bodies with different shapes, sizes

         More athletic women, toned and strong; we are tired of flimsy, stick-figured women and girls

         Women who are not so perfect, like when they wake up from bed; show sweat running from their faces; more realistic images of women and girls

         We are sick of stereotypes; the way it is, if you are black you have to act in a certain way; we don’t want to see black women cursing or acting goofy for no reason

         Different cultures

         Real life

         Women in politics

         Girls doing age-appropriate things; real 15 year-olds for example

         More independent women; non-girly and girls who are courageous, honest and bold, confident and intelligent

         More complex girls who live in real families and respect their parents

         Female characters with personalities we can relate to – with character flaws

         Smart girls who are empowered and can say what they think

         Listen more to your audiences

         Take responsibility for your shows, movies and ads

–    Find stories that are not being told

 

What girls can do regarding entertainment media and advertising:

 

         Write to actresses and express likes and dislikes

         Write letters to studios expressing likes and dislikes and why

         Girl-cott a show or a product; find ways to raise our voices and be heard

         Support the shows we like; tell our friends, write letters to actresses, studios, networks

         Log-on and tell executives why we like or don’t like their shows

         Don’t support movies with negative images and messages

         Write or call when we like a movie or show

         Teach others how to respond to entertainment and advertising media

–     Identtify and follow your passion

–     Patronize movies about girls, like Because of Winn-Dixie and Raise Your Voice; shows like Joan of Arcadia that have characters like Grace; a movie like Bend It Like Beckham that shows girls who break the rules, take risks and respect their family.

 

My remarks for the panel discussion on Media and Social Change can be found at http://www.daughtersofstpaul.com/mediastudies/articles/index.html

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