1. There was a ton of information, and I'm still processing much of it.
2. I want to give more than 5 minutes to relaying some of the concepts and studies that were presented.
One thing that I took away was a sense of community, the knowledge of many individuals and organizations who take marketing to children and its effects quite seriously, who study it, and who work for change. The work for change part is where I seem to get stuck. I feel this often, and hear it often when I talk to other parents: It sucks, it's affected our family, but what can you do?
The problem is so pervasive, and so much bigger than one person.
But, small steps count, and my goal is to begin to take some small steps. Not things that will revolutionize the world, not steps that will solve the problem, but action that will make me an active dissenter to what has been permitted to happen with media and children. Steps that will alleviate some of the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness when thinking about the problem.
I met an artist named Lillian Hsu. She began an initiative called
BEAUTIFUL Just The Way You Are.
It is a simple action: you take one of these bright posters
and place it in front of magazine covers featuring all-too-familiar representations of glam-only objectified female bodies. Her point: Intervene and interrupt the auto-absorption process that makes smart women feel inadequate if they aren't skinny with perfect teeth and skin.
As Hsu puts it: "Before we are ten, and then without pause throughout our lives, we internalize the lesson that our bodies are how we will be first judged as individuals, and that there is a body type that we must attain to be judged worthy of attention."
Hsu encourages people to place a poster "over every stack of magazines that uses the female body to sell something - to sell the magazine, or to sell an article, or to sell a product, or to sell a lifestyle, or to sell a promise, or to sell the idea that you need to match your body to the picture."
Can you imagine standing in the checkout line, your eyes scanning the glossy covers, or the tabloid covers, and seeing that message, Hey you! You're BEAUTIFUL! Just the way you are.
You can go to the website, order the heavy paper copy (free), or print your own.
I have about 100 posters. And I can't wait to get started.