The following letter is addressed to parents and family members of all children. Since having children, Geena Davis noticed a theme in television messages sent to children — specifically how the media portrays girls and women in a negative light. While many people think there is no connection between kids’ self esteem and the images they view in all television and movie depictions of men and women, Davis, via her Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, uses research to show that there is a direct influence between what children see and how they in turn look upon themselves and one another. Media images as they exist today affect girls’ self-esteem, self-image, and sense of empowerment — all in a subversive and negative way. This is a great cause that we should all be taking part in.
Here’s a video called “Guess Who?” which talks about how kids learn gender stereotypes based on what they see on TV:
Here’s Geena Davis’ call of action:
Please take action today to affect how girls and women are portrayed in the media, one of the most powerful forces shaping girl’s perception of themselves and their role in society. Exposure to negative images in the media impact self-esteem, academic performance, body image, and social and cultural behaviors and beliefs – all of which ultimately impact future life and occupational choices for women.
Here are some ways you can help:
- Sign up for the Institute’s Smart Brief on Gender in Media, a free weekly briefing on the important issues in gender in media.
- Get involved in one of our educational classroom outreach programs designed to inform and empower. View the first video in our children’s educational video series. This video debuted in 8,500 middle and high schools reaching 6 million students via Channel One. In 2012, this series will be expanded and launched in partnership with ITVS and PBS’s Women and Girls Lead campaign.
- Become an active contributor in the pursuit of gender equality today. Make a donation. Every dollar helps us fund research and educational outreach efforts that will make a difference for girls.
We’re building substantial momentum for our work within the entertainment industry and externally with parents, teachers and children. Our message is being heard – producers and directors have told us that our research and outreach to the entertainment industry has resulted in changes to upcoming projects to include more female lead and supporting characters. Our research has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Wall Street Journal, Variety, CNN and MSNBC — accumulating 1 billion viewer impressions.
We’ve been told that our work has a ripple effect. We need to turn the ripple into a tidal wave and we can only do that with support from people like you. Please join me today by donating or becoming a member of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.