April 19, 2011
Want to see, at a glance, a summary of the messages boys and girls get every day about our expectations for them? Crystal Smith at The Achilles Effect analyzed the words used in television ads marketing toys to boys vs. the words used to market toys to girls. It won’t take more than one look to figure out which is which.
Battle vs. love. Competition and violence for boys vs. cooperation for girls. Competence for boys vs. style for girls.
Marketers are not just selling toys; they are selling a world where boys are strong and forceful, and girlhood is much more about how you look than what you do. Whether toy manufacturers create these gendered expectations or simply reflect the values of the broader culture, the messages are powerful. The average kid watches hundreds of television ads every week, from toddlerhood through teen years.
So, how many dating violence prevention campaigns do you think we have to run to balance this out? How many posters in high schools about equality in relationships will it take? Is there any way we can prevent domestic violence when this is the landscape we’re working with?
October 5, 2010
Another domestic violence awareness month is upon us. Oh yeah, and another breast cancer awareness month.
I cannot name two issues that strike more directly at the heart of every woman … and anyone who’s ever loved a woman.
But I mean, really? Who wants to be more aware of disease and violence? Personally, I am all too aware of these dismal, depressing things.
Cancer and domestic violence have flattened me with a 1-2 sucker punch. Unless you are a really good friend of mine, I don’t think you want to hear about the ravages of being bald, ashen, and exhausted from chemotherapy. And honest, you don’t want to know the horrific details about the domestic violence murder suicide in my family.
Trust me. You do not.
And I don’t blame you.
But how about the flip side? What if we focused on what could be and how to make that happen?
What if I came to you and said: “October is Women’s Health and Liberation Month?” How about we spend at least 31 days each year being aware of the possibilities?
The prospect of equality.
The dream of universal healthcare.
The vision of prevention (not early detection or intervention) for both cancer and domestic violence?
How about that?