June 10, 2007

Write a Letter

Today's Sunday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle featured this story on the front page of the Style section: Group Weighs in on Advertising Impact.

"You don't have to be a radically minded person to change the way that women and girls feel about themselves. You don't even have to consider yourself a feminist. You just have to know what bothers you and what doesn't and do something about it."
-- Jennifer Berger, Executive Director, About Face

Purple WomenTM and their non-purple friends who are raising daughters will appreciate what this organization is trying to do. Have you ever been standing in line at the grocery store and tried not to look at all the demeaning women's magazines that are offered there? They focus on an ideal image of beauty that we cannot all possibly meet. Well, this organization aims to do something about it. We are consumers all, and we make choices every day that support the hidden messages that are embedded in these headlines, articles, and ads. We decide to shop at that store, to buy that magazine, etc.

Puleeeeeease, don't buy these magazines! Make a donation to About Face (www.about-face.org) instead, and write a letter to the publisher, or better yet to the manager of the store. About Face is going into schools to educate future consumers, all in the name of building self-esteem for young women. Bravo!

Ladies, it's time we re-write that nursery rhyme,

First comes love, then come marriage...

...and then comes whatever the hell you want. (Pardon my French.) And, if you don't believe that, then somewhere along the way, the system has failed you -- your family unit, your schools, your community, publishers of women's magazines, and TV magnates -- society at large perhaps.

The official website associated with this blog (www.PurpleWomen.org) will evolve in this advocacy direction, and we can take a lesson or two from the advocacy pages on the About Face website. There are lots of examples of letters that have been sent and a few responses from the producers of the offensive advertisments. I have always believed in the power of a well-directed letter. As we continue to examine how childfree women are portrayed in the media, we can blog about it here, and we can also write letters.

They say one well-written letter is worth 100 people behind it who feel the same way. Every politician knows this. So, where do we begin? In the U.S. we are coming up on an election year. Let's keep an eye out for our first collaborative effort. Purple WomenTM, let's weigh in -- remember, you don't have to be a radical feminist to do it!

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Expensive gym said...
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LauraS said...

Purple women come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Sometimes we look like our mothers, sometimes we look like Aunt Beatrice.
In order to choose to remain childfree, I had to abandon gender stereotypes and be the person I was meant to be, a happily me-me, cosmetic-surgery free (true for now), safe-in-my-skin me. I wish that for all.

emeraldwednesday said...

Great post, and a wonderful reminder for me.
One thing I found interesting, though, is the sort of self-deprecating use of the word "feminist". It's gotten a bad rap/stereotype lately, but I think we need to reclaim it. There are many types of feminists, just as there are many shades of Purple. You can wear heels and lipstick, be in relationships with men, speak your opinions in a quiet voice, like pink... and still be a feminist. To me, the only requirement for considering oneself a feminist is considering oneself to be a man's equal, and as deserving the same respect.
It's time to stop considering "feminism" as "the other F-word".

Teri said...

The first comment was deleted as it was pure spam - aaaaaaeeeeiiii!

LauraS - I know you'd rather spend that extra money on golf fees.

EmeraldWednesday - Yes, I agree about the other F-term. I almost take it for granted. Where did it go wrong? I never did take a women's studies class in college...not too late I suppose! What I think is interesting is that by my definition, I believe women who acknowledge their decision in being childfree are feminists, by definition, whether they think so or not. From my experience, that is how we are viewed as well, even if we are as close to the traditional SAHM model as we can get, sans the kids, of course. That would be me to a tee.

Oh and here's a hint for growing old gracefully, without Botox or tucks, just smile. It's a great way to camouflage those smiles lines. People will be too distracted wondering why you are grinning to notice anything else. Heck,they may even say "howdy".

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, anyone who looks to edited, heavily-airbrushed actresses/models in maganzines has self-worth issues far beyond what can be remedied by letter-writing, etc. Body image standards are not just a product of what we see on the newsstands..culture has a lot to do with it(African-American and Latino/Hispanic/Chicano women and girls have much lower eating disorder rates. Why? Both cultures emphasize appreciation for whole self instead of just narrow physical standards).

These maganzines are here to stay. Instead of making them "go away" vis a vis letter writing, etc., Women and girls need to be taught that these mags represent a false ideal, and to look at them and see them for what they are: entertainment, and not a yardstick for self-worth.

Personally, I'd like to see more energy focused on educating females that their bodies are more than just incubators for "future children." That's why it's so gratifying for me to see a lot of young girls and women participating in the arts and in sports..they are learning that their bodies can be an instrument for good health and accomplishment over and above reproduction.

I see those publications in the store, and I laugh. sometimes I even buy one...I don't take them seriously at all.

If a womann elects to grow old gracefully, right on. If she also elects to have cosmetic surgery, I say "go for it." If she does either to please herself and herself only, there's no arguing with that.

We become victims of cultural imperative only if we allow ourselves to.

-AlphaGirl(blogger i.d. still not working)