And women die for
Two items this week highlight the urgent need for cultural change, a complete revolution.
Unfortunately the word Revolution gets thrown around a lot and watered down in the process. However it has been defined as:
(n) revolution (a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving)
We insist on and push for drastic and far-reaching change in the way our culture portrays and values women. The oppressive, you-will-never-be-good-enough-unless-you-look-like-this beauty industry needs to back off. The sexist, degrading and pornified advertising along with the wallpapering of pornography in the public space needs to stop. We will not compromise by accepting half-hearted, protect-the-beauty-industry body image initiatives in place of the radical change really needed. Why? Because girls are harmed and women are dying. Literally.
The Beauty Trap
First we bring to your attention a segment on the most recent episode of 60 minutes, The Beauty Trap.
Melinda Tankard Reist wrote about it this week:
The program tells the tragic story of Lauren James, who died three years ago at the age of 26 following an $8000 liposuction procedure on her thighs in a Melbourne clinic. We hear from her bereft parents and boyfriend.
It also tells the story of Kerry who suffered life-long disfigurement as a result of undergoing a breast lift as part of a $25,000 “Mum’s Makeover”, also in Melbourne. Kerry bravely tells her story and shows the extent of the mutilation of both her breasts.
Read the rest of the article and watch the 60 minutes segment here.
Baby Beauty Queens
The second article from the Sydney Morning Herald relates to an upcoming BBC documentary, Baby Beauty Queens, which airs tonight on ABC 2 at 8.30pm. (September 1)
The moment you meet nine-year-old Madison and her mother, Moya, you sense that something's not quite right. The guy in the sky has apparently given Madison an opportunity to prove herself, so here she is covering her young self in fake tan, glitter and acrylic nails in the hope of winning Britain's first pre-teen beauty pageant.
Nine-year-old Tyla has already undergone cosmetic surgery at the urging of her mother, who believes her child is ugly. Seven-year-old Sasha has been roped in by her mother, who describes her daughter as "unusual" and reckons modelling will compensate for her learning difficulties and give her a break in life.
These young girls have learned the lesson taught by the toxic culture - a woman's value is tied up with how she looks, her appearance is what counts, not her health and well being. What is so tragic is that the adults in her life have affirmed this as true, encouraged it and hope to capitalise on it.
And who in their right mind performs cosmetic surgery on a little girl?
So, what can we do?
Stay connected with Collective Shout as we continue to challenge the culture by naming and shaming those who use the bodies of women and girls to sell product, who propagate body shame, self hatred and self harm in order to sell products. They must be held accountable.
Support and promote those working with our young people, who encourage, support, educate and empower them. Some of these people and organisations can be found in the 'interesting links' on our home page, however we will also feature more information about them in upcoming blog posts.
Connect, love and affirm the women and girls in your life. Throw away the gossip magazines, do away with a focus on 'beauty.' Affirm and appreciate the enduring qualities of a person; love, respect, generosity, patience, kindness, humour, loyalty, compassion. Lets teach our daughters and sisters that they are valued simply for who they are, not how they look.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.