Protesting Sexualization: Young women say, "It’s not sexy!"

On Friday I was in New York for the SPARK Summit, a gathering of young women activists and their adult supporters. It was a treat to see so many teens speaking out against the barrage of sexualized images of females in tv programs, movies, video games, print ads and just about everywhere they look. These are girls who will not be participating in their own exploitation.

Some snapshots of the day:

Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of Women, Action and the Media, at the WAM station collecting letters to the stars of the popular teen TV show Glee about their sexualized photo shoot in GQ. Teens are angry that the female singing idols of this inclusive, intelligent show chose to turn themselves into objectified charicatures. So disappointing. Note that the male star is depicted fully clothed, retaining his dignity, and not displaying his body in a ridiculous and embarrassing pose. 

These young men were collecting questions from women addressed to men about sexualization, such as this one: “What do you feel you can do to get other men and boys to confront and fight sexism and misogyny?” which Steven (right) live-tweeted during the conference. See his post about the event here.

Geena Davis, keynote speaker, said it was after making the movie Thelma and Louise (one of my faves) that she realized women have so few opportunities to come out of a movie theater feeling inspired and good about themselves. They don’t often get to see themselves as the heroine of the story,  to “have control of their destiny.” So this weekend I went out to see Secretariat. Great movie. Strong female protagonist. It felt good.

For more on the SPARK Summit:
Alternet
Mamarazzi Knows Best

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