A short post, but I can’t stop thinking about this.
The “The more you add, the more you subtract” reading describes the magazine Seventeen as “a magazine aimed at girls about twelve to fifteen.”
Why is the magazine called Seventeen if it’s not aimed for girls who are actually seventeen? (Side note: *I’m* seventeen, and it’s really weird to think that this magazine is being read by girls who are 2-5 years younger than me. That’s 8th grade/early high school age. I was a completely different kid back then…)
I’m not saying that 12-15 year olds can’t be as mature as a 17 year old, or that 17 year olds can’t be as immature as a 12-15 year old. But the magazine is specifically marketed towards younger girls, so that they can seem… older? So they can be prepared for the trials and tribulations of fashion, makeup, relationships, etc. that all apparently come with the transition from “teenage girl” to “young adult woman?”
The reading also goes on to describe the different kinds of advertising that goes into magazines such as these, which promote unhealthy ideals for girls such as “makeup will make you perfect” and even the idea of having to be “perfect.”
(Originally posted as a comment on this blog, I thought it was long enough to warrant its own post here.)
It’s hard to regulate media content (on a federal level) without straying into censorship. Perhaps the reason why lawmakers or the FCC are so reluctant to make policy changes is because they don’t have the power to bar certain types of content from airing, as that would be an infringement of freedom of speech. If the government had the power to remove TV programs deemed “unappropriate” for moral reasons, you can see what could potentially result from that.
Therefore, it is up to the TV networks to decide what content to show. The government could probably give “guidelines” or “suggestions” but banning specific things from being shown (“no excessive violence,” “no anti-religious themes,” or “no homosexual relationships”) could potentially be problematic as well as an overreach of government power.
But the 1st Amendment also gives us the right to complain about content that is racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. One of my favorite quotes is “freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.” While the government cannot (and should not) restrict what people choose to say, we as viewers/consumers of content are free to criticize content (and creators) we disapprove of, as well as support content/creators that promote messages we agree with.
I watched the movie last semester during my freshman seminar on women leadership. Watching it again so soon let me have more time to reflect on the examples given, because I was more familiar with them.
I had similar reactions both times. I was angry at the people and companies who promote sexist ideas, especially if they’re trying to make money using those ideas. The movie clearly showed how advertising has capitalized on women’s bodies to sell products to both men (beer commercials) and women (fashion/makeup commercials). I also felt disheartened when they showed how young children (both boys and girls) received these messages and how it influenced their behaviors. This is why it’s important to monitor what is said on TV, on the internet, and also in real life. Words and messages have the power to leave lasting impressions on people, and especially children and young adults who often rely on outside sources in the world around them to shape their views and ideals.