Why do certain advertisements have such a powerful effect on me? How can I move past allowing them to affect me in such a negative and disturbing way? What can I learn from my response to the cultural images we see in the media regarding women?
We are in-between days of hosting a Girls on the Run national training in our office. Five new communities represented by 16 fabulous women are in town learning all about how to start, implement and sustain a Girls on the Run council in their regions. The mood is always upbeat, positive and filled with hope.
Several weeks ago at our annual Girls on the Run summit, one of our keynote speakers was Jean Kilbourne. Ms. Kilbourne is a pioneer for women’s rights, bringing to light how images in advertising affect a young girl’s psyche and her development. I have to say that in many ways, while her presentation and its content are necessary to share with the world, it was a real downer.
It’s been fourteen years since I started Girls on the Run and it appears, based on her presentation, as if the images of women in advertising, music and the popular media are becoming more extreme (rather than less) with their depiction of women as sexual objects and victims of sexual crime.
I simply can’t wrap my hands around how to feel peace around this topic. This is, frankly, one of my “button-pushers.” How can anyone in the advertising industry, with clear conscious, create an advertisment such as this?
There are two “me’s” at work here. The human me is outraged. I tend to go right for the jugular and right to the front lines. How can anyone along the chain of this corporation allow an image such as this to enter real space and time? How is this okay?Surely someone along the path of the production and distribution of this ad, said, “Mmm. I’m not sure about this one.”
The higher me can distance myself from everything which is represented here and says,”Focus your efforts Molly, on those things, people and works that are good, enriching and uplifting. What you choose to see, is what becomes your reality.”
I’ve always felt this internal conflict between “out there” and “in here.” Many spiritual guides suggest that the “out there” is reflected upon and reacted to by what they term the “ego.” The “in here” which, when fully engaged, demonstrates love, compassion and understanding, is termed the soul, spirit, essence or Self. It is unaffected and “uninfected” by what lies outside of it.
As I age, I’m recognizing, at least for me where I am now, is that the balance I see in my life isn’t found in time management, more sleep, better nutrition and healthy excercise, but a balance or an acceptance of this spirit me and human me.
I just don’t know. I don’t like being SO affected by our culture’s portrayal of women in the media, music and pop culture and wonder if something else about this topic eludes me…something else that will bring me to peace…or a reconciliation of the outraged human me and this peaceful and compassionate loving spirit me.
My guess is…that many others feel this way…some of us still stewing in the anger of it all and others of us are past it. Then there are those of us in the middle, perhaps transitioning, seeing our anger toward it as an opportunity to move toward some sense of peace, forgivesness, acceptance or compassion.
All I know is, I’m in between. I must still be getting something out of being angered by it.
I’d love your comments. Where are you on this continuum? Or is there another continuum here I’m not even considering? Really. Thoughts, opinions and advice welcomed.