We hosted a showing of the movie in New Bedford as part of a collaboration with other women's agencies to a packed house. Then we showed it to a group of middle school girls for a day long empowerment event with the YWCA and the AAUW. Lastly we showed the entire movie on campus for anyone on campus or in the community. The group of about 50 people was made up mostly of community women. Some of these were mothers who brought their daughters to see the movie. These young women were riled up by the movie.
I asked them who in the audience identified as feminists and as some of them raised their hands, one girl said "I do now!" This is my takeaway. If one 90 minute film is going to help a middle school or high school girl identify with feminism then I need to show it everywhere. I showed the movie to an 8th grade class the other day and while we were watching the clip, my college student who was there to help me lead the discussion whispered that she "feels that way too" in reference to women hating their bodies. I let out a big internal sigh. This woman already identifies with feminism and gets what the media is doing to us, but still can't separate the message from the way it feels on the inside. We need to start younger.
This is my new plan of action: take this movie to young women.
Here are just a few disturbing facts from the film.
- Women hold only 3% of clout positions in the mainstream media (telecommunications, entertainment, publishing and advertising).
- Women comprise 7% of directors and 13% of film writers in the top 250 grossing films.
- The United States is 90th in the world in terms of women in national legislatures.
- Women hold 17% of the seats in the House of Representatives (the equivalent body in Rwanda is 56.3% female).
- Women are merely 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs.
- About 25% of girls will experience teen dating violence.
- The number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on youth 18 or younger more than tripled from 1997 to 2007.
- Among youth 18 and younger, liposuctions nearly quadrupled between 1997 and 2007 and breast augmentations increased nearly six-fold in the same 10-year period.
- 65% of American women and girls report disordered eating behaviors.