Government to the rescue: Saving young women from low self body image

posted at 7:15 pm on July 13, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) have teamed with actress Geena Davis and the Girl Scouts of America to introduce and promote the Healthy Media for Youth Act, a bill to facilitate research on how the media affects women, create a grant program for youth empowerment groups and establish a National Taskforce on Women and Girls in the Media to set standards ”that promote healthy, balanced, and positive images of girls and women.”

“Children are consuming more media than ever, but unfortunately, the images they see often reinforce gender stereotypes, emphasize unrealistic body images or show women in passive roles. The need for more positive images of girls in the media is clear,” said Baldwin. “I’m proud to sponsor legislation that will help girls and young women see themselves in a new and stronger light.”

A press release about the event cited a survey from the Girl Scout Research Institute, which found that 89 percent of girls say the fashion industry pressures them to be skinny. The release also pointed to a 2007 report from the the American Psychological Association, which showed that eating disorders, depression and low self-esteem “are linked to the sexualization of girls and women in media.”

“I am proud to join with Sen. Hagan and Rep. Baldwin to promote gender equality, and positive portrayals of women and girls in the media,” said Davis, whose Institute of Gender in Media found that male characters outnumber female characters nearly three to one in family films and television. The discrepancy grows to five to one in background or group scenes. Further, only 27 percent of speaking characters are women.

It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to the problem. I just don’t think it’s the government’s role to solve it. By all means, Ms. Hagan and Ms. Baldwin, feel free in your free time (i.e. not on the taxpayers’ dime!) to lobby advertisers, TV and movie producers, magazine editors and others to feature “healthier” images of women. Buy Dove products to reward their “Real Beauty” campaign. Give speeches to middle school girls. Or, copy First Lady Michele Obama and conspicuously order high-calorie shakes so anybody watching knows it’s OK to be less-than-skinny (just not OK to be obese!).

However well-intentioned, this sort of legislation — just like recently proposed voluntary guidelines for marketing food to children — misses the mark. It reflects a kind of utopianism, a naive faith in the power of government to solve problems and a surprising absolution of parents and guardians, who bear ultimate responsibility for what media children are allowed to consume.


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It’s like they think they can run everyone else’s life better than the person. GET OUT OF OUR LIVES!!!

UnderstandingisPower on July 13, 2011 at 7:18 PM

I’m sure Obama would be happy to guarantee funding for similar programs after August 2, even if it means not sending Social Security checks to our senior seasoned citizens.

steebo77 on July 13, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Don’t need government if you have good parents, and if you have good government, you’ll have good parents.

blatantblue on July 13, 2011 at 7:18 PM

That last paragraph was very good Tina!..:)

Dire Straits on July 13, 2011 at 7:18 PM

How many seniors will not get their Social Security checks to pay for this…?

Seven Percent Solution on July 13, 2011 at 7:20 PM

.

Will plastic surgery and boob jobs be included?

Knucklehead on July 13, 2011 at 7:21 PM

Alternatively, parents could opt not to allow their children – but daughters especially – unrestricted access to the internet. Doesnt solve all low self/body images problems, but it will certainly slow the angst.

Jeddite on July 13, 2011 at 7:22 PM

The Dem’s just don’t get it…..STOP SPENDING OUR MONEY!!!!, especially on things the government should not be involved in to begin with.

ILUVTX on July 13, 2011 at 7:23 PM

You could just as well say the images in the media should reflect reality, rather than images “that promote healthy, balanced, and positive images of girls and women”. Isn’t it a matter of taste what images should be portrayed? Are stressed, unbalanced, and bad-girl images of girls and women now to be discouraged? So much for the Charly character played by Geena Davis in the 1996 movie “The Long Kiss Goodnight” (which was a great action flick) who was a sexually promiscuous cold-blooded killer. Not healthy, not balanced, not positive. Not at all!

Paul-Cincy on July 13, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Ladies, confidence is sexy.

If you need someone to tell you everything will be ok no matter when you look like, you will not be confident.

Lack of confidence is never good looking.

So, in short, this program will spend millions and have the opposite effect of its intent.

Sgt Steve on July 13, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Geena Davis who once starred in “Earth Girls Are Easy” now wants to preach to everyone about female image.

Ooooooo……k

Bishop on July 13, 2011 at 7:28 PM

By all means, Ms. Hagan and Ms. Baldwin, feel free in your free time (i.e. not on the taxpayers’ dime!) to lobby advertisers, TV and movie producers, magazine editors and others to feature “healthier” images of women.

Great point, Tina!

Congress needs to stop spending money the taxpayers haven’t even earned yet!

wren on July 13, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Well, if it’s one thing this country needs, it’s more programs aimed at problems created by, aimed at and providing funding for women. Some day, XYs will get funding for something that doesn’t involve the penal system, no? Oh wait – that would be unfair.

elcapt on July 13, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Another one of the Go-Zillion taxpayer funded BS programs WE JUST CAN’T DO WITHOUT||!|!

BigWyo on July 13, 2011 at 7:29 PM

It’s hard to be a Democrat. Not just anyone can push the theory of millions of children in the U.S. going to bed hungry while waking up obese. I. AM. SOMEBODY. I’M OKAY, YOU’RE OKAY!!!!

Cindy Munford on July 13, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Why not just have Allah volunteer to date all these women. Ace can fill in when Allah needs a break.

Then again, that might depress these women even more.

Mr. Joe on July 13, 2011 at 7:30 PM

By no means would this program be defunded if America goes into default, but Granny, you’re might as well strap on your seatbelt because it’s a long way down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Bishop on July 13, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Mooochelle’s ‘nutrition initiative’-with its emphasis on weight, fat grams, BMI’s and calories-is going to do NOTHING to help the body images of young women and a lot to hurt them.
The government could do the most good by BUTTING OUT of peoples lives!
*I’ve battled an eating disorder since 1986 btw*

annoyinglittletwerp on July 13, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Or, copy First Lady Michele Obama and conspicuously order high-calorie shakes so anybody watching knows it’s OK to be less-than-skinny (just not OK to be obese!).

I love how the government perpetuates its own problems. First it spends money telling everybody what to eat because they’re too fat, then it spends money trying to raise girls’ self esteem because someone (I wonder who) told them they were fat.

I think I know how to solve both problems at once.

Caiwyn on July 13, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Come on you parsimonius scolds. It’s only a few billion dollars. On Obama’s scale of spending, we can find that in the federal couch cushions!

Is that too much to pay to give the ladies a bit of self esteem?

Cicero43 on July 13, 2011 at 7:37 PM

*I’ve battled an eating disorder since 1986 btw*
annoyinglittletwerp on July 13, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Me too. BBQ ribs just call to me, they CALL to me like Sirens. I’m helpless in their presence.

Bishop on July 13, 2011 at 7:38 PM

yes get fat, bitzes. And then wonder why no one loves you.

joeindc44 on July 13, 2011 at 7:39 PM

You vill haf a good body image…OR ELSE!

Lily on July 13, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Now where are Girls Scout cookies?

lowandslow on July 13, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Well, as a guy who observes women and appreciates
their beauty, what am I to understand here?
There is a problem of youth obesity, they say, and
a problem of encouraging girls to be svelt and not obese.

So, which bogeypersons are we to go after? The ones who
entice our girls to bulk up through their food offerings?
Or, the ones who send those deadly fashion signals
for them to be lean and mean lovin’ machines?

Even the FLOTUS, that lovely whatever, sends out the
same conflicting signals. Vegetable garden darlin’
on the one hand, a Shake Shack cheeseburger eatin’
bubble butted babe on the other.

What’s a girl to do?

TXUS on July 13, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Now where are those Girls Scout cookies?

lowandslow on July 13, 2011 at 7:44 PM

Bishop on July 13, 2011 at 7:38 PM

LoL

I worship @ the altar of the Frappucino God!
*good thing the god is appeased by too much walking.*

annoyinglittletwerp on July 13, 2011 at 7:45 PM

You’re on a roll today Tina… :-)
Government is not the answer, government is the problem. Never in my lifetime has that been more apparent than right now.

Keemo on July 13, 2011 at 7:46 PM

2014, Kay Hagan. 2014! Yeah, I’m already ready.

SouthernGent on July 13, 2011 at 7:47 PM

In a Hollywood that thinks “ugly” womem in anything besides comedy or scary/psychotic roles are just hot girls dressed up funny and with glasses and an offbeat hairdo, good luck to Geena and the gals at getting them to change their idea of what types of body images they put on-screen.

If they wamt to give it a shot on their own dime, fine, but my guess is they’re not even going to ask Obama to harangue Hollywood about it the next time he’s out on the west coast on a campaign fundraising swing (and even if they did, Barack and Michelle wouldn’t make a major issue out of it to their sugar daddies).

jon1979 on July 13, 2011 at 7:47 PM

“I am proud to join with Sen. Hagan and Rep. Baldwin to promote gender equality, and positive portrayals of women and girls in the media,” said Davis

More fat chicks in movies. What is that supposed to accomplish?

It’s like the government mandated better gas efficiency, and then people were able to afford larger vehicles. In this case, the discrepancy between Hollywood figures and government mandated body shapes in the same movie will be even more compelling to girls to make them want to throw up.

pedestrian on July 13, 2011 at 7:48 PM

This isn’t just a problem with girls, and it’s a consequence of technology (too much time spent indoors on TV, computer games, and texting; doing away with school recesses; lack of educational emphasis on the benefits of exercise), not a problem for government to solve. If Michelle Obama wanted to concentrate on childhood obesity as her First Lady issue, she should have included basic physical activity along with the vegetable gardens and calorie-nagging.

But, honestly, I don’t think that’s her thing. People should stop looking at her arms and take a gander at her ass.

RebeccaH on July 13, 2011 at 7:50 PM

We need a Title IX for Hollywood. And please have them redo “Private Ryan”, and give half the soldiers big breasts and long hair.

exhelodrvr on July 13, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Even the FLOTUS, that lovely whatever, sends out the
same conflicting signals. Vegetable garden darlin’
on the one hand, a Shake Shack cheeseburger eatin’
bubble butted babe on the other.

What’s a girl to do?

TXUS on July 13, 2011 at 7:44 PM

+1000 on that

chewmeister on July 13, 2011 at 7:54 PM

I guess the Girl Scouts have now been taken over by radical Leftists. Such a shame.

faraway on July 13, 2011 at 7:55 PM

“Children are consuming more media than ever

No, I think they are consuming more sodas and Big Macs than ever.

I was quite a porky individual when I was young. It’s now considered “bullying” (In retrospect, I realize it was a dose of real life) but I was called a fat-ass often and for years. I never considered going Columbine when I was taunted, but ultimately, there comes a time when you decide to stop it. So I did. I lost weight and made better choices about my lifestyle.
How about we instead let kids thicken up their skin a little bit and encourage and support them to learn the fulfilling lessons of rewards and consequences for one’s own actions.

Gunslinger on July 13, 2011 at 7:56 PM

By all means, Ms. Hagan and Ms. Baldwin, feel free in your free time (i.e. not on the taxpayers’ dime!) to lobby advertisers, TV and movie producers, magazine editors and others to feature “healthier” images of women

Like that will happen. Remember, these are liberals we’re talking about here. Knowing Baldwin, it will be something about how to raise your self esteem by becoming a lesbian.

chewmeister on July 13, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Their first event will be having the Girl Scouts join a Slut Walk.

RedRedRice on July 13, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Honestly, don’t these two dimwit Dems have anything better to do?

lynncgb on July 13, 2011 at 8:04 PM

My God…and they wonder why we are $15,000,000,000.00 dollars in debt…..this garbage is not a Government’s role and never was….

let filthy rich Liberal Geena pay for it!!!!!!!!!

SDarchitect on July 13, 2011 at 8:06 PM

, a bill to facilitate research on how the media affects women, create a grant program for youth empowerment groups and establish a National Taskforce on Women and Girls in the Media to set standards ”that promote healthy, balanced, and positive images of girls and women

OMG. This issue has been studied to death. In my kids’ high school, about 25% of senior projects this year reported on some aspect of teenage body issues and the media. There is no need to spend any money to ‘discover’ that the media effects girls, and no government program will ever ‘empower’ teenage girls. High school health classes already cover eating disorders, etc. There is NOTHING for a “National Task Force” to do except waste more taxpayer money.

LASue on July 13, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Perhaps “Bags” Pelosi can do a public service video on the advantages of Botox.

Dhuka on July 13, 2011 at 8:26 PM

Geena Davis? How much has she spent on plastic surgery?

CW on July 13, 2011 at 8:39 PM

This is a good place to start cutting unnecessary government spending.

Cut out all the frills.

Reduce Federal spending to only the essential governmental functions.

slp on July 13, 2011 at 9:15 PM

Miss Korbe, may I suggest that women have an opportunity to (just as easily) take this cause OUT of the hands of government, through more aggressive private efforts. Perhaps one reason that government presumes a need, is that its fulfillment is found wanting. If every woman reading this blog (please tell me you’re not all men) were to make their contribution in the areas you suggest, how much less relevant would any effort by the government be?

manwithblackhat on July 13, 2011 at 9:49 PM

In the quest for Equality, we really should just pass a law requiring women to have DD cup sizes and 23 in wastes.

Just saying.

esnap on July 13, 2011 at 10:05 PM

Geena Davis, didn’t she play the President on TV for 10 minutes?

So once again, the role of parents isn’t even considered when evaluating potential solutions to “problems”. If a child grows up with a bad self-image, there can be a great many possible influences, but parents are supposed to be the largest. Too many have been brainwashed into abdicating their role as the primary teachers of their children, leaving it up to the government schools and the media the kids are consuming too much of.

Parents are all too often at fault (not every single time, so I don’t care to hear about the odd outlier case). But that doesn’t give government either the authority or the ability to be effective in their place. A cursory review of their track record at regulating ANYTHING reveals this to be true.

Parents, love your children properly. That happens to include being thoughtful of their physical as well as emotional health.

Freelancer on July 13, 2011 at 10:16 PM

And step two for these liberals will be to somehow entwine the Girls Scouts with Planned Parenthood, all for the children of course.

RJL on July 13, 2011 at 10:39 PM

Hokum, twaddle and poo.

Mason on July 13, 2011 at 11:58 PM

In a nation where most girls aren’t exercising and are living off of cheap grains and snacks, perhaps some poor body image is what is needed. Many girls (and boys as well) have absolutely no reason to feel good about their bodies, so why should they?

jollycynic on July 14, 2011 at 7:01 AM

How is what you are saying not, we the people have no right to use our government as we see fit?
You are certainly right about people acting outside the government.
You are certainly right about your right to disagree with the use of the government.
Monitoring the fashion industry to make sure it stays healthy?
When was it healthy?

Observation on July 14, 2011 at 7:10 AM

We can’t afford this. Period. Time for parents to do their job and teach their kids how to survive in the world.

gator70 on July 14, 2011 at 8:10 AM

It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to the problem. I just don’t think it’s the government’s role to solve it. – Tina K

Bingo. Great call, Tina. This is the idiot left “passing legislation” to pander to the screaming nitwit left’s calls to “do something!!!”

This is not the government’s problem or concern.

Jaibones on July 14, 2011 at 9:15 AM

I always love how they miss the obvious answers – which is to lend your personal time, energy and funds to local organizations which are already promoting those ideas. While it’s nice to be the face of a National Campaign, you make the most impact by working directly with the kids you want to reach and encouraging your friends to do the same.

I work directly with Texas 4-H who’s programs include a variety of projects with encourage kids to get involved and become leaders. It’s pretty cool to watch kids emerge from quiet reluctant participants to getting on stage in front of several thousand of their peers as State Officers. Just yesterday, I saw a feature on how popular women’s soccer is with teenage girls but that it needs more sponsorship and community support. There are already hundreds of successful programs offered through the US Tennis Association, the PGA, Women in the Outdoors, the NRA, the Girl Scouts, Camp Fire USA – they just need people to go out and get involved in them.

2nd Ammendment Mother on July 14, 2011 at 1:56 PM

Seriously. It’s not young women who need to be saved from “low self body image.”

Government solution mistargeted as usual.

J.E. Dyer on July 14, 2011 at 2:30 PM