On June 2, 2012, following a screening of the award-winning film MissRepresentation, we hosted action-oriented discussions with community leaders to delve into specific ways the community can better support girls and women in San Francisco.
Out of these discussions came concrete recommendations for creating long-term individual and community change.
Over the next few months we will share these recommendations with Bay Area decision makers. Join us in sharing these recommendations with your communities of influence.
GirlUP Town Hall Recommendations formatted pdf here.
OPPORTUNITIES TO CREATE INDIVIDUAL CHANGE
Become conscious consumers of media
- Have TV free nights or weeks.
- Boycott reality and other TV shows that are degrading to women.
- Talk with your kids and/or family about the TV shows and movies you watch so that everyone is actively critiquing the media.
- Utilize social media—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr—to spread healthy images of women as well as call out images that misrepresent women and girls.
- Share the healthy media commission activities (http://www.missrepresentation.org/resources/).
- Take pictures of advertisements and images around the city that degrade women and pass them on to friends and family for greater awareness.
Use your voice to foster change
- Use your power as a consumer. Tap into MissRepresentation.org’s #NotBuyingItCampaign (http://www.missrepresentation.org/take-action/notbuyingit/) to call out sexist media.
- Write to the media when you feel women are being misrepresented or degraded.
- Locally: Write to Clear Channel when you see an advertisement in a bus shelter that degrades women (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Stand up and speak out when someone makes a sexist remark.
- Do not participate in putting down women and girls.
- Be mindful of the language you use to describe women, men and relationships. Transform negative language to positive language (ex. bitch to empowered, awkward to mysterious).
- Speak out about inequities you face and stand up for your equality.
- Compliment women and girls in your life on their hard work and accomplishments rather than how they look or dress.
- Educate the men in your life about how they can be allies. Encourage men to present responsible models of masculinity for boys.
- Organize a screening of MissRepresentation within your community. Spread the message of the film to your friends and family and be a facilitator of discussions.
- Redefine and educate people about the true meaning of the word “feminism”. Make sure people understand that the discussion is about human rights as well as gender.
- Be a role model children; reach out to parents to help them be better role models.
- Ask girls around you to reflect: How and why does the media have an effect on me? What does an equal society look like?
- Use your purchasing power.
- Network with other feminists and people who champion women and girls.
- Collaborate with other women.
- Research companies before you buy stock and don’t invest in companies that sell products that degrade women.
- Be aware of the childcare you hire for your kids. Notice what images the childcare provider portrays and whether he or she is a good role model.
OPPORTUNITIES TO CREATE COMMUNITY CHANGE
Ensure these issues are taught early and often in schools
- • Bring education programs to all schools—public and private—that include learning about feminist principles, how to deal with sexist remarks, and how to review media images critically.
- • Utilize the Board of Education and School Boards to make an education program mandatory. Incorporate funding for the media curriculum into school districts.
- • Use student councils to raise awareness about sexism and the misrepresentation of women.
- • Encourage schools to have assemblies focused on women and girls issues and highlighting girls accomplishments.
- • Add gender equality education into sex education classes.
- • Institute mandatory dress codes to reduce bullying over social and economic status.
- • Add debating skills into the classroom and create city sponsored speech teams that email and call legislators to enact change on behalf of youth.
- • Teach with children’s books that incorporate topics such as gender equity, standing up for women, etc.; give children opportunities to see gender parity from an early age and give teach them how to be advocates for women and girls.
- • Create media literacy clubs that teach students to view media critically.
- • Demand that history textbooks incorporate women’s accomplishments so young girls can be inspired.
- • Contact Parent Teacher Associations for viewings and to spread the word. Work with PTA’s to advocate for changes in schools.
Encourage the use of unaltered and healthy images in magazines and advertisements
• Establish a minimum “healthy weight” for models that includes a minimum body-mass index. Support adoption of such policies as if a model who does not maintain this healthy weight, he or she cannot appear in an advertisements, photo spreads, editorials or on the runway.
• Create a new source of media, perhaps an app, magazine, newspaper or TV channel, dedicated to showing only positive images and stories about women
• Make it mandatory for companies and advertisers to disclose in writing when they Photoshop or airbrush an image.
• Organize petitions against magazines that show demeaning and fake images of women; asking them to remove demeaning images.
• Change the way girls sports are covered by the media by creating a girls sports magazine and/or website. Encourage more fans to support girls’ sports teams. Recognize a female athlete of the week.
• Encourage magazines and advertisers to use images created by girls.
Promote local, statewide and national campaigns that empower women and girls
• Design an online forum for girls to talk about their challenges and seek help/advice.
• Create a campaign against sexting (sending sexual images via text) to educate girls and boys about demeaning implications and dangers with sending such pictures over the Internet.
• Organize a campaign to remove demeaning ads from bus shelters. Contact Clear Channel, the company that controls the majority of the bus ads, and ask them to remove degrading ads.
• Create a campaign focused on the idea that eating food should be for energy and stamina. Remove the focus on weight.
• Organize or tap into existing “bring your daughter to work day" to expose young girls to the workplace.
• Create an “It’s good to be me” campaign focused on celebrating accomplishments and what you like about yourself internally while combating stereotypes.
• Petition popular clothing stores for young women and girls such as Forever 21 and Wetseal to carry plus sizes.
• Create viral videos on Youtube to highlight inequities (e.g. women paid less, women working harder, etc, but with a personal touch), call out bad advertising, redefine the word feminism, and portray positive role models.
Encourage women’s representation in businesses and support mentorship and networking
• Encourage small business networking with a focus on businesses owned by women (e.g. partner with the National Association of Women Business Owners in San Francisco).
• Incentivize businesses to employ women and treat women as equals to men (e.g. model the green business practices)
• Open a face to face café or space where women can network, share stories, collaborate, organize campaigns and petitions, and talk about important issues in person instead of over the Internet.
• Create a citywide monthly mentorship program for girls and young women.
Work with policy makers to prioritize system change that promotes women and girls’ equality
• Work with the Board of Supervisors to earmark money and prioritize strategies for strengthening opportunities for women and girls in the community.
• Prioritize appointing more women to leadership positions, commissions and taskforces.
• Enact and enforce paid maternity leave for both parents.
• Create billboard regulation laws to manage and control degrading and unhealthy images.
• Launch a Women’s and Girls Day across the city to recognize and honor women. Plan a community street fair for Women’s History Month and a women’s parade.
• Encourage the city to invest resources and time to promote Healthy Media PSA's and Public Awareness Campaigns.
• Encourage the SF School Board to adopt Miss Representation's ed curriculum and encourage educators to use the curriculum at all grade levels.
• Encourage MTA to add healthy media elements to existing advertising guidelines.