On Oct. 23rd, more than 900 people filed into Bend High auditorium in support of the idea that a woman’s intellect is more valuable than her appearance. A week later, women filed into costume shops to decide whether they would be skanky Red Riding Hoods, seductive witches, or slutty vampires.
Miss Representation, the film so widely attended on Oct. 23, is receiving awards and high praise because its premise is something all of us feel deep down is really true: there’s something wrong with the way the media, and society, looks at women.
Yet despite this feeling of unease, are any of us speaking out?
Women dress the way they do on Halloween because, for one, they’re looking at mainstream men’s media. The game series Tomb Raider comes to mind, which since its onset has starred the controversial sex symbol Lara Croft. To say such media is wildly popular among men would be an understatement–they’re addicted to it.
When we encounter female characters whose emphasis is not on their body, like Hermione Granger from Harry Potter or Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games, they almost inevitably appear in entertainment more often read by females.
The message: an emphasis on female intelligence is a great thing, but men don’t care about it.
So the smutty zombies and the suggestive French maids stalk around on Halloween with no idea that anything is wrong, or–worse, perhaps–feeling completely powerless to change the modus operandi of the holiday.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any,” said Alice Walker, quoted in Miss Representation.
Think about it. Have you given up your power? If you believe you never had any, think again. You’re not alone, and you’re not the only one who objects.
Scott Greenstone | The Broadside
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