By: Luana Mattos, Guest Blogger
Whoever knows me knows that I love television and everything related! I grew up watching it, (but I wasn't a sedentary child, just to clarify) and if you, like me, were born in the 90's you know that television didn't have much gender equality back then. I recall that most of the stories were about helpless girls often saved by men, and I can affirm to you that if I hadn't been raised by a single mom I would probably believe that I needed a man to solve all my problems.
On one hand I had the television version of women: vulnerable, quiet, and dependent; on the other hand I had my Mom: an active, hard working, independent woman, a version that would never fit the television stereotypes. There was a time where I just gave up on watching TV, simply because of its lack of realism and also because it was creating a hostile atmosphere that increased the competition among girls. In other words, it was sending the wrong message for girls and women out there and I refused to receive it.
However, avoiding TV for a while didn't prevent me from feeling shameful of my own body after reading a magazine or watching a movie. Before the internet, the TV was our window to the world, our parameter of what was socially acceptable, and many of us yielded to pressure.
Girls are often encouraged by the media to compete with each other. Girls are easily labeled, and we do this to ourselves every time we choose competition over companionship. What we don't realize while doing this is that we have all the rights we have today because decades ago women of the entire world joined forces and fought for these rights. They understood that no one would fight for them better than themselves!
I know that we have a lot to fight for yet, but for the time being I'm glad to see what women have achieved not only on television but also in their houses, in their jobs and in politics. I'm thankful for organizations such as Geena Davis Institute and The Representation Project that are changing the media to empower girls!
It's a long way, but step by step, actress by actress, role by role, we are redefining how women are perceived in Hollywood. So now, instead of being someone else's mother, daughter or wife, they are also seen as leaders, cops, astronauts, and CEOs. Women are no longer just a pretty face on the screen, they are proactive, and they are sending the message that if they can portray it on TV we can do it in life. If you can see it, you can be it!
We all are fighting a battle, we all have good motives and intentions, but fighting the right thing for the wrong reasons might be the death of us. My point is we all want our voices to be heard, men and women, we all want our rights to be respected but as long as we are seeking this as individuals, our voices will only make noise instead of making changes.
Let's Chat! What have you noticed about the changing roles and faces of women on television? Positives? Negatives? Share your thoughts here!
Luana is Christian girl whose faith inspires her to be the best version of herself every day. Besides her work as an administrative supervisor, she is a freelance journalist and writes a column about real life experiences, focusing on topics relevant to social projects, volunteer work, and awareness campaigns for the Brazilian website www.hollywoodeaqui.com. She also had the opportunity to interview Nicholas Sparks, Wm. Paul Young and L. J. Smith.