Who’s Afraid of…the F-word?
There is a very popular saying that I heard more times than I could count as I was growing up in small town Mississippi. “Don’t toss the baby out with the bath water!” The meaning is pretty clear, don’t throw away the good part just because the bath water may be murky, keep the baby! Keep what’s good. It is a saying that has taken on new meaning for me in my thirties and forties. As I muddle through various issues in my life and the lives of those I love and I try to discern what there is in the mess that is not only worth keeping, but worth teaching my own children.
“…was made to inspire and motivate us all to be agents of change in our culture. American youth are being sold the concept that women and girls’ value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality. It’s time to break that cycle of mistruth. Miss Representation advocates that ALL people should be equally represented in our media, that our voices should be heard, and that we should be valued for our talents, capacity as leaders, and ability to contribute to the world at large.”
Sounds fantastic, right? Well, if one looks at things with an objective point of view, I hope I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t agree with those few sentences above. Value should never be determined by our outward appearance or our sexuality, right! So, you say, let’s all go see the documentary, and I say, yes, let’s do just that…
BUT then you see the trailer and you read that certain people are actually in the film that you don’t line-up with politically or even possibly, morally. In my experience, and I do not mean to generalize, but that can be a problem for some. Having been extremely conservative for part of my life, I know the arguments that are made against watching/reading things that do not line up (sometimes identically) with our personal views. It feels far more secure to drive a stake in the ground and isolate myself from everyone who doesn’t see the world as I see it.
I am sure you see where I am headed on this one. There is the “baby” and here it is the critical need to address the terrifying way in which girls and women are being portrayed in the media and the chaos and devastation that portrayal is producing in our girls, our boys and our culture. I want to believe that any caring human being would want to do whatever they could to address the “baby.” But, alas, there is what some will see as the “bathwater,”and while I personally find great value in all of the women and men who are presented in this film, I know that some will find their presence absolute cause for tossing out the“baby.” To me, that is tragic and short-sighted, not to mention…unwise. I also believe this thinking is in complete contradiction to what most people who consider themselves to be conservatives attribute their conservatism to in the first place, their faith. I am not qualified to give a dissertation that will convince you otherwise if you are having heart palpitations right now, but for those of you willing to consider some things, I will press on.
An oft quoted sentiment from author Anne Lamott is quite fitting here, “You know you have created God in your own image when he hates everyone you hate.” So, although there may be voices in this film that you would never be BFF with, come and watch and see what you can learn. If the thought of empowering girls and women can not be separated from the F-word…FEMINISM. I want to challenge you to engage your mind, your heart and your sense of being a part of humanity and, by all means, please let me know what you think! That’s all…
Jorja White lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her family. She recruits nationally for W by Worth and serves on the Board of Directors of Leading Edge Institute as well as the Special Education Advisory Board of Mountain Brook Schools.