I watched a video today that made me cry.
That’s saying something, because my tear ducts are fairly selective about who they work for. I didn’t even cry on The Lion King (and yes, I do have a heart, thank you very much).
But this video, a trailer for the film Miss Representation, made me cry, in sadness and in anger. In desperation and in frustration. I sincerely hope you’ll take the time to watch it:
This video made me cry because it hit so close to home.
The video observes:
“Girls get the message from very early on that what’s most important is how they look…and boys get the message that this is what’s important about girls. So, no matter what else a woman does, no matter what else her achievements, their value still depends on how they look.”
As one young lady in the video says, with a hint of desperation in her voice, “There is no appreciation for woman intellectuals.”
I’m a 21 year old woman intellectual. I’ve made it through 3 years of college (thus far) in an intense degree program. I’ve won debate contests. I’ve written and presented research papers. I’ve had articles published. I want to write books. I want to get my PhD. I want to join the Peace Corps.
And yet, I still have to fight to get the world to appreciate my brain and not just my boobs.
From junior high, when I was told by several friends, “Sarah, you’re pretty. You could have so many boys if you didn’t act so smart and scare them away. You can be smart, just don’t act so smart.”
To the ex-boyfriend who convinced me that I was worthless so that he could treat me like a sex object.
To the Sunday School teacher who looked me in the eye and said, “Why are you even bothering to go to college? A woman’s place is in the home.”
To now, when I’m told fairly often, “Oh, you want to get your PhD? That’s good, because all the female professors I had in college were ugly. You’ll actually be a pretty one.”
I feel weighed down by the idea that my brains, my talents, my gifts and abilities are not enough–will never be enough. Unless I can get through another 10 grueling years of school and still look as young and pretty as I do now at age 21, unless I can somehow afford fashionable clothing, make-up, and hair-stylists on a graduate student’s salary…
It won’t matter.
To the world, I’ll just be another “ugly” professor.
I am sick of this. I am damn sick of this.
I’m sick of hearing people put down the intelligent, hard-working (and beautiful. More that just pretty) female professors that I look up to just because those professors spend their time writing books and winning academic awards instead of getting their hair done and reading fashion magazines.
I’m sick of hearing news reporters ask Sarah Palin if she’s gotten breast implants (would a professional reporter ask Mitt Romney if he ever uses a penis pump? Didn’t think so) or compare Hilary Clinton to a nagging wife when she stands up for issues she cares about.
I’m sick of men being taught that their masculinity is at stake when women make achievements. I’m sick of men growing up to believe that the measure of their manhood is how much power they have over the women in their lives.
And I’m sick of the media– from magazines to music videos to the daily news–reinforcing all of these ideas.
I’m sick of this misrepresentation.
I’m ready for a change. Who’s with me?