"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

So, I was going to use today's post to continue the saga that is my adventures in ceramics. Some of my previously ongoing work, last seen here, has been finished, while some new pieces have been started and I have lots of photos to share.

However, when I saw this clip on a friend's facebook wall, I decided that there was a better and more worthwhile use for this space. Please watch:

I was fortunate enough to first encounter Jean Kilbourne's work in some of my women's studies classes at the University of Michigan. Her first version of the Killing Us Softly lecture was created way back in 1979 and since then two more updated versions have been released. I think the one that I have seen is version three and let me tell you, it is well worth watching. This video is a trailer for the fourth version and, unfortunately, the results of her research into the images of women in advertising seem to have remained very much the same over the years.

It seems to me that many people have difficulty understanding why the issues raised in Kilbourne's research are so important, or rather, why they are issues at all. Why can't we just see the images and ignore them? Well, despite the fact that I consider myself to be a strong, independent and intelligent person, I know that I AM personally affected by the images of women in society. I do consider myself a feminist and I like to think that I am able to get past some of what the media shows us. I like to think that I value things about myself and others that go beyond how society dictates we should look and act. But to say that I am completely unaffected by what I see in magazines would be a lie and to be completely honest, I think that any woman who says that she is unaffected or doesn't care is also lying.

I suppose that's a bold assumption. Maybe there truly are women out there who, with 100% of their being, don't care what they are supposed to look like or how they are supposed to act. Maybe there are some that never compare themselves to others or never wish that they could change something about themselves to better fit the image of the ideal woman. And don't kid yourself, if you've ever wanted to change something, that image IS part of the reason, although you may not realise it at first. But, thus far, I have never met one - at least as far as I could tell.

Even those women who don't say it out loud have thought it. I grew up surrounded by family, friends and other wonderful role models that promoted the movement away from these types of negative ideals. They encouraged me to see myself for my personality and my abilities, and lived their own lives in a way that attempted to break the mold imposed by society and the media. Yet, I am sure that deep down these incredible people still experienced moments of self-consciousness, self-deprecation and, possibly even, reduced self-worth. And I don't think that this is wrong or that it makes women any weaker to admit that they are supsceptible to this type of influence. In contrast, I think it is honest and brave, and also the first step to actually ridding ourselves of some of those personal stereotypes and impossible ideals that we all hold.

If you are at all interested in this topic I would absolutely recommend that you check out the rest of the lecture. You may be able to find it on YouTube already. You can definitely view the third version there. I think it is uploaded in parts. Most importantly though, if you agree with anything in this post please spread the word and re-post the video. It'll be a far better, and more satisfying, use of wall space than another video of a cute animal or a laughing baby. Trust me.

To anyone who was actually hoping to see my finished tile and new clay ventures today, I deeply apologise for any disappointment this topic shift has caused. That will have to wait until next time. Hopefully, though, most of you have found this rather more enlightened post to be interesting and a time worthy break from the usual blabber I tend to put out :)

Love and empowerment.


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