Monday, November 4, 2013

Film fest depicts sexualized culture

As 12-year-old Winnifred walks down a New York City street, we see the city from her eyes, as she is assaulted by billboard after billboard of nearly nude women in a variety of sexual poses.

We are there when a young adult woman talks to a physician about her desire for labiaplasty, a cosmetic genital surgery. She’s concerned that her labia is too large and wants it to look more “normal,” like the women in porn videos.

We watch as a 4-year-old dances in her house, gyrating on the floor and making kissing faces like the singer in the video she’s watching.

The film “Sexy Baby” shows us image after image of Madison Avenue billboards and magazine ads, as well as online porn sites and scenes at a strip club. The ads on the public street aren’t that much different from the X-rated scenes.

As shown in the movie, the adult entertainment industry is becoming mainstream, said film co-director Ronna Gradus at a session of the APHA Film Festival held earlier today.

“One thing we’ve constantly been hearing from kids is that sex ed is awful, that it’s completely out of touch and hard-core online porn is their sex ed,” said Gradus, who appeared at the film fest with co-director Jill Bauer.

Today, four films were shown, focusing on the objectification and sexualization in our culture and the importance of empowering girls.

The film “Miss Representation” shows us that each week teenagers are exposed to:

31 hours of TV
17 hours of music
three hours of movies
four hours of magazines
10 hours online

As film fest co-chair Pamela J. Luna said: “We are up against a great force in our society — the media.”

“Miss Representation” addresses the message that many girls and young women receive every day: That it’s not about what they have achieved or how smart they are, but whether they’re young and beautiful.

“The film has such a huge potential to spark conversation,” said Jessica Lee, distribution director for the film and the Representation Project. “People have come up to us and said, ‘This has helped me understand the media landscape, that my daughters and sons are facing a very different family hour than I grew up with.’”

In the film “Girl Rising,” we learn that 33 million fewer girls than boys attend school worldwide. The film includes nine chapters, telling the story of nine girls around the world and how the lack of education has affected them. But it’s an inspiring film, as we learn what these girls ultimately achieve.

In “Stop Objectification,” fashion designer Norma Kamali showcases four women’s experiences of being harassed and belittled in their lives because they were women. She started her campaign in 2010 to call attention to the issue and to empower women.

Many of these films are more than movies; they've started grassroots movements. To get involved, visit the films’ websites, which provide school curriculums from elementary through college as well as information on how to host screenings and get involved on social media.

— M.P.


Dude, I hope you step on a lego. said...

All four of these films are amazing and I so enjoyed screening them at APHA. I cannot find Kamali's doc about four women's stories of harassment online, though. Anyone know where I can watch the full movie?

Sara S. said...

I really enjoyed this film fest and was touched deeply by all four of these films. I plan on watching all of them in full now that I am back from APHA. I cannot find Kamali's full documentary, though. Anyone know where I can find it?

Pamela Luna said...

Here is the link to the video the Gary Black, Film Festival Chair, made of the event.

Pamela Luna said...

Gald you enjoyed this special film festival session:
This is Norma Kamali’s film which was included (in part) in the APHA session
“ The Interviews”

Marcus Chapman said...

I work for the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University and I was proud to say that one of our alumni, Dr. Pamela Luna, organized such an important session at APHA. All of the films were spot on but "The Mask You Live In" made me tear up. It really struck a cord in me and as the trailer played the montage of voices yelling our masculine stereotypes, my own experiences growing up flashed before me. I can't wait to see it and I hope these films are the start of something much greater. Lasting change!

Pamela Luna said...

Awww, and thank you Marcus. I am so happy that you attended the session and it moved you---awareness is the first step and I think we are at a tipping point. We as a society are seeing the results of the pressure put on youth to be a certain way and there is so much overexposure at a time when they are developmentally incapable of processing all this graphic and provocative images.
Adults must stand up and advocate for youth. Have you seen this: