Monday, April 11, 2011

Geena Davis on the Effects of Gender Inequality on TV and in Movies



In today's issue of the Wall Street Journal, Geena Davis talks about why she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and how gender inequality on television and in movies has a powerful impact on kids. I couldn't find the following quote in the video, nor on the WSJ website, but it appeared on page R11 of today's print edition:
The more hours of television a girl watches, the fewer options she believes she has in life. And the more hours a boy watches, the more sexist his views become.
She also goes on to say,
Negative images can powerfully affect boys and girls, but positive images have the same kind of impact. We know that if girls can see characters doing unstereotyped kinds of occupations and activities, they're much more likely as an adult to pursue unusual and outside-the-box occupations. I really believe that if you can see it, you can be it.
She says a lot of great things in this interview, and none of this is news to us of course. But I post this here in the hope that we can see her initiative as an example of how Asian-Americans might approach the Writers Guild, Animators Guild, and the Casting Directors Guild. I'd like to think that if we presented the facts derived from such research, then perhaps we'd be a step closer to advocating for positive, non-stereotypical portrayals of Asian-Americans in the media.

Imagine if we applied her sentiments to the portrayal of Asians in the media:
The more hours of television a young Asian-American child watches, the fewer options s/he believes s/he has in life. And the more hours a white kid watches, the more racist his views become.
Negative images can powerfully affect boys and girls, but positive images have the same kind of impact. We know that if an Asian-American child can see characters doing unstereotyped kinds of occupations and activities, they're much more likely as an adult to pursue unusual and outside-the-box occupations. I really believe that if you can see it, you can be it.
With that in mind, I hope you are all aware of www.racebending.com and their campaign to avert the whitewashing of the live-action version of Akira.

4 comments:

bigWOWO said...

Excellent post, Soulsnax. You're 100% right. It's too bad we don't have a famous champion working for us. Actually we have very few famous people to begin with.

Kelly Hogaboom said...

This is a great post, a good series of thoughts you make, and that vid of Geena Davis is really great. Thank you so much!

SoulSnax said...

bigWOWO: We do have George Takei, check out the Racebending post about his Tweets: http://www.racebending.com/v4/blog/george-takei-tweets-out-on-whitewashed-akira/

papa2hapa said...

Interesting logic. I wonder if this could contribute to the backlash against minorities since the 2010 Census report has come out.