As my readers will know, occasionally I like to write an extra blog as well as my usual weekly blog, and I thought that you also might like to read something a bit different.
Today I’m going to write about an issue that’s caused quite a discussion on my Facebook page today.
This year we are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of some women getting the vote. I say some because it took many more years for working class women and men to get the right to vote.
Whilst remembering this we are also appreciating the struggle that those mostly working class women went through to achieve the vote. Arrests, hunger strikes, force feeding, sexual assaults and insults such as ‘Women wouldn’t know what to do with the vote if they got it’ were meted out to women on a daily basis.
After achieving the right to vote, women proved their doubters wrong and have since become a force to be reckoned with. We are in many respects on the road to achieving equality, and this is reflected somewhat in society.
Women are no longer looked down upon because they want to be a doctor, study at university etc. And until recently there was some kind of optimism in the air. As a young woman I felt confident enough to realise that I could achieve anything that I wanted to if I worked hard at it.
This was also reflected in the media to an extent, although the usual sexism lurked and reared it’s ugly head, but it was easily ignored and dismissed.
Today’s young women I fear are facing what appears to be an onslaught via television, and social media of what it expects young women to look like and also what they should aim for. It’s everywhere, and this also affects young men.
Outside influences aren’t new however, but as the use of technology increases, the influence of these outlets does also.
Upon waking this morning I turned the television on only to be greeted by a discussion titled ‘Should women make more effort’, and of course there was no mention of if a man should make more effort. The conclusion, as far as I could see from the two guests was that women should wear make up to improve their looks, and the presenters opinion that it’s ok not to wear make up was drowned out by all.
Programmes such as Love Island are heavily promoted both on television and other media outlets, indeed nearly a full episode of Good Morning Britain, and an episode of Loose Women featured discussions about this. although the latter was more opinion based. Instead of important news stories that the public would like to be informed about, they were treated to an indoctrination into the world of Love Island and what women should look like.
The contestants I suspect were cruelly chosen specifically for their looks and not their intelligence. Boob jobs, hair extensions and false tans appear to be the norm. A recent clip taken from the programme compounded my suspicions which confirmed the above. A discussion that took place concerning brexit was both I feel embarrassing for contestants and the public, this has been shared widely. Whilst some found their conversation amusing, I can’t help but to feel desperately sad.
Our young people are influenced by programmes and discussions such as these, and many are suffering as a result. Body confidence is very important when growing up and many, not all are of the belief that what they look like to the public matters more than education. God help any young person that decides to be an individual and create their own look.
Very young girls are requesting make overs, false tans and nails, instead of concentrating on play, education and their ambitions for the future. Individuality and confidence building should be encouraged but it’s becoming increasingly hard to shy away from these media outlets.
A part of me often wonders if programmes such as these were created as a distraction for our young people.
We are now living in a country that has more poverty than we have ever had since the 1930’s. Many families are relying on food banks to survive. Educational opportunities due to new curriculums and a distinct lack of funding in education are becoming more scarce. The ambitions that my generation had as young people are becoming extremely hard to achieve, if not impossible at times. And the pressure to pass exams is immense.
Instead of the outrage that should be being shown both by parents, young people and the media we are seeing a mass acceptance of the worsening opportunities that they have. Many just accept matters and say that it is the way that it is now.
Call me old fashioned, but I believe in ambition, individuality and self confidence. The media rhetoric surrounding women concerns me.
Are we stepping back to a time when women weren’t seen as important and merely something pretty to look at? Or are we going to encourage our young people to fight for and fulfil their ambitions despite the many obstacles in front of them.
It’s time to put the mobile phones down and avoid watching programmes such as these. We owe this to them, let’s show them another way.