Awareness and change: Are we objectifying women and young girls
When I saw the front page of the Nov. 8 Index-Tribune, with the article about the new Pets Lifeline calendar and the photo of a half-naked woman posing with her dog, I was dismayed. It called to mind the image of successful businesswoman, Ellie Price, lying naked in a bathtub of grapes on the front cover of the October issue of SONOMA magazine. Although I am certain the intended demographic for SONOMA magazine does not include young children, it can be found on coffee tables, counter-tops and newsstands for everyone to see.
Pets Lifeline, however, attracts a greater audience that includes the youth of the Sonoma community. Young adults volunteer at PLL, children visit regularly to play in the kitten room, meet the dogs, and they participate in summer programs comprised of educational activities to benefit them and the innocent animals of the shelter.
Therefore, we have to wonder what kind of message do these images deliver to our children, especially young girls?
PLL Director Nancy King is quoted describing the calendar as “elegant.” I ask our community: What is “elegant” about women posing partially nude in a calendar to be seen by families with young children?
It is my opinion that this was a terribly misguided decision to raise money for an animal shelter. I can’t help but think that the well-meaning PLL staff and supporters got caught up in this idea without thinking about how it would be perceived or who the target audience is for this product.
Is this really the message we want to send to our children and young adults? At what point did they consider who are Pets Lifeline’s supporters? Where will a family with their beloved adopted PLL kitten or puppy hang this calendar??
I urge our community, especially those with young children and girls, to consider how women and girls are depicted in the media. We have not moved forward; if anything, we have stepped backward in protecting our children from the onslaught of sexual images to sell just about anything.
To better understand the impact and consequences of this issue I encourage you to educate yourselves. Here is a great place to start: Visit missrepresentation.org to learn more about how women and girls are depicted in the media and what impact this has on our youth and society as a whole.
I hope parents and educators will find a way for us to effect change and be positive role models for our children and community as a whole.
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Nicki G. Naylor is a Sonoma Valley realtor.