If he sees it...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

I am a fan of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and other related initiatives. I spent my undergraduate years studying gender in media and firmly believe we need a wide spectrum of female representation in media to provide role models for girls and young women. Appropriately, the Geena Davis Institute’s motto is; “If she sees it….she can be it.”

Additionally, I think that the same female spectrum is equally important to boys and something we need to pay more attention to. I briefly touched on this in my blogs Minor Mind Molding and Frozen but essentially my point is that we would benefit from adding; “If he sees it…he believes she can be it” to the above motto. Not only do we need girls to believe in themselves, but we need boys to believe in them too in order for the girls to succeed.  Why? Those boys will be men someday. Yes, stating the obvious I know! 

Men are our brothers, sons, fathers, friends, husbands, boyfriends, partners, coworkers, staff and bosses. They are an integral part of our social tapestry. How they perceive our capabilities matters as it will drive how, and if, they support and encourage us. Furthermore, since men still hold the majority of decision making positions, we need them to be on our team in order to propel and accelerate change.

This brings me to Johnny Test, a Cartoon Network TV show that my son enjoys.  Johnny himself does not excite me much but the interesting and over the top cast of characters in life his do. His older twin sisters, who are science geniuses and inventors of … well… anything, his very busy career oriented mother and his cleaning obsessed stay-at-home father. Not a run of the mill family, which yields interesting theme exploration opportunities.

The mother who is chronically overworked aches for an uninterrupted bubble bath and work/life balance, the smart twins pine for the handsome but not very smart boy living next door and the father longs for someone to love his meatloaf.  In fact, the father gets so disgruntled by the lack of appreciation that he goes back to work. Back to a fake job created by the twins, only to find himself missing his former life much to the relief of the family, who are entirely dependent on him as the primary care taker.

Yes, it is an exaggerated slice of life, but a slice none the less and I want my son to be exposed to all the slices, especially those he does not experience firsthand at home. I want him to see and value the wonderful diversity within the female population because that way, as he grows, he will continue to be an equality advocate and we can never have enough of them!   

“If he sees it…he believes she can be it.”
-Luise Meyer

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