My mom used to always groan whenever I picked a Disney princess movie for the family to watch. I never quite understood why she protested so much until I started becoming a woman and began comparing myself to the other girls I knew, the actresses in movies, and the supermodels that consume today’s media. My mom understood that all the Disney princesses, which are idealistically dolled up and man-hungry (really, every plot line is about the girl finally getting the prince to love her), were not the role models she wanted her daughter to have while trying to find her way as a woman. While fantastically entertaining, not many of the Disney princesses made being anything but a size-zero and perfect-skinned little girl acceptable. Today those same standards are put in the back of little girls’ brains all around the world, telling them constantly that they are not pretty enough. Very little focus is put on a girl’s intelligence or other abilities and talents, making us feel inadequate if we do not meet these beauty standards.
Ms. Struck and Mrs. Kingsbury gave me a second, very different perspective on women in the media: men are looking, too. Struck’s little history lesson was incredibly enlightening. Analyzing paintings of naked women or women in more compromising positions was scary from a woman’s perspective, but even more frightening when you think about the men who painted them and even more men who judged them. The naked women were always looking away from the viewer, making it less personal and more alienating for the subject. As Struck said, all the men were looking at the women while the women were looking at themselves. The media today and throughout history has corrupted the female mind. We have been brainwashed into believing that we must reach the “ideal women” in order to be considered our sex.