In a recent interview, Jennifer Lawrence voiced her opinion regarding the television show "Fashion Police" on E!, quoting it as,
"...showing these generations of young people to judge people based on all the wrong values and that it's OK to point at people and call them ugly or fat[.]"
We are all just people doing the best we can with the tools we have. We can't always do things the same way because we don't all have the same tools. Imagine the world as one big, huge sandbox. Pretend it is our life's goal to design and build a sandcastle. This castle can be as fabulous or understated as we choose. There are a limited amount of tools to work with though so we cannot all build at once. Some of us will share our tools with others and provide the support they need to fulfill their purpose. Others will hoard their tools to ensure that no one can build a better castle than theirs. There will also be those that will only share their tools with people that build castles according to their rules. My point is that we're failing miserably here, People. Everyone has the right to build their own castle, their own way, with whatever tools they need without fear that someone will smash it just because it's different.
I understand that it is my responsibility to instill in my children values and morals, but I believe that the media has a certain responsibility too. After all, I cannot compete with the plethora of junk television, movies, billboards, and the messages that advertisers are blasting all over the place. It's ridiculous to think that I can. All I can do is keep the lines of communication open and teach my kids by example.
These days, my seventeen year old daughter is pretty sure I'm the least cool person on the planet, and I might sound like Charlie Brown's teacher at this point. Does it really matter how many times I tell her that self-esteem comes from doing esteem-able things while the rest of the world is shouting that it's based on what shoes she's wearing? I haven't given up hope, but come on!
Most of the young women our girls look up to in the media have either been in the news and under scrutiny or carefully coasting under the radar. Both are disappointing on many levels for obvious reasons, but as long as we (as a society) keep loving the drama, the media will just keep pumping it out. We point and laugh and say "tisk tisk" at girls like Miley Cyrus, Amanda Bynes, Brittany Spears, and Lindsay Lohan, why? To feel better about ourselves. THAT is the only reason for judgment. I build up faux self-esteem by simply believing that I'm better than you. Sure, I may be fucked up, but look at you! You're a fucking train wreck! The only problem with this type of esteem is that it's like a balloon filled with helium. It might float the first day, but as time goes on, it loses its power to fly.
Some people will argue that The Judgment Game is harmless fun. These same people will act horrified when one of our kids ends their life tragically as the result of being bullied. What's the difference?
Here's a hint: There.Isn't.One.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed.