The first session I attended at the Commission on the Status of Women was titled "From the Trafficker’s Perspective: What Will it Take to End Human Trafficking". In a span of 90 minutes, a panel of 6 individuals presented the idea of using positive media to combat negative media, particularly those that objectify women and perpetuates the view of women as commodity.
Imagine for a second. It is March 8, 2016. International Women's Day. A young girl begins her day scrolling through Twitter like every other day. She scrolls to a picture uploaded by Kim Kardashian, a selfie. But it's no ordinary selfie; she is naked, censored by two thin black strips. What is going through the mind of the young girl as she looks at the photo and its 60 million hits in less than 24 hours? Are women more appreciated with little to no clothing? Is portraying this kind of image normal? If I do this, will I get popular? Will I be loved? A simple photo on social media can influence the minds of society, especially with advances in technology and increased reliance on different platforms of social media that allow us to be better connected to one another. But that is not all. Robin Thicke’s music video for his catchy hit song Blurred Lines shows signs of male domination as well as objectification of women. While the men are fully clothed, the women are minimally dressed. Lyrics include terms such as domesticate and pimping targeted at women. How does listening to songs like this effect boys and girls, men and women?
In the above examples, media acts as a kind of poison for the exploitation of women, however, media can also be an antidote if used correctly. Libby Spears, from The Nest Foundation, spoke about her film “Playground”, highlighting the horrors of the children human trafficking industry in the United States. Sean Southey of Media Impact introduced a project based in Bolivia. “La Caldera” is a drama series broadcasted on over 150 radio shows throughout Bolivia. Over a span of 28 12-minute episodes, the drama tackles the issue of children human trafficking, an issue deeply rooted in Bolivian society. These are just two examples of using media to give a voice to the voiceless.
In today's society, everyone is vulnerable to fall into the trap of negative media. Efforts must be taken to ensure that there is conscious creation and conscious consumption of media.