Shaping Youth’s K-5 playground documentary in development, “Body Blitz: Media, Shaping Youth” should get a big boost of media ‘umpf’ and fiscal validation with the release of the new doc, America the Beautiful opening today in L.A. (theater listings/city slate here) and next Friday in S.F., S.D., and Las Vegas!
I’ll be interviewing America the Beautiful director Darryl Roberts after their S.F. Film Society pre-screening next week, but wanted to tell all our L.A. readers pronto to pack a wallop of support into this weekend’s box office sales! —Especially since MTV recently put out a casting call for a new ‘transformational’ reality show called “Model Makers” AND, coming out Sept. 16, the premiere of The Biggest Loser FAMILY edition. Yep, kiddies on diets with mom and dad in gather-round media moments. sigh.
Judging by the ATB film trailer and Roger Ebert’s review alone, sight unseen, I’d urge all to give it a GO when it comes to your city. It’s worthwhile content regardless of execution, whether it takes on a Michael Moore muckraking lens, or an “artivists” tonality…the SUBJECT matter itself is what’s key.
Part Dove ‘Onslaught’ vibe, part human interest story of 12-year old Gerren Taylor vaulting from catwalk darling to damaged and discarded, ( like a wadded, tossed tissue from a fashion-fest sneeze—see LA Times update on Gerren, now 18, at left) the important media message merits a blaring, glaring spotlight turned on the issue in full force…
…NOT just for the way our industry treats human beings, but for the preteens and even tinier tykes increasingly caught in the casting net of shoulds, coulds and wannabes prevalent in our web celeb/pop culture zeitgeist and the toll it’s taking on their physical and emotional health.
If you’re catching a Peter Finch/Howard Beale style ‘Network’ vibe from me in “shout out from the windows frustration” you are correct-amundo.
Take a peek at our “body image” category on the sidebar.
Now repeat after me, “I’m mad as hell, and…” Well, you get the drift. As I said here before, the way marketers are “Packaging Girlhood” is making cash registers go ‘ka-ching’ and kids’ psyches go ‘ka-boom.’
There is NO question beauty-obsessed, body image-driven, early sexualization of childhood is bound to have direct links to eating disorders, low self-esteem and depression. (the entire APA report summary and ‘what parents can do’ portion is worth your perusal)
There is NO question media and marketing is complicit in fueling this fire in surround sound to glean higher profits…The question then becomes…
So what are you gonna do about it?
“The price we pay to mine kids’ childhood will ultimately cost us all.”–Amy Jussel
Yah. You can self-quote me on that. Again and again.
In fact, I’ll give the first three commenters supporting the film in their own respective cities a copy of the book Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes as a thank you for Shaping Youth in a more positive direction! (don’t miss the authors’ blog, by S.Y. advisory board members Dr. Sharon Lamb & Dr. Lyn Mikel Brown too!)
I think I might even rally some folks to start a ‘Facebook group’ to virally pop this into the minds of media colleagues and parent pals in both regions, since kids’ health and well-being are at stake here.
And though I haven’t even seen the finished film yet, (I’m bringing some board members next week!) from the disordered, dysfunctional direction our pop culture incessantly embeds into cues for kids, I can emphatically say: Darryl…We’re with you all the way…
Heartfelt thanks for giving voice to a vision we’ve been working on for several years here with Body Blitz: Media, Shaping Youth. (see our mini-Animoto trailer we recently created for a preteen talk at Lucile Packard Children’s Health Foundation and Kaiser Permanente)
See you all next week at the S.F. premiere!
Snippets from Respected Colleagues About America the Beautiful (movie/documentary)
…Interviewing such luminaries as Eve Ensler (“Stop fixing your body, it was never broken”) and anti-luminaries (black holes?) such as Atoosa Rubenstein (“I don’t think that advertisers and marketers are these people who want to make people feel bad”), Ted Casablanca (“Should the media be held responsible? I can’t believe you are even asking me that question!”) and Bonnie Fuller (“We’re not going to put you on the cover if you’re ugly. Ugly doesn’t sell.”), Darryl Roberts tackles America’s dirty little secret. Well, as secret as Victoria’s secrets are anyhow…” –Huffington Post
“I can say a lot about both the film and Darryl. But the most important thing is, GO SEE IT! And TAKE ALL YOUR FRIENDS! (It’s R-rated due to something Eve Ensler says in an interview but is far more appropriate for teens than any other R-rated movie I can think of…After getting home, I kept thinking about the film and what I can do to help pre-teen and teen girls believe in and honor their inner beauty and fight the popular media who hold their self-esteem hostage.” —Nancy Gruver’s New Moon Girl Media Review
…”Whoooo! Goosebumps Mamas! Sheer goosebumps! —At the end of the movie the director took questions from the audience and actually brought out Gerren for questions…a very nice treat for the audience and especially my daughter who watches Gerren on BETs “Baldwin Hills” reality show. I could go on and on, but really you just have to see this movie. And please, take lots of other women and teens, too. It has an R rating, but only because of a few references to sexual anatomy and some graphic plastic surgery footage.”–Felicia Richardson Battle’, Reign of the Girl Child
And as long as we’re on the topic of body image, don’t miss our own Dr. Robyn Silverman’s recent post No Wonder Girls Are Confused, all about Jennifer Love Hewitt’s recent mixed messaging in the media…sheesh. Whiplash anyone?
Recent Roundup: America the Beautiful At a Glance
…And from Darryl Roberts’ e-mail updates:
“Quick story. The last day that I was in New York a woman walked up to me and said she was an executive from MTV. I wasn’t really in the mood for confrontation so my attitude was just sue me. But she wasn’t there to sue me. She said she was there to let me know that MTV is aware of the damage that they’ve done to young girls and they’ve put some programs in place to help them. The woman then proceeded to show me some social programs that MTV had started to help with girls self-esteem. I was blown away! She told me that she’d like to see what MTV could do to help me with the film.
Then Glamour Magazine and 17 Magazine posted a blog on their website saying that the film was awesome. Just goes to show you, there are always some good crusaders in every industry willing to make a difference.” –Darryl Roberts, Director, America the Beautiful Documentary
That’s for sure, Darryl. Our consortium is one of ’em…Shaping Youth board members and advisors, we owe it to this gent to pay it forward and show him who the industry ‘good guys’ are…help out in your respective cities!
L.A. Theater Openings Aug. 22, Today: See It This Weekend!
From ATB Director Darryl Roberts today:
“You can guarantee that we’ll have a great opening weekend by forwarding this email to 10 people that you know in the Los Angeles proper. Stress to them that should see the film tonight, tomorrow or Sunday. Because Monday the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater (tix here) will decide if we get to stay another week or not based on this weekend’s numbers. (Click to order/they’ll hold at boxoffice)—I’ll be at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Theater tonight hosting a Q&A with some of the people featured in the film TONIGHT after the 7 and 9:45pm shows. Join us! I’ve been told that there are only a few tickets left for the 7pm show. So make sure you get your tickets online and when it sells out, join us for the 9:45pm show.”
Los Angeles, CA – August 22nd
Laemmle Sunset 5
8000 Sunset Blvd.
West Hollywood, 90046
Culver Plaza Theatres
9919 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
1003 E. Colorado Blvd
At Colorado & Catalina
Pasadena, CA. 91106
Edwards Westpark 8 Cinema
3755 Alton Pkwy
Irvine, CA 92606
Visual Credit: Gerren Taylor photo: Kirk McCoy, LATimes
Official Trailer for America the Beautiful, movie documentary: