I’ve been trying to stay low key about being selected as one of the U.S. representatives for the Women Leaders for the World program, but after spending the last few days with my fellow GWLN delegates, (bios here) this is an intense global experience that will no doubt impact every iota of my very being.
From Rashmi explaining the agribusiness loss of indigenous foods and the long arm of junk food and franchises’ infiltration of even rural areas of India, to my GWLN houseguest, film star Simi Raheal from Pakistan explaining the ‘Fair & Lovely’ skin lightening agents heavily marketed to women AND MEN as an appearance ideal, (which she ethically refuses to promote, for the record, yay!) one thing is readily apparent…
We’re leaving a damaging mark on the global landscape through exportation of our media and marketing mess on a variety of socio-economic and children’s health care fronts.
In short? We’re fouling up indigenous nutritional and lifestyle/eco-patterns which have served cultures well for generations, and need to keep our messaging toxicity to ourselves. (we’ve already ‘created’ a nation of inadequacies here with “sheeple” following unrealistic, unhealthy media and marketing messaging to their own demise. Not something I’m proud of exporting abroad)
The Vislumbres blog has some revealing dialogue on the dark/light skin tone productization, and Two Knives sticks it to Unilever for owning “Fair & Lovely” (see video/commentary) amidst self-congratulatory back-patting for their Cannes win of the Dove “Campaign for Real Beauty” Evolution ad, without even a blink at the contradiction. (more commentary at Shameless mag, “for girls who get it” here)
I still love the Evolution/Dove beauty campaign, for it raised awareness in a huge way. But it’s sure amazing to witness a ‘mashup microcosm’ of worldwide media dilemmas and jarring impact, all coming from the back seat of my car…
“…Satellite television is beaming urban India’s new cravings and anxieties into Umred’s living rooms. Relatives who migrated to cities are returning home with tales of lucrative jobs and trendy nightclubs. The Internet has emboldened the young to hunt beyond the town for jobs, life partners and ideas…
Sushrut Lanjewar, an 8-year-old with a Spider-Man T-shirt, is still learning his letters, but he has already reached a grown-up conclusion. He knows he must study his way out of Umred, and he intends to do so. He wants to be a botanist and discover a plant to thwart global warming.”
Excessive teen consumerism conflicts with eco-concerns and mass consumption on the planet…Then there’s the impact on cultural consciousness, body image, physical/mental health and appearance cues twisted into complicated distortions played out in human behavior. Yowza.
As a U.S. rep, we hosted delegates from Rwanda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and more to crash the girlfest in the Mission with a workshop from About-Face, Children Now, UCSF, S.F. Dept. on the Status of Women, and policy folks from the Marin Institute, (did you know alcopops aren’t taxed as distilled beverages but instead at the cheaper malt liquor/beer rate? They sure don’t let that slide in Europe, no wonder kids slam ’em masquerading as soda derivs and ‘lemonade.’
…Last stop of the day, we all hustled off to Portola Valley for the official GWLN reception with Cisco change agents and the like, where we all spoke of our visions and impacts, goals and funding needs.
Suffice it to say, this week is very intense so the blog will be on a one week ‘hiatus’. Here’s more about GWLN and their amazing leadership team.
AND…here’s a ‘teaser’ of coverage coming so stay tuned (delayed this week)
The YPulse Mashup: A game of redlight/greenlight
YPulse youth panel of teen views on media & marketing
Weighing in on progress: FTC/FCC webcast on food ads/childhood obesity
Ratatouille: Great values, not cheesy, & healthy food messages too!
Back in a week, unless I can score a minute of my own, but it’s not looking likely…This agenda is action-packed!
—Wish me luck…Back soon.