YWCA Youth Conference
ME & The MEdia: Advancing Youth Media Literacy
More than ever, young people are exposed to damaging images and ideas from the media that make them vulnerable to the impacts of hypersexualization and hypermasculinity. Increased use of technology and social media makes the distribution of harmful content incredibly easy. The lines between private and public selves are blurred, and youth are learning that a girl’s value lies in her sexuality and physical appearance. These factors combined leave young people vulnerable to mental and physical health issues, predatory behaviour and harassment.
To address these issues, YWCA Metro Vancouver is hosting ME & The MEdia: Advancing Youth Media Literacy, a FREE conference for high school students ages 14 to 17. Media literacy is a powerful tool in empowering young people to think critically about the media they consume and to take control of their online behaviour.
The conference takes place on Saturday, November 24 from 10:00am to 3:00pm at UBC Robson Square. It features Jeff Perera, the community and youth engagement manager with the White Ribbon Campaign, as well as workshops that explore themes on sexualization and advertising awareness, masculinity, sports marketing and aggression, and social media and identity.
Please help us spread the word about our youth conference by sharing the image below with your network. Register now for ME & The MEdia: Advancing Youth Media Literacy.
YWCA Annual General Meeting, Thursday, June 21, 2012
Featuring a film screening of CBC's Sext Up Kids.
Miss Representation: Film Screening and Panel Discussion
On December 5, 2011, the YWCA, in partnership with the Young Women in Business, NetworkinginVan.com and PeaceGeeks, hosted two sold-out screenings of the film Miss Representation followed by a panel discussion that was moderated by Janet Austin, CEO of YWCA Metro Vancouver.
Miss Representation is a documentary film that explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in mainstream media.
The panel featured media personalities Patricia Graham, Kirk LaPointe, Pamela Martin and Amy Chan, who all discussed the film, shared their experiences and considered actions that need to happen in Vancouver to address issues of gender inequality.
Click here to watch a preview of the film
Sexuality is healthy; sexualization is not
Exploring the impacts on today’s young people
“In the current environment, teen girls are encouraged to look sexy, yet they know little about what it means to be sexual, to have sexual desires, and to make rational and resistible decisions about pleasure and risk within intimate relationships that acknowledge their own desires.”
––Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls
Evidence suggests women are three times more likely than men to be portrayed as sexually provocative in advertising and media, contributing to low self-esteem, body dissatisfaction, depression and other health concerns. This image portrayal is also linked to societal tolerance of sexual violence and exploitation of girls and women.
The American Psychological Association (APA) released a report highlighting some of the disturbing trends hypersexualization can have on young people:
- Mental Health Problems - Research links sexualization with three of the most common mental health problem of girls and women: eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression.
- Diminishing Sexual Health - Self objectification linked directly with diminishing sexual health among adolescent girls measured by decreased condom use and sexual assertiveness.
- Sexual Stereotypes - Girls and young women who more frequently consume or engage with mainstream media content offer stronger endorsements of sexual stereotypes that depict women as sexual objects.
- Effects on Men - Exposure to narrow ideals of female sexual attractiveness make it difficult for some men to find an “acceptable” partner or to fully enjoy intimacy with a female partner.
YWCA Metro Vancouver recently hosted a panel discussion about sexualization and our speakers reflected key areas where hypersexualization has the most impact and where the change needs to start. From the media to youth education to creative thinking, our panel explored the problems and, more importantly, the solutions to the hypersexualization of our youth.
What Can You Do?
- Discuss gender inequality with family, friends and colleagues and encourage them to be aware of the dangers of how women are portrayed in the media
- Teach media literacy by asking girls and boys to think about the effects of the images they see-particularly the ways media affects women and girls' ability to see themselves
- Encourage men and boys to stand up to sexism
Use Your Voice!
- Connect with local media by writing letters to editors about the sexualization of women, the overuse of photoshop in advertisements and media and gender inequality in government, media and the business community
- Use Facebook and Twitter to get your message out by posting articles, facts and interesting event information in your area
- Develop partnerships with likeminded people and organizations that are advocating against hypersexualization
- Join the YWCA Taking Sexy Back Facebook Page : A forum for advocacy against hypersexualization