How watching the media for hours on end affects expectations of reality

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How watching the media for hours on end affects expectations of reality

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Unfortunately kids today are consuming a vast amount of media. They're watching screens up to 10 hours a day. So whatever message we're sending is very clearly getting through. I think that the creators of media don't notice that there are so few female characters, because that's how it was when they were a kid. And if that's the only ratio you see growing up, it's not like some things were balanced, if that's the only thing you see, that starts to look normal. So if you're making a movie with 17% female characters, that looks normal to you, unless you've consciously thought about adding more female characters, which is why we're doing the research, why we're presenting it to people, so they'll say, "wait a minute. What am I doing?" So this repeated imbalance is sort of wearing a groove in their brains to make that ratio look normal instead of what should be in there, which is 50-50. So if we can change what is in there from the very beginning, change the balance, they will grow up expecting to see a world that's shared equally by men and women. They'll expect to be on a Board that's half women, or in a law practice, where half the partners are women.

Watch Geena Davis's video on How watching the media for hours on end affects expectations of reality...

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Geena Davis

Academy Award Winning Actor & Founder of Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Academy Award winner Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks. Earning the 2006 Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama, Davis broke ground in her portrayal of the first female President of the United States in ABC’s hit show “Commander in Chief.”In 1989, Davis received the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as the offbeat dog trainer Muriel Pritchett in Lawrence Kasdan’s “The Accidental Tourist.” She was again nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Ridley Scott’s “Thelma & Louise,” in which she co-starred with Susan Sarandon. Davis went on to receive a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of baseball phenomenon Dottie Hinson in “A League of Their Own.” Davis made her feature film debut starring opposite Dustin Hoffman in “Tootsie.” She went on to star in such films as “The Fly,” “Beetlejuice,” “Angie,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight,” and “Stuart Little.”

Few have achieved such remarkable success in as many different fields as Davis has: she is not only an Oscar and Golden Globe winning actor, but a world-class athlete (at one time the nation’s 13th-ranked archer), a member of the genius society Mensa, and is becoming recognized for her tireless advocacy of women and girls nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. She is the founder of the non-profit Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which engages film and television creators to dramatically increase the percentages of female characters – and reduce gender stereotyping – in media made for children 11 and under.

Davis was appointed Special Envoy for Women and Girls in ICT for the UN's International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Davis is also an official partner of UN Women, working toward their goal of promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide. Davis is the Chair of the California Commission on the Status of Women. Davis holds honorary degrees from Boston University, Bates College and New England College. 

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