Media Launch - Thursday, November 4, 2010

Manitoba Teachers' Society

  • Students from Brooklands School, George Waters Middle School and St. James Collegiate issued a challenge to media and advertisers today to stop promoting gender stereotypes and unhealthy “ideal” body images today.
  • “Shows like Extreme Makeover and coverage of celebrities that are in and out of plastic surgery like a grocery store, speak to women, and remind them that they're not pretty enough" said Jessica Dawes, a Grade 10 student at St. James Collegiate. “Because we are so young, we are still looking for ourselves and trying to find the confidence we lack. Media is the added weight that keeps young women down."
  • "They want young men like me to think that happiness is having a well-built body,” said Brenden Gali, who is in his final year at St. James Collegiate. “We all have to be the alpha male, and when everyone tries to be, nobody is. I don’t believe I will ever find myself riding a horse while washing myself with Old Spice body wash.”
  • Pat Isaak, President of The Manitoba Teachers’ Society, complimented the three groups of students for their courage in sharing their feelings and speaking about gender and media issues. She said that pressure on youth to conform has always been around. “But we didn’t face the relentless pressure of a 24/7, 500-channel, wired world.”
  • Isaak also thanked teachers. “Part of our everyday work is to be vigilant about these messages and images and get students to question and analyze what they see and hear and why it’s being directed at them.”
  • The student presenters also issued a challenge to students across the province to create videos, podcasts, posters and other media projects to show how they feel about “Gender and Media,” the theme of this year’s Media Literacy Week. “We want everyone express exactly what they feel, in whatever creative way they want,” said Gali.