How the media can be a tool for perpetuating sexual discrimination, or a vehicle for attitudinal adjustment

In recent months, the United States has been in the throes of a nationwide conversation, as people have begun to openly and actively engage with the problem of ‘rape culture’ in our society. Many have started to recognize the importance of taking a proactive role in preventing sexual assault, and working to create an American culture that is supportive of survivors and holds violators accountable for their actions. The Obama Administration has even joined the conversation, launching the “It’s On Us” campaign in September, which encourages people to pledge to be a part of the solution to this problem. (You can click here to take the pledge if you haven’t already.)

This talk, filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet in January 2013, is right in tune with the commentary on this national issue at the moment. Colin Stokes is the director of communications for the non-profit Citizen Schools, and he’s a father of two young children. In this video, Stokes expresses his concerns, as a father, with popular films that present male-dominated versions of reality, and how these movies may foster a negative attitude towards women. He discusses how the consumption of patriarchal media messages can confuse the young boys and girls who form impressions of the world from what they see. When images from film and TV present a skewed picture of reality for children to perceive, it ultimately impacts the image they construct of themselves in relation to their gender, the other gender, and society as a whole. Stokes urges his audience to be proactive in the media choices they make for their kids, suggesting that one of the simplest ways to establish social progress can start with the Netflix Queue.