Cover Girl Culture

Category: Blog

Big picture about media and what we can do to restore sanity.

The Media Matrix is a massive challenge to tackle.  How do we help it evolve into a healthy medium for society?
To evolve out of the Dark Ages of Media and into the Golden Age!

Thanks to lobbyists government involvement could take until the turn of the next century so that’s out.

So that leaves media and us.

What can media do?   Have integrity and be responsible for the messages it’s sending young audiences, especially in instances when teens and tweens are it’s main target or demographic. There are not strange machines running the media. It’s human beings, there is no longer an excuse for ‘these people’ to turn a blind-eye.

What can WE do?  Raise our children consciously and teach them media literacy among other key skills like how to be a kind, considerate, compassionate human beings.  Instill true values and be positive role models.  Discuss sex and sexuality and what it means.  Discuss the history of mankind and it’s failings and strengths.  Encourage them to find ways to contribute to our culture and world to leave it a better, more spectacular place. Teach them to be motivated by more than just money and fame.  This sounds idyllic and like a lofty, utopian dream but when our founding forefathers set out to create America they had just as big fish to fry.  If you can dream it – it’s possible.  Keep the bar raised – aim high!

Pushing the envelope – singers resort to S&M, violence and near nudity to sell music. What’s next…

If sex sells and pushing the envelop are the keys to a successful media blitz campaign then what happens once we become desensitized to what ‘normally’ titillates, shocks and makes us gasp and whisper “What will they do next?”

Pop stars, celebrities, reality stars and the like are already nearly naked and violence in music videos is expected. Video truly killed the radio star.

My prediction is they will have to get 100% naked, perform soft porn and bestiality to compete for press attention.
And some will say “It’s art! The artist is brilliant at expressing our inner animalistic nature!” While others will boast “It crosses all race, gender and cultural boundaries and penetrates deep into our archetypal collective unconscious!” Hail the animal humping pop-stars who have blessed our planet. Come on people – quit protecting media stunts in the name of art.  Or my personal favorite, the argument that parents should keep their teens from seeing any of this.  It’s next to impossible to shelter a teen/tween from media! Some people believe parents are superheros. Media saturates our lives. If kids don’t see it at home they see it at school on their peers’ phones, computers…. It’s true parents are the first line of defense but media outlets who target teens and tweens get to grow up and take responsibility too.

Why have we forgotten that a singer earns the title ‘singer’ for their voice?  Aretha, Connie Francis, Brenda Lee, Momma Cass, Lavern Baker, Pasty Cline, Peggy Lee never had to bare their bodies and resort to S&M to sell music.

The mark of a TRUE vocal talent is that he/she can sell songs without music videos and nearly naked photoshoots of themselves.

Are there any young singers who can make this bold claim?

PLEASE tell me!!

Why the price difference? Lending out my film hurts. Here’s why:

Many people scoff at the price difference of the HOME DVD and SCHOOL/LIBRARY.  When I started my documentary I didn’t know there was a price difference in DVDs sold to home vs schools/churches.  I had to become educated as to the laws and reasons why this is so.

What I learned:

One major reason is the number of people who will potentially watch the film at home versus at a school/library/church is drastically different. #2 reason is that it’s a PUBLIC SCREENING.

$29 allows home viewing – roughly 10 people will see it. Maybe more if you have a big family or a few friends come over.

$89 allows school/library/church – roughly 50-300 will see it in a year (x) times endless years.  This reduces the number of home copies sold and therefore the price difference. It works out to a few cents per viewer.

Some teachers/groups will download movies for free (illegally) and show it to large groups to the loss of film makers. We are a husband and wife team, not a massive film studio that can afford the loss of sales due to cutting-corners, piracy, theft or well-meaning sharing of my work. If you believe in our work – vote with your dollar and support us.  🙂

$265 for universities allows hundreds to thousands of students to see the film EVERY year for endless years.

Without sales I cannot continue to make documentaries.  My husband and I created this website ourselves and funded the making of the film over 5 yrs.  I handle packing/shipping of dvds, maintaining the website, logging footage for new projects, accounting, marketing and other far less exciting things.  If I were in this for the money, as one upset customer complained about the school price, I would have stayed in modeling or gone into another line of movie making. ;) This is my passion and I believe it to be a worthwhile one. Thank you for your support.  Also – what kind of lesson would it be to young girls to learn that I gave up on modeling to pursue a noble cause only to have people try to get my work for free, pirate my work or pass it around without payment?  What girl would want to follow their hearts and chose a noble path if that was an outcome? I am doing my best to educate consumers about the plight of indie film makers because there are many more in my shoes who struggle with the same issues — so I hope this helps consumers understand and support our work. I think the glitch is that most folks think movies are made by big studios and won’t care if they pass them around or copy them.  Once people understand indie film makers are individuals, like themselves, I think things will improve.

UPDATE: May 2011.
Due to too many teachers/librarians ordering the HOME USE dvd for their schools I’ve had to remove the option from Amazon and my site. This hurts individuals who wished to purchase a copy for their daughters/family to watch and myself.

Another issue that has come to my attention is many people are passing around my DVD to friends, with only good intentions.  What happens is that for every household you lend it to it’s a potential loss of sale.  A close relative enthusiastically informed me they lent it to 5+ families.  While her intent is purely to spread the message to girls, it affects my ability to continue as a documentary film maker due to lost sales.  If my film was embraced by media and purchased to air on TV or theatres I could afford to let all the ‘sharing’ slide.  Grassroots is how Cover Girl Culture is living and breathing.  Perhaps the solution is to ask those who ‘borrowed’ my film to make a donation of a few dollars to my work?   Many folks don’t realize that my husband and I poured a good portion of our savings into making this film over the last 5 yrs.  We hope to one day recoup it.

If you’ve ‘borrowed’ my film from a friend or shared it with several people I would appreciate a small donation since they didn’t have to buy it for themselves.  Perhaps this is a way to help offset loss of sales? Big studios can absorb such loses but it’s tough on indie filmmakers.

Shero: Julia Garcia, age 19

FEATURED SHERO: Julia Garcia for her incredible artistry and powerful message.
“While always open to individual interpretation, the intention I had with this painting was very specific. It is the first in a body of work using animal iconography and the human form to comment on society’s warped ideals concerning physical beauty, and the ways in which we contort ourselves in pursuit of it.” -Julia    (acrylic on linen, 30″x40″)

When I was part of the problem…I falsely represented a perm

During my modeling days, back when I was part of the problem, I modeled for various companies/clients.
We never asked about the truth of the products or the methods of advertising.  We just got paid oodles to look pretty and not ask questions.
Here is a perfect example of just how utterly FALSE products can be. (my hair was NOT permed for this shoot)
Neither myself or the other model had our hair permed with the product advertised.  Instead they curled our hair with curling irons, teased it with combs and sprayed a can of hair spray on us.  So next time you consider buying a hair product – do not believe what you see as advertised.  Same applies to most cosmetics.  Modeling clients (such as this perm company) were not allowed to alter our look without express permission from agents.  Not even an eyebrow plucked without consent from our agent….seriously.  (silly, I know) Thus hair color ads are Photoshopped as are many other ads.  The worst offender and most obvious, at least to me, are mascara ads:  glued on lashes or Photoshopped lashes with bold claims of 60% longer lashes or 100X thicker!
This practice still continues today – false advertising, but now the lies are digitally enhanced.

Teen Vogue: same tricks. Stick thin models in swimsuit issue

I filmed this last summer and just found the video.  One editor at Teen Vogue states (during her interview) that they ‘shy away from using thin girls, especially in bathing suits, because they don’t want anyone feeling badly about themselves’.   Hmm, looks like they haven’t made up their minds about what is considered thin…


How do you inspire women to love their bodies?

Before you can love your body you have to love yourself.  You can’t love yourself from the outside in….

Start closest to your heart and move outwards.  To reach the outer you must love and approve of WHO you are.

What you look like is secondary.   A perfect example is if you take a fashion model or celebrity who is “beautiful”, according to society, yet who is unhappy.  They have the LOOK but they don’t love themselves on the inside, so the outer doesn’t matter. So clearly the package isn’t the secret to happiness.

Take a look at what’s keeping you from loving yourself.
Get some paper and start writing down the things you LOVE about yourself and things you dislike.
BE HONEST – the only way to lift yourself is to plough through the old beliefs and dislikes you have.  Address everything you are unhappy about, in yourself.
Even something like “I don’t like my handwriting, my voice or I can’t do _____ as well as so and so.”
It’s called ‘negative self-talk’.  It plays like a broken record in your head unless you upgrade it with positive, loving thoughts/feelings.  (without faking it)  In order to reach the loving thoughts/feelings about yourself you need to dig deep and heal.  Just choosing to do this is a symbol of self-love and acceptance in action.
But also make a list of the things you LOVE about yourself.  Sometimes this is the easier place to start for folks.  Others find writing the stuff they dislike easier  — just remember to write what you love about yourself.  If you can’t think of anything – ask friends/family what they love about you. It is important you find something yourself as well.

Take a look at the things you wrote that you don’t like about yourself. Play detective and get to the bottom about why you believe this about yourself.  Ask yourself questions.

Why did you invent that you weren’t good enough?  Why are you not worthy of _____?

When did you start believing or feeling this way?   How do you feel about not being worthy?
Get real with yourself and figure out what caused you to believe these things?
Once you have a list of substantial things you dislike – write down the opposite belief.
ie) I hate how I can’t do _____ well.   UPGRADE = I embrace my ability to do _____ to the best of MY ability.
I enjoy doing ________ .     I love and APPROVE OF MYSELF.   Rinse, repeat as many times as you can every day.
Maybe you wish to improve your ability instead of just embracing where you’re at:  ‘I choose to improve my ability to do________ and I lovingly allow myself to grow and learn in this skill. I may screw up a few times but I will persevere and eventually figure it out.”

We have good days and tough days.  Emotions play a part so be mindful of days when your emotions are intense or unsettling. Take note of when this happens (what triggers them) and you will better learn the ebb and flow of your emotions and master them with greater ease instead of feeling tossed about when they change.  For me, the one thing that can offset my emotions is my monthly cycle.  But  over the years I’ve become aware of this and I have practiced being mindful of signs that my emotions are being swayed by hormonal shifts in my body.  Doing so has allowed me to master my mood.  Another emotional rocker is stress.  Stress about work, health, finances, relationships….and we all have our share in varying degrees.  We do have a CHOICE about how we REACT or respond to stress.

NASA lost in space on women’s issues

NASA and The White House chose to put women in tights on stage at an event to INSPIRE girls to pursue careers in science, engineering and math.  But how on earth do skimpy dressed cheerleaders convey anything of the sort?    Clearly NASA is lost in space…

NASA cheerleaders

Self-esteem for sale…and more

Advertisers cleverly mask their products with promises that you’re buying ‘happiness’, ‘confidence’ and ‘character’ when really NONE of that can be bought or sold.  Self-esteem is developed, nurtured and strengthened by YOU and you alone. (except with children – then parents and family members strongly influence the development of the child’s self-esteem).

REMEMBER this next time you feel ‘compelled’ to buy something.  Also watch this first episode called The Century of the Self. (BBC film)  Episode 1: The Happiness Machine.   You’ll quickly learn how your thoughts/feelings have been manipulated by media and WHEN it all started. Edward Bernays is a misguided individual who misguided his fellow man and nation. He used psychological warfare on his own people and happily helped corporations employ his techniques.

Where would we be…

Where would we be if Mother Teresa obsessed about her robes and her looks for hours each day?

What if Madame Curie didn’t spend enough time in the lab and instead was in front of a mirror?

Or if Sally Ride was worried about her weight and focused on her waistline instead of academics and pursuit/dream of being an astronaut?

What if Nelson Mandela was concerned about his wardrobe and wealth instead of his soul and his country?

What if Oprah had just sought fame and media attention by misbehaving and promoting materialism instead of making the choice to help people find solutions to their problems, inspire people to overcome obstacles and follow their hearts?

Where would we be if Paris Hilton had a sense of true values and compassion for girls and young women? Or cared about and made an effort to help girls in third world countries? Was a volunteer for a community (not because of criminal punishment) or a Harvard grad student with honors in stem cell research?  She could clone herself…..just kidding.

What if…we were all less concerned, distracted and deluded by image?  What would we accomplish?  What kind of person would we be?

According to the latest research – other nations are surpassing our academic achievements by leaps and bounds both at the high school and college/university levels.  America is failing academically and in many other ways.  The richness of a nation is measured by it’s shining contributors to society and the world.

How can we inspire our girls to untangle from the media matrix’s web and be free of the distracting and misleading ‘values’ it peddles?


thanks to Trisha Graves for sharing this video!

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