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Fraternity Blog

Posted On: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 03:03 AM, by Regina Collins Erickson
I am not embarrassed to admit that I will be 40 next year. My age has made me privy to the experience of "social hour" on television. I grew up in a fairly strict home and recall references to this boundary set on programming; parents knew that they might be exposing their children to adult content if they permitted them to stay up past 9pm.

That once perceived "restriction" would now be a welcome protection. As a mom of four, I have become increasingly old-fashioned and hypersensitive as to what is on TV and the radio, and especially the Internet and social media. It is difficult to compete with the outfits, lyrics, airbrushing, and pace. I also see some of these conflicts between what we mimicked in my new member class 20 years ago and what I see collegians imitating today.

Undoubtedly, we are all influenced by the world around us, but the impact of the media on women has caused more hurt than unity. Just watch an hour-long television program, and consider the primary message about women and who the message is geared to. Are women being mocked? Are all types of women represented? What do advertisers want you to take away?

Maybe you think that it's simply "entertainment." To an extent, I agree. For many network owners, it is not entertainment; it is business - the very important business of perpetuating a set of ideas that help a few make a lot of money at the cost of many.

Watching the 88-minute documentary "Miss Representation" has motivated me to challenge this type of programming. It has motivated me to share the dialogue with Theta sisters, women from church, and even my husband and sons as they too play a role in some of these social constructs. In my work as an educator at a school where many girls complain about having to wear a uniform every day, many of them struggle to showcase their individuality beyond not being able to wear makeup and what clothes or shoes they would wear if we weren't so strict.

I am proud of Bettie Locke because she was a trailblazer - our trailblazer. She created the foundation for our sisterhood when none had been there for her to see. We must step up as Thetas and leaders in our chapters, families, campuses, and communities to change the way women are perceived. Let's be one of the organizations to join the movement and deeply affect change for all women. Host a small dinner party or just invite friends to watch and discuss it. The film is a jumping-off point to move us to action. It is our responsibility to impact our corner of the world and help us challenge what has been set out before us in exchange for a higher standard as women.

Regina Collins Erickson, Psi/Wisconsin, is the leadership development committee chairman for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity, and is a Life Loyal member.

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