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The Strength to Resist:
Media's impact on Women and Girls

Please click here to watch this video on YouTube's website

"The Strength to Resist: Media's Impact on Women & Girls" is a 33 minute documentary about the image of women in advertising. The film presents the ideas of girls and young women as well as those of the leading authorities in the fields of psychology of women and girls, eating disorders, gender studies, violence against women, and media literacy—and focuses their ideas on practical solutions and the best tactics for reclaiming our culture.

To avoid confusion, please note that as of January 1, 2005, the film titled "Beyond Killing Us Softly: The Strength to Resist" is now titled "The Strength to Resist: Media's Impact on Women and Girls." It is the same film.

"The Strength to Resist: Media's Impact on Women & Girls" is a powerful tool for teaching media literacy, building self-esteem in girls and women and for promoting reassessment of society's views of gender roles. This documentary is indispensable to the work of:

  • Academic courses in Psychology, Media, Sociology, Adolescent & Gender Studies
  • Women's Studies programs
  • Mental health Professionals
  • Media literacy programs
  • Teachers and youth workers
  • Violence prevention
  • Community organizers
  • Women's organization

Featuring the ideas of:

Gloria SteinemGloria Steinem, Co-founder, Consulting Editor of Ms Magazine, and author of numerous books and the eye-opening article, Sex, Lies & Advertising, continues her pioneering work of analyzing advertising. Her work on women and self-esteem directly addresses the self-hatred ingrained in consumerism and advertising.

Carol GilliganCarol Gilligan, Former Graham Professor of Gender Studies, Harvard University, author of groundbreaking books and studies of women and girls, caused a revolution in thinking. Her current work about developing healthy resistance in girls and women is crucial to understanding the underlying messages in our culture.

Gail DinesGail Dines, Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology at Wheelock College, author of Gender, Race and Class in Media: Text Reader, and Pornography: The Production and Consumption of Inequality, advocates for media literacy in her fascinating lectures about the hidden codes and conventions of advertising and the pervasive themes of violence against women.

Amy RichardsAmy Richards, Co-founder of Third Wave Foundation, a feminist organization for young women, co-author of Manifesta, Young Women, Feminism and the Future, co-editor of Adios, Barbie and host of "Ask Amy," an internet advice column for young women, offers a vital contemporary perspective about resisting advertising and consumerism and the importance of sports and physical activity in the lives of girls and women.

Valerie BattsValerie Batts, Clinical Psychologist, and Executive Director of Visions, Inc., an organization that trains and consults on issues of cultural differences and race. In the film Val and her daughter Jamila, a middle school student, explore issues of advertising's degrading approach to women of color and their anorexic and "white/light" beauty ideal. Jamila's views on the influence of Barbie and the value of parental mentoring illustrate the power and intelligence of the next generation.

Catherine Steiner-AdairCatherine Steiner-Adair, Clinical and Consulting Psychologist, and Director of Education, Prevention and Outreach of Harvard Eating Disorders Center, provides essential insight into the culture's role in eating disorders and dieting. Her latest work explores how to help girls and women stay in touch with their real bodies, rather than emulate the unhealthy models shown in fashion magazines, TV, ads and films.

What they say about "The Strength to Resist"

"Besides presenting shocking examples of the beauty trap, this documentary offers solutions to the problems...this film is highly recommended for girls and young women as well as the influential adults in their lives."
Sheryl Burton, Illinois State University, MC Journal of Academic Media Librarianship

"First of all, I love it!!! I am currently developing a media literacy program for girls ages 6-18 for Girls Inc. affiliate sites around the country. The video will be recommended as a resource. It really clarifies the link between girls' self-esteem drop in adolescence and mass media images of women. This is such a huge topic, it's ambitious to try to tackle it in 30 minutes, but it was done well. I particularly appreciate the positive focus of the video--so much work around sexism in the media focuses on the negative--showing solutions for resistance is so important and you did it so well. I also loved the girls who were interviewed--having girls' voices as part of this discussion is long-overdue. And by the way, Gail Dines rocks."
Erica Fletcher, Project Manager, Media Literacy, Girls Incorporated, National Office

"The Strength to Resist" is absolutely excellent and the study guide is outstanding. Thank you for this important feminist intervention."
Dr. Vickie Rutledge Shields, Director of Women's Studies/Associate Professor of Telecommunications, Bowling Green State University, author of "Measuring Up: How Advertising Affects Self Image "(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002)

"I was extremely pleased to discover that "The Strength to Resist" was not another re-do of the lecture series I had seen in the past. There were so many different, rich and intellectually informed perspectives. The focus was on solutions. I am so glad this excellent and long overdue film is available to my classes."
Lynda Dickson, Ph.D. Professor of Sociology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Awards and Screenings

Canyonlands Film Society, Moab Film Festival, "People's Choice Award Winner"

Film Festivals (partial list):

  • Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival
  • Reel to Real Film Festival
  • Columbus International Film Festival
  • Western Psychological Association Conference Film Festival
  • Hot Springs International Film Festival

Conference Screenings (partial list):

  • International Communications Association Annual Meeting 2001
  • National Women's Studies Conference 2001
  • Beijing Plus 5 International Conference, 2000
  • National Network for Youth Conference, Washington D.C., 2001
  • Family Violence and Sexual Assault Conference, 2000
  • Children's Rights Council 2001
  • National Social Science Association Conference, 2000

Ordering Information

Running time: 33 minutes.
Price: $225
The price includes public performance rights ( you can show it to a class or at a public event.)
Go to the order page.

About-Face: a San Francisco-based group that combats negative and distorted images of women.
Media and Communication Studies: a British-based gateway to Web resources useful in the academic study of media and communication.
New Moon Girls: A safe online community and magazine for girls, by girls.
Girls Inc.
Citizen for Media Literacy: a non-profit, public-interest organization linking media literacy with the concepts and practices of citizenship.
Center for Commercial-Free Public Education
Commercial Alert: An organization whose mission is to keep the commercial culture within its proper sphere, and to prevent it from exploiting children and subverting the higher values of family, community, environmental integrity and democracy.
Parent Further: About Media and Technology
Media Watch: a non-profit organization whose mission is to challenge abusive stereotypes and other biased information commonly found in the media through education and action.
Center for Media Literacy whose goal is to bring media literacy education to every child, every school and every home in North America.
National Organization for Women
Just Think Fundation
Gender Ads
American Academy of Pediatrics

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