Trista Hendren, author of The Girl God on The Social Network Show.
Trista, Jim, and Dr. J discussed new reports of teen suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among people 10-24 years of age. Suicide due to bullying/cyberbullying is being reported in the news, but no one knows the real number of attempted suicides. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number is 800-273-TALK (8255); the website is suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Dr. J tested this number and learned that because of the network of call centers, if you call, you will never get a busy signal and will always get a live person on the line.
Trista shared an article written by Rehtaeh Parson’s mother. Rehtaeh is a 17 year old girl who committed suicide after cyberbullying following a sexual assault. In the article, Rehtaeh’s mother poses the question, What is in place to help kids who are cyberbullied and who is helping the bullies, who also need help? She also asked for full cooperation from the social network sites.
The discussion about changes on Facebook included Facebook’s announcement that they will have Public Service Announcements about suicide. Both Dr. J and Trista typed in the word suicide on the search bar in Facebook to see if it takes you to a page that offers help. Dr. J found that the default Graph Search led only to the Facebook page of a heavy-metal band called Suicide Silence. Not helpful. From http://www.facebook.com/help typing “suicide” in the search bar still requires one or more clicks to find the page with actual numbers of suicide prevention hotlines, which is a step up from what they have had in the past.
Trista pointed out an interesting situation on Facebook–in spite of a stated policy of allowing pages to show breastfeeding, a woman whose site supports nursing mothers has been banned for 30 days for doing so. Trista also shared her opinion and experience related to pages showing pornography and child pornography on a social network. Trista and Dr. J speculated as to what could logically account for the contradictory actions.
Trista will continue to be featured on The Social Network Show in “The Trista Hendren Series.” Please check out the blog post titled, “Women and Girls Speak on Social Networks: The Good, The Bad and the Horrifying” by clicking here.
Learn more about Trista at thegirlgod.com.
The Social Network Show, September 27, 2013
Transcript provided by Dr. J (which is why it has taken so long to get it finished and uploaded 🙂
Guest: Trista Hendren
>>Announcer: Welcome! Hola, bienvenidos, bonjour et bienvenue to The Social Network Show. Welcome to the only worldwide show dedicated to social networking and social media. We give you actionable information to make your social networking the best it can be: from business to business, business to consumer, and for folks who just like to post. And now, broadcasting from the studios of the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies of UNLV, The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the hosts of The Social Network Show, Jim Nico and Dr. Jane Karwoski.
>>Dr. J: Welcome to the Social Network Show! We are glad to have you along with us today and we’ll be talking with Trista Hendren and along with me in the studio, of course, is Jim Nico. Our engineer is Richard Regal. Thank you Richard for your expert help in the sound booth and with our postproduction. Richard is also news manager for KUNV, the University station.
So we’re going to talk with Trista about some of the issues relating to the question of suicides that are plaguing the online community, you might say. Welcome to the show, Trista.
>>Trista: Thank you for having me.
>>Dr. J: So what is the latest? It seems like there have been some additional suicides lately.
>>Trista: Yes, there have been, both male and female, scattered all over, actually. It’s very upsetting to see these and some of the parents, like I know Rehtaeh Parson’s mom has a page where she oftentimes will post on this and she actually maybe I’ll read you what she wrote, because she had a really good post on this the other day about basically “Are we supporting kids with bully prevention, what they really actually need? And she was actually more critical of even the schools and the social media sites, but I don’t know I don’t know which way you can point the finger and figure out what’s the solution to this! I could look for that, I’d be happy to read it because I thought she had some valid points.
>>Dr. J: OK. Just a little bit of background from the CDC, between the ages of 10 and 24 suicide is the third leading cause of death among people ten to 24 years of age in the United States. And 4600 lives lost each year, but 157,000 report self-inflicted injuries so there’s …what we see really is the tip of the iceberg because as researchers have pointed out it’s very underreported because many attempts go probably unknown, unnoticed, or just unreported. The age group, what is interesting to me about what’s happening in connection with cyber bullying is that typically boys have been much more likely than girls to die from suicide; boys were 81% of that group 10 to 24 and girls only 19%, but what is in the news seems to be predominantly female
>>Trista: Yeah I think when I’ve looked at some of those statistics, it looks like girls were three times as likely to attempt, but boys were often much more successful. I think a lot of what we’re seeing now in the news, you know obviously not every suicide will go on the news, but what we’re seeing a lot with these young girls are girls that are bullied after sexual assault of some type and where those pictures have also been shared on social media, very inappropriately and passed around, which made it probably to the point, I would think, of being just completely unbearable for the girls to live through something like that.
>>Jim: One thing, Jim Nico here, Trista, and I wanted to bring in a little bit of my clinical background. I spent 20 years on the front lines of crisis intervention. One of the things I was an expert in is suicide ideology and treatment and prevention, etc. One of the things that, we don’t have control obviously overall of this, but to the extent that we do have control, one thing I hope the people hear in the show is that a big myth about suicide is that if you talk with someone who may be suicidal that you are increasing the possibility that they may do it, they may actually commit suicide. So this is one of the big myths that I had to deal with a lot as a crisis intervention specialist and I hope that, eventually I’ll blog about this in fact probably should soon, but in other words if any kid, because we’re all online now and because this this ideation, this thinking, is coming out in text and on social networks, it’s very important for people to know that if someone says Hey I’m thinking about suicide, but I’m not really gonna do it or anything like that, if you talk to them or write to them about it, it does not increase the likelihood that they’re going to kill themselves, it doesn’t. It actually is something that should always be discussed. So I just wanted to put in my insights.
>>Dr. J: Well, while we’re on that, I wanted to pass along early in the show and I’m going to later, this suicide prevention lifeline number which is for the United States is 1 (800) 273-TALK, 273-8255 and they also have a website www.youmatter.suicidepreventionlifeline.org and that is particularly for young adults and I tested that out last night. I called the number just make sure it was functional and I got through very soon to someone who was in Reno. I said, “I’m curious as to where you’re located,” after I explained I was calling and the person who answered the call and told me that a call, you will never get a busy signal if you dial that number 1-800-273-8255 because what happens is that it will rollover if it goes to your nearest geographical area and they, of course, have contacts right where, where you live but you can talk to someone who’s in your neighborhood you might say, your general area and it will, if that, if the nearest one is busy, it will roll over to the next nearest and if that’s busy it’ll rollover you know so you will always get a live person on the on the line. Also when you called that number there’s a special line, you push a particular number for veterans and military. So that will roll over to their particular dedicated line.
>>Jim: Thank you very much and by the way that number, I’ve called that with people. Here’s one more trick on that, not a trick, but one more really important point. One time I had someone who was suicidal and basically they wouldn’t call the hotline so I called the hotline we worked together on that. So it’s, it’s very, very good to get a professional in there, even though I’m a professional at it, what I’m saying is this happened to be a relative and it was something that I, I couldn’t be objective about, but I got someone at the suicide hotline on the line and they, it’s very good to go to them even if you know someone who suicidal, they can help guide.
>>Dr. J: Right, they make a special point of saying that, that anyone can call, someone feeling suicidal or in distress or someone who’s worried about a friend or family member or someone that they know online.
>>Trista: Well, you have to wonder too how many kids are just flat out miserable that aren’t, you know, killing themselves. But I really think this issue of the cyberbullying is, it’s so awful when you think about a young person facing this and I don’t think as a society we’re really prepared to deal with it. It’s still fairly new to us and I don’t, I don’t think even some parents realize how hard it is to get away from because in the past when you were bullied at school, that you could still come home to your safe space, which hopefully was your family. Whereas now, social media just follows you, unless you turn it off, which is what I’ve encouraged my son to do. Just turn it off. But I’m sure at some point, in his high school or whatever, he’ll probably want to, want to use it. But it’s just really hard to get away from the bullying when it’s 24/7.
>>Dr. J: Right, and the issue with turning it off is that, the way I look at it is that the younger generation now, has a sixth sense, you might say. We’re all used to being able to hear, and to see things that are in our immediate physical surroundings. They are growing up with this additional, extended reality of being online and the instantaneous contact and constant contact that is really like we were to say, “Well, if you don’t like what you see, just put on a blindfold.” It’s that extreme, for them to think of doing that. It would be like cutting off a limb or something.
>>Trista: I really want to share what Rehtaeh’s mom had to say because I thought she had many good points on here.
>>Dr. J: Oh, please do.
>>Trista: [from https://www.facebook.com/angelrehtaehofficial?fref=ts]
Thoughts of the day……..After reading new booklets from the school on “Bullying” and talking to government officials and just going over the issues involved with harassing others, I am left with a very dis-concerning thought. What if? What if the kids are speaking out against harassment online and in school? I believe many do speak out and what if the ones that don’t speak out is because they know! They know that nothing will be done and in actuality they will receive even more harassment for speaking out?
Today! Right now, what happens if a child goes to their teacher, parent, principal and asks for help? What are they told? What is in place to protect them? How can the bullying, cyber bullying stop? Sending a child home for the day to think about their behaviours just is not working. Not knowing what to do if the child is being harassed via texting/online is not the answer. I think we need to adopt a zero tolerance and full cooperation from social media sites need immediate attention. I mentioned previously that in grade six some of my fellow students were starting to grope me as I was developing into a young lady. I told my principal and it stopped that day. He brought them to the office and it was never mentioned again. I was safe to walk through the halls of my school without any repercussions for speaking out.
I have also been thinking that obviously bullies/tormenters have issues that cause them to pick on others. This gives them some sort of power that they may not have otherwise. Chances are that there are bigger issues brewing in the home environment. They need help too but to keep the student learning environment safe, harassing others has to be dealt with on a zero tolerance basis.
Every time I learn of another lost child to suicide….it just breaks my heart. The people who harass others do not even see how “their” role in harassing a person contributed to the death of another. Maybe it was not that ONE person but if they acted in any way towards the humiliation then they need to acknowledge that role and work towards being a better person. This aspect of not accepting what they did was wrong is the most troubling to me. –Leah Parsons
>>Dr. J: We’re going to talk more, when we go into the next segment, on her comment that we need ‘full cooperation from social network sites’ and discuss what is being presented as exactly that.
Announcer > Questions? Comments? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll be right back.
>>Dr. J: We’re back with The Social Network Show and I want to tell you a little more about our guest Trista Hendren. She is from Portland, Oregon. She and several colleagues together to develop a page on Facebook called Rapebook. It was StopRapeBook and the whole idea was to encourage mass reporting of objectionable sites that and pages and posts that encouraged violence against women. We spoke with her on the last time she was on and we’re glad to have her back.
>>Trista: Thank you for having me.
>>Dr. J: You know we really admire you for it effort you put in to that foray into doing Facebook’s work for them! You talked about how Rehtaeh’s mom indicated that we need full cooperation from social network sites. We know there is a new initiative, apparently, from Facebook to develop PSA’s, public-service announcements, to try to address the issue of youth suicide and to make it easy to report concerns about suicide of whether one is feeling suicidal or someone they recognize, they notice the post from one of their friends, Facebook friends, that they are feeling like harming themselves.
You know Trista, I couldn’t help not think, last night as I was searching on Facebook to find evidence of this new policy, that when you were involved with identifying those sites, that you actually got physically ill from it and your associates likewise. You know, I almost began to feel that way myself and it just because it is… I’m going to stumble along here because I’m just, I’m lost for words really, because I…it’s like if I knew a person who had a different view of reality than what everybody else is seeing and they were going along acting as if, you know this had happened ABC and everybody else knew XYZ was the truth in the case you know I’d figure, okay should we diagnose them? Get them to the nearest mental health facility? And yet this is how Facebook is coming across. Because what they say and what is actually the case are totally different!
>>Jim: Exactly. And here’s an example of something that could happen very quickly in my opinion. OK, so yesterday I listened to an interview with Jeff Bezos, the founder/CEO of Amazon. I don’t know if he’s still CEO, but he founded it. And he was talking about the new features of the Kindle Fire and he was talking about what appears to be a revolutionary new product that’s in the Fire, Kindle. And basically what it is, if you’re on Kindle Fire, which is a tablet, basically if you have trouble, you push a button which makes a signal. It’s called their “May Day!” feature, and you get live help. Someone comes on the Kindle, they can even, he even said they can draw on your screen and they, it’s immediate customer service from this company that sells everything from tablets to shoes, I imagine. So if they can do it, I mean the social networks can do it too. They can have a May Day button or a Help button, to where all of a sudden, here’s a trained counselor who could patch right through to suicide prevention or whatever. So, and we brought on Henry Lieberman, one of the professors at MIT; he talked about this technology they’re developing. So I don’t know if you want to get into this…
>>Trista: Well, they’ve actually, there was a big push for this out of the U.K. three or four years ago, that they were asking Facebook to install a panic button. And Facebook ultimately decided that they weren’t going to do it. So it’s been on the table for a long time and I guess my thought is that if it were a priority, it would already have been done. We really need to put more pressure on Facebook to do it, because like he said, there’s no reason in the world why they couldn’t do that.
>>Dr. J: Here is from September 17, which is about 10 days ago. Joe Sullivan, Facebook’s Chief Security Officer and somehow a member of the leadership team of the National Alliance for Suicide Prevention, I don’t know how long that’s been the case. So what he says they are doing on Facebook desktop, I think they mean as opposed to mobile, click “Report” on the upper right-hand corner of the post. All right, so Report is in quotes, there are quotation marks around “Report.” Now, I think most people literate in English would think that the word “report” was on the page and readable on the post in the upper right-hand corner. Wrong! There is nothing there. If you mouse over there, a little V, which is like a down arrow, appears. And you can click on that, but what it says is that you can “Report as spam.” So, it has nothing to do with suicide or concern. So I faithfully followed the instructions and I had to un-report, because I was reporting people’s posts as spam [laughter], it’s just so…
>>Jim: It’s not user friendly at all. It’s not convenient, Jane, and that’s the thing that…you imagine for a second that someone is actively being harassed on a social network, whether it be Facebook or any other one. They should be able to push a button like on the Amazon Kindle, and it be an emergency. It’s got to be simple. I mean in the old days, calling an 800 number was a simple action. And apparently it’s not happening on these social networks. So Jane is absolutely right, Dr. J, really a brilliant insight there and Trista, your idea that we need to put more pressure on, of course we can, because we have a precedent.
>>Trista: And the other issue is, OK, let’s say you report.
>>Dr. J: But you know what, I actually wasn’t even finished with that procedure, because it is harder than that, because if you finally, they say that you can type in the word, search for, “suicide” in the search bar. Well, if you’re on Graph Search, you cannot do that and that’s the default search bar when you’re on Facebook. You can ‘search for friends’ ‘search for people you know’ blah, blah, blah. If you type in suicide, you know what you get? “Suicide Silence” I don’t know if that’s the name of a band or an album, but it was impossible to get anything for suicide on that.
>>Trista: Well, actually, when I did type in, this is interesting, I just typed in ‘suicide’ and the first thing that popped up for me was Facebook help, suicide. I don’t know what’s there. But it did say OK “How do I help someone who’s posted suicidal content on Facebook.” “I need to find a suicide hotline.” That’s an improvement on what we’ve seen. The other thing that I would say is important that we have for a panic button, and this is where it came up in that case in the U.K. that when kids are being actively pursued by pedophiles, which in this case resulted in a girl’s death, that there needs to be some sort of help line for kids, too, where it’s instantaneous and simple. Like you were saying, where you just push a report button and you get instant help.
>>Dr. J: Right. To go back [laughter] I can’t get off of this, because I, like I said, spent a couple hours last night trying to track this down. You just referred to where you get help from a suicide hotline, a suicide hotline. There’s no number there! If you go down several, when you finally find it, it’s a live link and it will go to a whole sheaf of, list of countries and numbers to call in various countries. But it’s not accessible! But if you go down to the third thing, or fourth thing on what you were looking at there, there is a number for LGBT teens, so they’ve got a number for if you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, the number is there. So they have the idea, but they didn’t do it, for suicide in general. Do they not know what usability testing is? These are supposed to be experts [laughter] in electronic technology! What on earth! This is what I mean, it’s just a total disconnect between what they’re saying is there and what is actually there. Now when you typed in suicide and you found something, what search bar were you in, because it wasn’t the one I was using last night. Were you already in Help?
>>Trista: No, I was just in my main Facebook.
>>Dr. J: “Trista, how can we help you?” [in the search bar]
>>Trista: One thing you said that concerned me too, it sounds like none of this accessible on phones, which is one of the main ways that the kids are using Facebook. That needs to be a priority also.
>>Dr. J: Well, you know what, maybe they saw my answer when they asked “Is this helpful?” and I said No and I told them why and told them who I was. I don’t know maybe somebody got on it!
>>Trista: That would be a miracle.
>>Dr. J: OK, we’re going to continue with more gripes! No, I want to tell you about the handbook, the guidebook for educators on how to help kids use Facebook. That’s their latest wonderful way of helping humanity. So, thank you and we’ll go into that in the next segment.
>> Announcer: Want to be a guest on The Social Network Show? E mail us at email@example.com We’ll be right back. [music]
>> Student: Today in school I learned a lot. In chemistry I learned that no one likes me. In biology I learned that I’m fat. I’m stupid. In English I learned that I’m disgusting. And in gym, I learned I’m pathetic and a joke. The only thing I didn’t learn in school today is why no one ever helps.
>> Narrator: Kids witness bullying every day. They want to help but they don’t know how. Teach them how to stop bullying and be more than a bystander at http://stopbullying.gov
A message from the ad council.
>> Announcer: And now back The Social Network Show.
>>Jim: We welcome you back to the Social Network Show with Dr. J and Trista Hendren. I want to announce that we are doing a series with Trista, called The Trista Hendren Series on The Social Network Show. You can reach us at http://thesocialnetworkshow.com. You can also reach us on Twitter @socialnetshow. You can reach Trista @thegirlgodbook. And we welcome your comments at any time.
>>Dr. J: You can also find us on YouTube. I want to let you know about that. Just go to YouTube and search Social Network Station. http://youtube.com/socialnetworkstation
>>Jim: So continuing on, Dr. J you had something about, what were you going to get into?
>>Dr. J: Well, it’s a new publication from Facebook and it’s available as a PDF, written in faint grey upon white, I might add. I mean, number one, it’s barely readable. It is filled with things that would make so much more sense if you didn’t know that it was so impossible to get them to respond to a complaint or a request to remove something, or a report. Here’s a “Did You Know.” Did you know “Facebook is based on real names and authentic identities. Facebook requires that its registered users represent who they are in the real world. [laughter from Jim and Trista.] It’s the most basic safety tool.” We agree on that one! “The reason for this is simple. When people are accountable for their actions they are more likely to behave well and treat each other with respect. On Facebook the connections are real and authentic. If anyone discovers a user posing as someone else, they should report it.”
>>Jim: Oh, my goodness gracious!
>>Trista: I’m going to have to read that whole book.
>>Dr. J: Do you laugh or cry!? I mean really, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This is so absurd.
>>Trista: You know I actually ran into, when we did Rapebook, there were certain people that even admitted to having hundreds of different screen names. So, yeah, that just really does not ring true to me at all.
>>Dr. J: Well that’s why I say, you wonder what planet are they living on?
>>Jim: So OK, I have a question, I can’t contain myself now. Let me get this straight. Recently, we’ve heard about these situations where parents and people that are trying to help kids from like getting cyber harassed, stalked on social networks and get into trouble, get worried, depressed, and eventually kill themselves. So now, did I hear correctly lately there was a ban on breastfeeding on social networks?
>>Trista: and it’s interesting, I just pulled this up today and it says, it’s actually on Facebook and it says, “Does Facebook allow photos of mothers breastfeeding?” I just sent this to my friend who was banned for a picture of a woman breastfeeding several days ago for 30 days. It’s says, Facebook policy “Yes we agree that breastfeeding is natural and beautiful and we’re glad to know it’s important for mothers to share their experiences with others on Facebook. The vast majority of these photos are compliant with our policies. Photos that show a fully exposed breast, where the child is not actively engaged in nursing, do violate the Facebook terms.”
>>Dr. J: That’s because nipples, of course, are not natural.
>>Trista: Nipples are supposedly not allowed, although I’ve seen full-on pornography on Facebook, I’ve seen penises on Facebook. So I think that that doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. Like I said, a friend of mine has three pages that I consider to be viable, very important services for women, girls, and also young boys, she has on young boys, was just banned for 30 days. That’s maddening to me because I’ve seen child porn on Facebook, I’ve seen threats, I’ve seen so many things where I didn’t feel like Facebook took any sort of action at all. And yet supposedly the policy allows breastfeeding pictures and now this woman was banned for thirty days for posting breastfeeding pictures so it doesn’t really make any sort of logical sense.
>>Dr. J: Well it does if you think of the people making the decisions as misogynists.
>>Jim: Define that, Jane, will you define misogynists? It doesn’t have anything to do with massage…
>>Dr. J: People who hate women! I mean, think about it. This is something that women are doing that is a womanly thing and they are the actors, the promoters, the people who are posting it. Versus porn, which is usually posted by men who are objectifying women and using them as sex objects.
>>Jim: Well, thank you for pointing that out because I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why a man wouldn’t want to look at a breast! But I see what you mean. It’s not seen in a…
>>Trista: I have a great quote from an article yesterday, I was trying to look…but it gets to the heart of what Jane was just saying. I’ll have to pull this up too, I’ll quote the author because I think she did a great job. “I hearby proclaim that breasts are awesome. The have the ability to make food with profound nutritional and medicinal properties, they give comfort, they are beautiful. But for some reason we seem to shy away from thinking of breasts as powerful mediators of nourishment and solace and loveliness. Breasts, according to every magazine in the grocery store checkout lane and every third television commercial during an NFL game and every wire contraption disguised in lace at every Victoria’s Secret store, are meant to be bound, taped, surgically enhanced, and packaged. Breasts are not powerful, beautiful parts of a woman’s body that give life and love. They are objects used to sell things, used to determine a woman’s worth, used to … well, just plain used. In many ways, breastfeeding is a radical and holy affront to this objectification of breasts in particular and women in general.” http://bustedhalo.com/blogs/our-lady-of-la-leche-on-the-radical-and-holy-act-of-breastfeeding
>>Jim: Wow, that, that’s a, that really says it.
>>Dr. J: Because those that are looking at breasts for sexual excitement or gratification really are uncomfortable with the idea of them nourishing babies.
>>Jim: Oh, OK. Fascinating.
>>Trista: And this is from an article, I want to be sure we credit the woman, on the Radical and Holy Act of Breastfeeding by Caitlin Kennell Kim.
>>Jim: Fascinating. Well, thank you for enlightening me on that, because I couldn’t figure out what it was, but what you’re saying then and that’s what that objectification aspect of the whole object thing. So that’s what that means, right Jane? It’s a, you’re taking a, can you talk about that from a psychological, we have an experimental psychologist here folks. We gotta like leverage, Jane can you, you and Trista help me out further on this?
>>Dr. J: Well…it comes down to meaning. What is the meaning that a person attributes to breasts. And when, in the male-dominated society, has been generations and eons of time to keep women in their service that, you know that might even be part of it too! ‘It’s supposed to serve ME, not that little baby!’
>>Trista: And that’s the irony. I did a post about this yesterday with the Facebook ban on the breastfeeding. Is that if you just spend a few minutes, you can find all sorts of sites specifically about teen girls’ breasts. Example, hotteengirls, teenboobs, hotgirlsbigboobs, were a couple that I found yesterday. And those are fine apparently, some of them have 200,000 fans, but anything having to do with breastfeeding, it’s like “Oh! you know!”
>>Dr. J: “Oh my gosh!”
>>Jim: Well, one fan! One lonely fan, sitting in the corner, fan for breastfeeding, that’s it. Unbelievable! Unbelievable! I mean this is like, I mean from a male point of view, the thing about it is, I’m looking at our engineer sitting in there and he’s one of the coolest guys I know, but he and I are, at least I think, we’re like, this is news to us. I didn’t know about a lot of this stuff. Cause we’re males, we’re inundated with this. Everywhere you look, you’re looking at, you know the objectification of women and it’s like we’re so used to it. So what I’m saying this is really helping me to gain perspective, because we’re like, overloaded with, you know, sexual innuendos. Holy mackerel, it’s Vegas, man! We’re in Vegas!
>>Trista: I think it’s really dangerous for young girls also, to get this, these ideas about an ideal woman’s body. It’s almost like real bodies are banned, whereas what they’re seeing is Photoshopped, unrealistic images which cannot possibly be good for a girl developing self-esteem.
>>Dr. J: True
>>Jim: Yeah, that’s a good point. I remember one day, I was, a little quick story, down at the Fashion Show Mall, in Las Vegas, which is fascinating because you can overlook, you’re looking at some of the most luxurious hotels and places in the world. And I was talking to a lady down there, I was having a cup of coffee and we were sitting there and her daughter and her daughters were circulating around. She had a very interesting method of keeping track of the girls. And at one point, I said, “What is it about this town that makes it so, I mean especially the woman thing, where it’s like it’s pretty…I guess in the old days we’d call it risqué. I mean the way people dress and stuff and it was just kind of bothering me and I said, “What is it?” And she said, “It’s so competitive. I mean you think Hollywoood’s competitive?” she said, “On every street corner there’s a plastic surgeon here.” It’s like crazy. Women are having to compete by enhancing their normally beautiful bodies, and it’s sad to me.
>>Trista: Well it’s a way of keeping women down, because instead of focusing on what an amazing person they could become, what they could achieve and accomplish to change the world, we are really pressuring girls from a very young age to fit into this completely unrealistic and plastic version that’s not really even a full woman. We’re kind of suppressing their humanity.
>>Jim: Oh, that’s an interesting insight into it. Jane, that’s what’s happening, isn’t it? They’re having to fit a mold, right? And men, in general, are pushing this? Am I correct? Is that still going on?
>>Dr. J: Well, it’s, there’s also the phenomenon of ‘identifying with the oppressor.’ And that’s when in this case, women know which side the money, the success, is on and it’s the males–that they will buy into that and that’s where a lot of the competition comes from, is because if all the girls are trying to become the ideal feminine image, or whatever, or this temptress that is the Siren, and that is why you see people, women in various states of exposure, let’s say. And they maybe don’t even realize how that is buying into the whole power structure and that you know, what…are you going to be upset when someone ogles you?
>>Jim: Quick story, we don’t have long, but I remember, I don’t know if it was Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen, 19, 23, or 145, in fact I don’t even know if it was in the movie! But I remember seeing this scene, it was amazing to me. There was this guy and he was in charge of the hostesses in a casino, Vegas casino. And he said, “You know, we really have to like portray this classy, very very exquisite, sophisticated image here. And all the, there was about 10 girls standing there, women, young women, and they were all working at the casino and he said, “very sophisticated, really need to be classy” and they all looked at him kind of puzzled. And he said, “Let’s hike up those skirts another couple of inches!”
>>Trista: Yeah. I think it’s an economic issue too, though. Because when women only own 1% of the world’s wealth and still earn, if they’re white, 70 cents on the dollar. When we talk about women competing against each other, they’re also competing for money and status and power, because they’re excluded from basically earning their own money, or at least to the extent that men can. So I think we’re really still putting women and girls in a position where they have to be subservient to a man.
>>Dr. J: Right, because that is the way they will gain that power, is through association with the rich and powerful, or the successful.
>>Trista: We have a few women that are doing really well financially but in general, that’s just not the case.
>>Jim: So what are those stats again? You say 1%, will you address that one more time?
>>Trista: One percent of the wealth is concentrated [with women], and actually with white men, but males in general, own that 99%. And then in the U.S., income disparity is a huge issue where if you’re a white woman you earn 77 cents on the dollar that a white man earns. And then if you, I think Hispanics are somewhere around 52 cents and African American women are somewhere in the middle. So it really has a lot to do with not only being a woman, but also minority women, women of color, tend to make even less. So when you’re looking at half, that is crazy. I actually did a curriculum with my son when he, he’s really good at math, so when he was in 3rd grade I did a curriculum with him based on the economic outcomes that he and his sister were likely to have during the course of their lifetimes. And it took him through the whole, going to college, and let’s say you start at the same place, but you do this, then she takes off some time for having a baby. At the end, even at a fairly conservative rate she ended up with retirement benefits in terms of savings, a million dollars behind. So when you tabulate the economic difference, 77 cents maybe doesn’t sound that big when it’s only on the dollar, but when you look at the entire cost to a woman throughout her lifetime, especially considering that most women are the caregivers in their families and will pay economically for that as well, it’s a huge, huge difference and it really puts women at an enormous disadvantage. It can lead to lot of women staying in very abusive situations because they don’t have economic options to do other things. Especially when you’re talking about women who are poor or minorities.
>>Dr. J: Well we have covered a lot of ground here to today. Thank you so much, for joining us, Trista. We’ll look forward to talking with you again.
>>Jim: Thank you. And remember that you can go to http://TheSocialNetworkStation.com and make comments on our blog. Trista is also commenting there, if you want to talk about what she talked about on The Trista Hendren Series on The Social Network Show. Thank you.
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