By Shani Harris Peterson
In Fall 2010, The Society for the Psychology of Women’s (Division 35) Feminist Media Task Force launched a new media initiative called “FemPop!”—a blog devoted to examining and critiquing popular culture using a psychological feminist framework. FemPop’s mission is simple: by reflecting on the popular—the films, songs, videos, magazines, billboards, celebrity antics, and political drama that permeates our everyday lives—we will pinpoint ways that popular culture influences the lives of girls and women. And better still, we aim to highlight strategies to resist media messages that undermine healthy psychosocial development and emphasize elements of the popular that enhance who and how we are.
As Chair of the Feminist Media Taskforce, it has been a pleasure to work with members, scholars, and activists committed to the thoughtful examination of how the popular affects the personal. My background as both a filmmaker and a psychologist has made this work even more personally significant. My research and my film projects have long centered around two questions: how do media affect self- and other-centered perceptions of girls and women? And can media be used prescriptively—meaning, can we create or prescribe forms of media that promote well-being in girls in women? Exploring these questions in a public, interactive media space has sparked the formation of new ideas and partnerships; an unexpected yet welcome benefit of shifting formal academic questions to an accessible public space.
Since its launch, FemPop has explored a wide array of topics, including:
intimate partner violence,
sexual stereotypes and their influence on body image,
the importance of the self-told Chicana experience,
and the objectification of women in popular films.
And this is just the beginning. In the coming months members can expect even more from FemPop as we increase our presence in the blogosphere. We’ll be highlighting media creators whose work provides positive examples for girls and women, introducing new and diverse voices whose scholarship will enhance our understanding of the popular world, featuring a “Collabo Corner” where interested readers can connect and transform critique to health promoting actions. And for those who want to continue to the discussion beyond the pages of the blog, keep an eye out for new links to like-minded websites, blogs, and other supplementary resources. With the help of guest and regular contributing bloggers, FemPop is positioned to become a go-to source for APA members and anyone else interested in exploring the influence of popular culture on girls and women.
For more information, visit, read, and comment on our site at: www.fempopculture.blogspot.com
To become a guest or featured blogger, send your name and proposed blog idea to Shani Harris Peterson.