Community Colloquium hosts panel on women and media tonight

Story By: Lauren Baker, Art Director

Fresno City College and the Community Colloquium will host a discussion panel on beauty, women, and the media on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Skylight Room of the Old Administration Building.

The discussion panel will consist of 4 discussants: Francine Oputa (Director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute), Linda DeKruif(FCC Women’s Studies instructor), Larissa Mercado-Lopez(Fresno State Women’s Studies instructor), and Dympna Ugwu-Oju(FCC Journalism instructor), and will be moderated by Jean Carroll(FCC Linguistics & ESL instructor).

FCC instructors Wendell Stephenson, Paul Gilmore and Jean Carroll, are responsible for organizing the event.

According to Stephenson, the panel will discuss how the media distorts our ideas of beauty and how it affects a broad range of women.

“Our colloquia was designed to throw light on an issue of importance,” said Stephenson. “If girls, young women, and women are being shaped by cultural forces they may not be aware of and that may not be good for them, then this is a matter worth shedding light on.”

The idea for addressing this issue was inspired by a popular ad campaign.

“What drew our interest was viewing the Dove beauty commercial campaign that featured a commercial artist drawing women as they themselves described their appearance and as others who didn’t know them described their appearance,” said Stephenson.

The campaign video focuses on a group of a women who are asked to describe their physical features to an artist behind a curtain who will draw them based on the information they give him. The women are also instructed to get to know another woman participating in the event, as the artist will again have the women describe each other to him for a sketch.

The artist then reveals each pair of portraits to the women; one for each woman’s personal evaluation of herself, and the other a result of a strangers first impression. All the portraits that were made from the women’s view of themselves were harsher and seemingly depressing in comparison to the ones made from someone else’s point of view.

“Our culture appears to put tremendous pressure on girls, young women, and women to have a particular physical appearance whether it suits them or not. I think the colloquium we have in mind is a good one for any college in the U.S.” said Stephenson.

Students from all spectrums can benefit from this event, even the men. “One way a man can benefit from this event is that it may stimulate them into thinking about forces that act on them that aren’t particularly good for them.” Stephenson states. “I think this connection of certain body-building substances or suggestions that they’ll be successful with women by looking this way is a good point to make.”

The event will be open to all who are interested in attending and there will be an open question period following the moderated discussion for the panel.