What did you want to be when you grew up? Police officer? Fire fighter? President? I wanted to be in the military, specifically the air force. But that dream died, not because I didn’t think I could do it, but because I didn’t think that was my place in the world. Success weighed in outer beauty and personal wealth.

When I was a teenager, I was told that outer beauty mattered much more than personality. Since I liked Legos or PlayStation, I was not a popular kid growing up. Growing up was tough, specifically because I didn’t fit into the gender norms that every other girl did. It wasn’t until I was in high school that it was never my fault. It was the adults I grew up with and the children I played with, that made me look at myself and hate everything that I stood for.

Watching Miss Representation made me reflect back on my younger days and how I could have pursued much bigger aspirations. Television shows, movies, magazines, video games and many more media companies play a role in breaking down our personalities and then building us up to be unrealistic puppets. We’re suckered into buying beauty products that are no different than the other 20 featured in our local pharmacy. Yet, we’re deceived into thinking that beauty can come from a tube or jar, when it actually comes from our friends, family and real-world experiences.

Our experiences can be endless, but the possibilities of getting to our dream experiences can be hard to reach. The saying goes that in order to get what you want most, you have to try your hardest. How does that saying relate to people of color? To women? To transgender individuals? How does that saying benefit the white, privileged society the United States places so highly?

Written by Elizabeth Anderson

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Anderson is a Minneapolis native attending the University of Minnesota. She studies journalism, social justice and is a service-learner at NARAL in Minneapolis, MN. You can often see Lizzy jamming out to funky electrobeats or doing yoga in the courtyard on a sunny day. Lizzy has been inspired by the people at NARAL to pursue her passion into health education, specifically on HIV/AIDS. She hopes she will be lucky enough to educate others on public health in the Peace Corps. “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning”- Albert Einstein.

NOTE: Miss Representation is an award winning documentary film about the portrayal of women in the media. Available to own, or view on Netflix or Amazon Prime Streaming. The Representation Project is an initiative to use film as a change agent to overcome the damaging stereotypes we see every day in the media. To learn more, visit their website: http://therepresentationproject.org/

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