Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Letter That Never Was

In case you wondered, Daughter Number Three has been mouthing off about newspapers and other printed stuff for at least 35 years. I don't have much to show for the first several decades of all that ire, but I recently ran across a box of old clippings while cleaning out the basement. It's fun to remember what it was about each one that made me save it.

I'll be sharing some of the more interesting ones over the next several weeks.

First up is a pair of photo features from July 1994. Both the Pioneer Press and Star Tribune sent a photographer to a cover a summer camp for kids who had been adopted from Korea.

Photos of a group of boys doing martial arts and a single girl getting her eyes made up
The PiPress piece, shot by Scott Takushi, ran first.

A girl in a ropes course harness, and a bunch of younger kids walking along a road
The Strib photos, by Joey McLeister, ran the next day.

Did you notice anything? I did, at the time, and drafted a letter to the editor of the PiPress. I'm not sure if I actually sent it, but if I did, it didn't get published. Here's what my younger self had to say:

The photos printed on July 7's metro front page were meant to show adopted Korean children learning "Korean culture." But what did they really show?

A number of boys doing tae kwon do movements, and a girl getting her face made up.

These images say so many things: boys are active, girls are acted upon. Boys are athletic; girls are pretty/attractive. Aren't girls at the camp encouraged to learn tae kwon do also? Might they not need it just as much as (if not more than) the boys? Wouldn't it build their self esteem, too?

I don't know what pictures photographer Scott Takushi brought back with him from this visit, but I question the judgment that went into selecting these two photos to represent the camp.
In contrast, the Strib photos show a girl doing a ropes course and a number of girls and boys walking.

I know, I know... the letter sounds pretty academic and whiny. And looking at Takushi's tae kwon do photo today, I see that there is at least one girl in the background of the shot, although she's pretty much out of focus.


Blissed-Out Grandma said...

That's the kind of thing a lot of us were trying to point out, to raise the consciousness of the decision-makers back then. Yes, we sounded a bit shrill. But we had a valid point.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the way girls started getting MORE positive messages than boys, and now there's a phenomenon of under-achieving males. The Law of Unintended Consequences, I guess.

Heewon said...

Yeah! Glad you wrote the letter.