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"Healthy Media" or Fiscal Health?

Demian Brady

Looking at some of the ways Members of Congress dream up to spend our money, you’d think the Treasury was awash with funds. For example, take this proposal: H.R. 4925, the Healthy Media for Youth Act, introduced by Representative Tammy Baldwin with 25 co-sponsors. The bill devotes $200 million over the next five years for grants to promote media literacy and youth empowerment programs (youth empowerment has something to do with promoting self-esteem). It also establishes a task force to develop steps and goals for "promoting healthy and positive depictions of girls and women in the media."

The media literacy grants would go to programs that:

  • educate youth on how to apply their critical thinking skills when consuming media images and messages;
  • promote healthy, balanced, and positive media depictions of girls and women among youth; and
  • counter the perpetuation and damaging effects of narrow, restrictive gender roles, stereotypes, and expectations, including the sexualization of female children, adolescents, and adults.

Sure, we want children to think critically and be able to apply that skill in their daily lives. That is what are schools are supposed to be teaching. Do we need another program for that? Do we want the government wading into a discussion of appropriate gender roles?

And, by the way, the government is pretty damn near broke. Yesterday it was announced that a dubious record was set: 19 straight months of deficits. It’s time for politicians to get their priorities in order before we end up like California or Greece.


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