Thursday, October 6, 2016

Selfies, Short Films, The Geena Davis Institute And The Media's Effect On Self Esteem For Girls: Dr Barbara Becker Holstein, Psychologist, Filmmaker, Brings It All Together

Dr. Holstein's award-winning books, plays and short films offer solutions to problems that impact today's teens and tweens and helps them develop positive self esteem

Geena Davis is famous for many reasons, one of the most important being her work to bring attention to gender stereotyping in film. To that end she formed the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. As stated on their website, the organization hopes to "engage, educate, and influence the need to dramatically improve gender balance, reduce stereotyping and create diverse female characters in entertainment targeting children 11 and under." She and her organization clearly understand that films drive our perceptions of the world and that the filmmaking industry should pay attention to how gender stereotyping and everything that results from it can affect the lives of viewers.

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, a visionary who combines psychology with filmmaking, approaches these issues in diverse ways. Like Ms. Davis she understands the importance of media in the lives of young people. She takes the real life issues young women face and attempts to help young people make sense out of a topsy-turvy, selfie-facebook-video-film based reality. As a Positive Psychologist who uses film to promote communication, she understands that this has become more than just another teen 'issue'. The influence technology has on teens today had become THE issue of the day. The Washington Post, Time Magazine, Huffington Post, CNN, Forbes Magazine - the sheer number of news organizations that have addressed the issue is staggering.

The New York Times Magazine recently presented an article entitled "How should you deal with social media’s constantly increasing demands? Be more like Beyoncé." Another in the Metropolitan section was entitled "From Books to Apps to Virtual Reality".

"Geena Davis's work is vitally important on many levels," Dr. Holstein stated.  "It isn't enough to present programming to youngsters that is 'safe' and perhaps educational.  Not if there are fewer characters who are female than male and not if the female characters have less important information to share or are stereotyped.

"The NYT article on social media is a great connector to my thoughts that the Selfie has the potential to be art. Facebook is a kind of constant selfie. People just haven't figured out what they should share and what they should keep to themselves.

"The 'Virtual Reality' article is about the regenerative use of technology rather than being swamped or put out of business by it.  I think of Selfie films as one of those mergers. 'Secrets' is going to have a nice integration of Selfie work and fine old fashioned camera work - more so than 'The Truth' where we were lucky we got any camera work.  Should be very interesting.

One of Dr. Holstein's recent short films, 'The Truth - A Short Film' uses the selfie concept to paint a portrait of a young girl. The new short film shows us how she attempts to deal with life changing problems, concerns, challenges and issues all young girls face. The result is an eye-opening, in-depth exploration of her life, giving viewer the distinct impression that they have been somehow magically embedded into that life. If the selfie concept were be transformed into an art form, 'The Truth' would be the result.

The short two minute film by Dr. Holstein, 'The Truth, A Short Short Film', premiered at FilmOneFest in July. The film was chosen as an Official Selection in the Chain Film Festival held in Manhattan on August 13, 2016. 'The Truth, a Short Film', a longer 16 minute portrayal of a girl growing up, has been officially selected for the Golden Door International Film Festival held in September 2016. The Rahway International Film Festival recently chose the 2 minute version as an Official Selection. Upcoming in early November is the Jersey City International Television and Film Festival, also choosing as an Official Selection, 'The Truth, a Short, Short Film.

Dr. Holstein's entire body of work is great for parents, grandparents, older siblings and teachers to establish lines of communication with the tweens and teens in their lives. Her books have received numerous awards. A recent review of Dr. Holstein's book, 'Secrets', stated, "This book should ideally be stocked in the home libraries of families with children and in school libraries worldwide."

'The Truth' focuses on how teens communicate their deepest needs. A trailer from her new short film, 'The Truth', an Official Choice of the Garden State Film Festival, is available at  The trailer captures the world of technology and its public nature with the intense needs of a young girl to share her most private and most intimate thoughts, feelings, ideas and secrets.

A sequel to 'The Truth', 'Secrets', starring Megan Brown, is currently in production. In the sequel, based on 'Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen', a girl continues to keep both a virtual diary on her cell phone and a paper diary.  She is a year older and although she has matured, her longings and her hunger to find a home for her feelings and intense emotions are even stronger.

Dr. Holstein is available for media interviews and can be reached using the information below or by email at All of her books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all other online retailers. More information is available at her website at


Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known Positive Psychologist is the creator of The Enchanted Self ®, a positive psychology method for happiness. Dr. Holstein's Enchanted Self website,, was just included as one of the best websites in positive psychology. She is in private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein.

Dr. Barbara can be found on the web, interviewed, writing articles and posting video 'TED' style talks on Happiness,  Positive Psychology, Relationships and Parenting.

She has been a contributor to Heart and Soul, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Redbook, Real Simple, The Wall Street Journal, Time on line, the Today Show and Family Circle Magazine.


Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
170 Morris Ave.,
Long Branch, New Jersey 07740