Monday, November 14, 2011

Miss Representation

Over the weekend I stumbled upon a documentary that I think touches on a really important subject and I hope will inspire people to seek change.

The film is called Miss Representation and documents the sexualization of women in the media and how it affects our society and how it has changed the way girls view themselves. It showed staggering statistics and highlighted things that most of us probably think about in passing, but have generally accepted it as "just the way things are."

One of the things that hit me was the section it did on the past election with both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in the mix, and how the media focused more on what they were wearing and less on their actual politics. I wasn't a huge supporter of either woman, but listening to the way they were referred to in the media made me angry.


BILL O'REILLY: Both you and Sarah Palin are good-looking women. I mean, you're attractive, young - relatively young - women.

MICHAEL SAVAGE: Kagan he's going to put on the U.S. Supreme Court? Isn't there such a thing about the aesthetics of the appointee? Let's put it to you this way, she's not the type of face you'd want to see on a five-dollar bill.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: I think I'm going to send Sotomayor and her club a bunch of vacuum cleaners to help them clean up after their meetings.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Cynthia McKinney, the former congresswoman from Georgia, was another angry black woman.

LEE RODGERS: Look at these ugly skanks who make up the female leadership of the Democratic Party.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: You know that ugly hag Madeleine Albright? Remember her?

Hags? Skanks? Really? How is this acceptable? One of the other points from the film talked about how in the media, when a women politician speaks out about a policy they are said to "complain" about it, but if their male counterpart said the same thing, they would have "stated" it.

The film talked about how in the 20s, 30s and 40s, women in films were often well-rounded, complex characters that played multiple roles within the movie. Now, we have the bimbo, the ho and the accomplished proud women that is seen more as a b*tch that needs to be taken down a peg (think The Proposal).

The more I watched the documentary, the more I realized that people need to be educated on this very topic. The documentary was shown on the OWN network on television, and there are scheduled screenings throughout the country. To my friends in Utah, December 1, in Ogden is our showing. I encourage anybody and everybody to watch it.

Start: December 1, 2011 7:00 pm
End: December 1, 2011 9:00 pm
Venue: Ogden Weber Chamber Auditorium
2484 Washington Blvd, Ogden, 84401, United States
Cost: Free

NPR interviewed the writer and director of Miss Representation, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. You can find the transcript here. Also, take a minute to check out the website, and their facebook page,

Remember, "You can't be what you can't see."

1 comment:

  1. It's a good point, and one that is very frustrating. Women are perceived differently and it's important that we recognize how we talk about women. It's annoying that incredibly competitive, successful women are treated as less accomplished if they are not drop-dead gorgeous. It's ridiculous because no one would ever think of a man that way.


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