Campus Film Screening of “Miss Representation”

April 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Missrepresentation” gave insight into the world of media and its influence on women. The film is centered around the director’s thoughts on bringing a daughter into this world. The images and pressures women and girls face on a daily basis are enough to make a mother wonder how she might raise a daughter in a world that places so much emphasis on beauty. A beauty that is unrealistic and unattainable. She describes her childhood and how she reacted to the pressures she felt to be beautiful over being smart or an athlete. She succumbed to peer-pressure and focused on her appearance, and stopped playing sports. This led to the film focusing on how the media portrays women, how women react to it, as well as how women are affected by the negative images they see.

The media objectifies women in such a way to portray an ideal sense of beauty that is unattainable for girls and women to live up to. Models in magazines and advertisements are photo-shopped and altered to unrealistic ideals of beauty. This hurts girls self esteem knowing that no matter how much cosmetics they buy, they will never look like the models in magazines or movies. Films are another place for disappointment. The media companies are surprisingly made up of very few women. I knew it was a predominately male enterprise, but I never would have guessed that the number of women CEOs were so low. This attributes to movies telling stories of men. Women are rarely the lead and when they are, they are sexualized or need a man to come and save them (think Disney movies). This leaves few role models for girls to look up to. A few high school girls were interviewed and sadly commented that women are rarely the protagonist in films. When they are, the women are highly sexualized or in “chick flicks” which portray women needing a man in order to be happy. This shows girls that their appearance is their most important attribute. Media tells women that they need to attract men and be considered beautiful to be fulfilled and content. There are few women in power for girls to look up to in order to challenge media’s message.

Even women in power are not immune to society’s beauty ideals. In the 2008 elections, Hilary Clinton and Sarah Palin were constantly being judged by how they looked. Clinton was described as more masculine while Palin was discussed as being more feminine. These women were attacked and belittled by their appearance in ways that men during the election were not. This raised a valid point during the movie as well as the discussion we had afterwards: if women in power are degraded and devalued, how can we expect anything more for everyday women? Women that hold positions of power, such as Hilary Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, and Katie Couric, are being attacked by the media and society seems to justify judging them on their appearance instead of their ideas. How do we expect girls to want to take on powerful roles if the women they see are not being respected and valued? Instead the media tells girls and women that their appearance is all that matters. This is all detrimental to girls self-esteem and feelings of self-worth.

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