April 24, 2012 § Leave a comment
The Women’s Studies Program and FACT hosted “Miss Representation,” a film showcasing the contemporary portrayal of women in American society and the affect of the media. As the film progresses, it becomes evident that as a society we have passively allowed our media to devalue women. The media and its negative imagery have changed American society for the worse, and while this concept is not new, it is continuing to occur. This devaluation has altered women’s movements and empowerment, thus not only limiting the individual rights of women but the progression of society as a whole. It’s a media-fierce world out there, lacking morality and ripe with superficial values.
The film brought up a few interesting things. First, it noted that teens today are exposed on average over ten hours of various forms of media. This could include advertisements, news, tv shows, internet pop-ups, magazines, etc. How is this relevant in today’s culture? It fosters the creation of consumerist roles in young people, normalizing the idea of purchasing power to the individual and creating everything into an object to be had. Included in this is the objectification of women, but in a duality: women are being objectified and women in turn objectify themselves. How many times do we first notice appearance of women and judge them on that fact? We’ve become a nation of teenage boys, judging not only women but everyone on exterior image. The media is destroying the image of who women are and who they can be.
One final thing to take away is the notion of “symbolic annihilation.” This concept was introduced in the video as a tool the media has used to devalue the roles women have held. In the 1940’s films, women’s characters were multidimensional and could hold a variety of roles. Do we see that often today? Today we mostly see women as less threatening, sexualized icons that are simply less complex.
We all know the power of the media. Hopefully we can distance ourselves from its role in our lives and filter its condescending imagery.