The documentary Miss Represntation, was produced by “Girls Club Entertainment” and discusses how women are portrayed in the media. An overarching theme is that the way women are portrayed affects how women and girls see themselves in society. It affects not only how they see their appearance, but also their careers in leadership. It also shapes men’s views on women to be negative and often sexualized. The documentary is made up of film and news clips, statistics and interviews from people. Throughout the film, themes of photoshopping, film, politics and how each of these things shapes society’s views on women are discussed. One person stated that “media is showing content that is shaping our culture” which is what the entire film is about.
The beginning of Miss Representation starts out with how media affects the ways that women view their appearance. It says that “girls get the message from very early on that what is most important is how they look…and boys get the message that this is what is important about girls.” The film talks about how all photos of people in media are photoshopped to an unrealistic representation of a woman’s body, face and hair. Girls try to obtain this goal but it impossible to accomplish. There were statistics that were shared that said “53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies,” “that number increases to 78% by age 17,” “65% of women and girls have an eating disorder” and “17% of teens engage in cutting and self-injurious behavior.” The film also stated that rates of depression among women and girls has doubled between 2000 and 2010. These statistics show high numbers of negative thoughts and behaviors that women engage in which numbers are blamed on the media.
Women in media are also often sexualized and never seen in power. This is true for movies, television shows, news and politics. The focus is always on how they look, no matter what their career is. It portrayal of women as objects makes not only men see them this way, but also women themselves. Even in cartoons, primarily Disney, women characters are dressed in provocative and sexualized outfits. This is a problem because children watch these movies and learn from very early on what is expected of girls in society. A large focus of Miss Representation focuses on women in politics and the news as well.
Miss Represntation states that since women’s value lies in their bodies, they become disempowered and are prevented from being leaders, especially when portrayed in the media. Some statistics on this are that only 34 women have served as governors, while 2,319 men have. Also, 67 countries in the world have had female presidents or prime ministers but the United States is not one of them. This is alarming, especially because the U.S. is supposed to be one of the most innovative and futuristic countries in the world. The documentary states that wrong decisions have been made on boards because no women were present. This is a problem because women’s perspectives and input were not heard by these boards. To fix this, we need to have the candidates and a psychological breakthrough to not see women as minorities and to have the possibility of having them in power and leadership.
S.A.G.E., or Students Advocating for Gender Equality, hosted this event to highlight the struggles women endure by this kind of negative self-image imposed by society. S.A.G.E. works to combat sexism in all of its forms, including body-image, and instead create a world where all are invited to participate as equals. S.A.G.E.’s “Flawless” initiative operates under the idea that women are “equally made in the image of God,” a compelling rebuttal to society’s ideas and standards of perfection in women as portrayed in Miss Representation.
By bringing awareness to issues such as the ones in Miss Represntation, S.A.G.E. creates safe, intellectually stimulating spaces for these conversations to be held. It is through these conversations that we can learn as a society, and begin to alter our ways of thinking and behaving in order to create a better world for everyone.