Miss Representation – this might change your life…

21 Oct

**NOTE: Please excuse any poor grammar or miss-spelling, I am really fired up and getting this out fast!

Last night I watched a great documentary, Miss Representation, on the representation of women in the media.  It might not change your life, but it will make you think.  “The film explores how the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.”

The movie explores the many aspects that women are representation (under or miss) in the different mediums of media such as TV, the news, magazines and video games.  Of course we all know how skinny models in magazine advertisements create a unattainable and UNHEALTHY ideal of the woman’s body.  If you pick up any fashion magazine it is hard not to notice that half of the magazine is advertisements.  That is how these magazines make money.  These advertisements need break through the clutter and they do that by being shocking and sexy.  They have to show the model or lifestyle to be “better” than yours or mine, because if the model looked like us, why would we need their product?  I have a marketing degree, I “get” it BUT I don’t like it.  What really upsets me is that you and I know the difference, but what about ours sons, daughters, nieces, nephews and cousins who may pick up the magazine in boredom and flip through it.  They might not think anything of it or really even comprehend what they see.  But if they see these images over and over, it becomes normal.  Women become objects as they are portrayed in the ads and this does a disservices not only to the girls but the boys as well.

I am probably not telling you anything you don’t already know, but what really got under my skin was the way “news” media portrayed women, especially politicians.  The movie looked at the 2008 presidential election and the way Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were reported on news media outlets.  This has nothing to do with these women’s politics, policy’s or beliefs.  I have very strong feelings about these ladies but let’s put that aside to discuss how 2 women were portrayed by political pundits in the media.  These pundits have their own TV shows and radio programs and are considered by many as authorities on politics.  Hillary Clinton is referred to Mrs. Clinton and not Senator Clinton.  She is also called a whore, ball-buster, b**ch and other terrible things for being driven, firm and UN-emotional (which all considered to be pros for a man and cons for a woman).  She took the approach of presenting her self as an equal and was crucified for it.  Sarah Palin on the other hand took a more feminine approach and was sexified.  Pictures of the audience at rallies were taken in between her legs!  We were discussing her wardrobe and hair.  Would any of this have happened if they were men?  NO, I THINK NOT.  This biggest problem with this is the message we are sending the youth.  No, they probably aren’t watching FOX News, MSNBC or listening to Rush on the radio, but they might be in the room or car when it is on.  These messages are getting in their head.  Are we telling little girls that if the want to be President of the US that everyone is going to assume they are a b**ch or sex object?

I don’t play video games (never did) or am I around them so I had NO IDEA some of the violence towards women (and men) in these games.  It was just shocking.  The fact is that many boys are not taught to express their feelings and so have they all of this pent up emotion that ends up manifesting into violence.  But that is whole separate post!

One of the comments from the movie that struck me was I believe made after the movie during a televised discussion.  One of the women featured in the film said that little boys are taught that their bodies are vehicles and little girls bodies are projects.  Isn’t that so true?  I think of my body as a project, if I am not trying to flatten my abs, I am trying to define my back.  I mentioned this to my husband and he seemed to think that men get it too.  He feels that men are also marketed to in a similar way.  I think the health and fitness industry in general treat our bodies as projects.  We always need to be faster, stronger, trimmer…  But I don’t totally disagree with this line of thinking.  By thinking of my body as a project, I am always pushing myself to be better.  What is so wrong with trying to be a better version of yourself?  Nothing as long as you don’t beat yourself up for being you.  That is were a lot of us get tripped up, me included.

I reflect on my own experience in corporate America.  I spent 10 years in the main stream work force and the last few years as a Marketing Services Director for a small marketing firm.  They were several times that when I would stand up for what I believed in, I was being “emotional” were as a male counterpart would be considered “passionate”.  I was sensitive, he would be caring.  It drove me crazy, I have never been one to hide my feelings or hide them well and I feel it was my ultimate demise (which was a HUGE blessing).

I hope you get a chance to watch this movie, I know it is playing again on Saturday morning at 7AM on OWN, so set your DVRs!  If you don’t have OWN, here is the website, http://missrepresentation.org/.  Here they have a listing of showing all over the country.


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