Saturday, November 12, 2011

Miss Representation: My Take

I was lucky enough to go to a film screening of Miss Representation on Thursday night. I had seen the trailer and the extended trailer, and had also read lots of great posts and reviews of the film, so I was excited to finally see it in its entirety. I went with some of the women from the eating disorder support group I lead and the consensus was that it is an important film.

It touches on a variety of topics, from body image and eating disorders to violence against women to sexualization of women. The negative media onslaught is something of which I have long been aware, but to see the plethora of examples Miss Representation shows, it really got me fired up anew.

I don’t think I was alone in my thoughts and feelings of the film. One of the women with whom I saw the film said poignantly, “There was a point at which the film was discussing eating disorders and I started to feel isolated and almost ashamed like I would have if I were alone in the past...and then I realized I was sitting amongst three extremely intelligent, successful, and beautiful women who had either gone through or are still struggling with what I do and it made me feel really proud.” I find her statement to be extremely self-aware. I also love that the film - coupled with the experience of watching it with other, similar women – transformed her shame into pride in a matter of moments.

That's what solidarity can do, and solidarity was certainly a theme of the film.

I was somewhat annoyed when I heard male snickering from the audience at points during Miss Representation that were NOT meant to generate laughter, such as sexual images of women clearly being exploited or clips of men sickeningly taking advantage of women. I think it showed how true it is that “we live in a society of teenage boys,” as Carol Jenkins says in the film. To really understand what is meant by that quote, you have to see the film itself, as there is clearly nothing wrong with being a teenage boy, nor am I inferring that good mean don’t exist.

Another important quote from the film: “The more power a woman gains, the more backlash she receives.”

It’s true. Think about it for a few seconds. Think Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, etc etc etc etc. It doesn’t matter what your political affiliation – the misrepresentation of women in the media is a big deal. I also thought, for the most part, that the film did a great job with keeping the film bipartisan. Both Nancy Pelosi and Condoleezza Rice, for example, are interviewed in the course of the film, highlighting that this is a women’s issue, not a political issue. There is enough woman-hating out there without women doing it to each other, and the film did a good job of focusing on women as a sisterhood instead of pitting women against each other.

To find out where you can see the film, go here: http://missrepresentation.org/

The site also has a variety of ways to get involved, spread the word, and find out more. You can even take The Pledge.

Follow the movement and film celebrations on Twitter here: @RepresentPledge

If you’ve seen it, share your thoughts with me. I’d love to hear them. And keep using your voices!

1 comment:

Jess said...

I am so excited to see a screening at my college on Nov 29th- I am even more excited after reading your thoughts and opinions! I think this film is so important- so many documentaries look at the effect of the media on girls' body image and such, but they don't take it to the next level and talk about the real social, economic, political implications. It sounds like Miss Representation, on the other hand, really engages deeply with these issues and discusses why they are important. I will let you know what I think! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us!