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Miss Representation Documentary

4 Reasons Why Miss Representation Should Be Mandatory Viewing in Schools

After interviewing Jennifer Siebel Newsom about her documentary Miss Representation, we were excited to watch the film on OWN last night. And it's truly incredible. Miss Representation explores how the way women are portrayed as objects in films, advertising, TV shows, and other media outlets directly affects the minimal number of women in leadership roles and how young girls view themselves. Not only is this documentary important for adult women to see, I think it's especially important for the next generations to watch. Here's why Miss Representation should be mandatory viewing in schools.

  • Wake-Up Call: We're often told that things are getting better for women in the US, but it was really eye-opening to realize that we've got a long way to go. In school, we learn about the history of women's rights, and the overall narrative is "see how far we've come?" But it's important to remember that in many ways things are getting worse for women, and girls need to recognize this in order to make a change. By accepting the idea that we're doing fine, we become complacent.
  • Specific and Current: We're so desensitized to women's negative portrayals in the media, we don't even recognize some of the ways women are degraded and dehumanized. This film does a great job of pointing out specific examples, down to the words that are used in a news article ("the female politician complained" vs. "the male politician said"), that keep us aware of what's going on. And girls are able to see current clips from TV shows and movies they're familiar with, so they can begin realizing how the information and images they're being fed is affecting their world and self-view.
  • Young Voices: I was blown away by how articulate and thoughtful the teens interviewed in the documentary were. I had tears in my eyes listening to their heartfelt and honest pleas for change and comments on women in the media. Young boys and girls may tune out adult-fed information, but seeing their peers speak candidly and intelligently about these issues may stir something in them.
  • Role Models: So many times the women that girls see on reality TV shows and in magazines are extremely thin, sexed-up, backstabbing, and praised for their looks over their brains. These are the women the next generation looks up to and mimics, whether they realize it or not. But this documentary is chock-full of the types of strong, intelligent leaders young girls should be looking up to, featuring interviews with positive role models such as Lisa Ling, Jane Fonda, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, and Geena Davis. Their smart, and at times funny, words of wisdom give these girls a face and personality to match to the names they may have skimmed over in a textbook.

Did you watch the documentary? What did you get out of it?

Join The Conversation
Pistil Pistil 5 years
I feel like I'm on a feminist kick now. I've done my own research into feminism in the past, and there are still things that shock me. I wasn't aware of that push to get women back into traditional roles after the war. It makes me wonder what things might be like without that influence.
dashsuede dashsuede 5 years
I don't have OWN so I'll have to find someway to watch it, but based on the trailer, I totally agree with the title of this article. Heck, it should been seen by every man and woman in any workplace too.
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