Miss Representation is a documentary from writer/director (and former first lady of San Francisco) Jennifer Siebel Newsom which "explores women's under-representation in positions of power and influence and challenges the limited and often disparaging portrayal of women in the media." Newsom tapped some famous faces to speak about women and media in the film — among them, Condoleezza Rice, Gloria Steinem, Katie Couric, Margaret Cho, Nancy Pelosi, Jane Fonda, Rosario Dawson — but some of the most powerful voices are those of high school students.
Says one young lady named Ariella: "There is no appreciation for women intellectuals. It's all about the body, not about the brain." Pretty depressing, since this teenager represents our future. Even more disheartening? The claim from the film which states that at the rate we're going,
women may not achieve parity [with men] for 500 years.
Like America The Beautiful, the documentary by Darryl Roberts, Miss Representation may be preaching to the choir for those of us already frustrated with sexist advertising and misogynistic media. But that doesn't mean its message isn't vital. Discussing how and why women in positions of power are under-represented is part of the journey to correcting the imbalance. And some minds will be harder to change than others — look no further than this comment under the Miss Representation trailer on YouTube:
you know the film will CONVENIENTLY disregard and disavow how the majority of today's media, all of its direct and indirect misandry and MUCH of its so-called "misogyny" is controlled, produced, and determined by WOMEN! The majority of all CASTING DIRECTORS is FEMALE! Females are the majority of the U.S. job market. Gender fairness and balance is ZERO in media and music. Women can be violent to men, men can NEVER defend themselves. So, what does THAT tell you?