The Miss Representation Trailer May Break Your Heart

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?

Miss Representation has been acquired by OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, and should air on television in the fall. In the meantime, there are a few screenings scheduled for next month.

"The Media Treats Women Like Shit" [I Blame The Patriarchy]
Miss Representation [Official Site]
Miss Representation Screening Information



I am an awful person in that I agree in part with the comment on YouTube. This isn't simply "men are keeping us down because they want us to shake our jiggly bits and keep our mouths closed." This is the media saying that they are responding to what the market wants (the 24/7 newscycle is certainly no friend of news or a developed society), and the male and female executives promote the "sexy" stories and the "sexy" angles to normal stories. (Case in point, Nancy Grace, who only seems to care about white, young women who go missing.)

The media likely claim that they are responding to demand, but in fact, they are entirely framing the conversation, the expectations, the view of what's normal. And young people somewhat misguidedly get the impression that if it's not on TV or the internet right in front of them, it doesn't exist. So, that's a ridiculous view as well.

There are several (but not enough) female Fortune 500 CEO's. I'm not saying that 51% of Fortune 500 CEO's should be women, but the percentages could definitely improve. However, I bet Ariella doesn't know that. I bet she can't name the president of Pepsico. There are millions of professionally successfully women — with the careers that young women dream of having. So at a certain point, someone needs to get through to these kids — deficiencies in the media or no — that the media's representation of the world isn't necessarily how the real world actually is.

The real world is NOT as sexist or as scantily lady obsessed as MTV, Bravo, network television or even cable news would have people believe. I'm successful and I certainly couldn't moonlight as a bikini model. There are plenty of female professionals who just go and do and don't worry if Kris Jenner is making millions whoring out her daughters. Because the Kardashian girls have no bearing on these women's careers. And the same goes for young women — while the media can and certainly should improve, young women's self image can also improve if they just turn the TV off.