Miss Representation

Jennifer Siebel Newsom
DocumentaryFilmGood CausesMedia 7 Comments

When Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s documentary Miss Representation premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, audiences were riveted, and Oprah Winfrey acquired its broadcast rights. Jennifer, the film’s writer, director and producer, gives us an inside look at the media, the most persuasive and pervasive force of communication in our culture, and the dangerous message it delivers about women to America’s youth. She does this by interweaving stories from teenage girls with provocative interviews given by some of America’s most influential thought leaders in politics, journalism, entertainment, activism and academia including Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Lisa Ling, Rosario Dawson, Geena Davis, Dr. Jean Kilbourne and Gloria Steinem.

Her compelling film uncovers how American mainstream media’s limited and disparaging portrayals of women are spoon feeding yet another generation of young women and men the unfortunate idea that a woman’s primary value lay in her youth, beauty and sexuality – and not in her capacity as a leader. This, Miss Representation argues, makes it difficult for women to obtain leadership positions and for girls to reach their full potential.

To prove this point and others, Miss Representation presents startling facts and statistics that offer a new perspective. For example, we were surprised to learn that the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Women You Should Know applauds Jennifer for making such an important film. We strongly encourage you to watch the Miss Representation trailer below. It’s eye opening and alarming because it makes you realize the prevalence and magnitude of a problem that has been ignored and overlooked for far too long. We have no doubt that the 2 minute and 49 second trailer will make you want to find a film screening in your area.

To learn more about the film and MissRepresentation.org, a call-to-action campaign that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting labels in order to realize their potential, click here.
  • Anne J.

    Australia has a female prime minister. Germany has a female chancellor. England had Margaret Thatcher. That means that women can and do rule powerful countries. When are we Americans going to realize that a woman in The White House would be a really good thing? The American mass media continues to treat female American politicans as if they were second-class citizens with no brains. They ask questions and probe into personal details that they would never do to a male counterpart. It’s no wonder that there are so few women in state and national legislatures. Americans are so behind in this respect.

  • Thya S.

    It’s time that women fight back and when asked these asinine questions or comments by the media or other pundits, that the women in these positions ignore them, do not answer, completely rise above the stupidity. More than ever, moms and aunties have to support our daughters and nieces, it’s up to us to affect change.

  • Erin T

    Admittedly, I am one of those women who tend to look past the images I see in the media. Ignorance is bliss, I guess. However, when you see the images and messages encapsulated like this, as the trailer shows, it goes beyond shocking… it’s infuriating and sad.

  • JA

    I do want to point out that one of the most powerful people in media is a woman, Oprah Winfrey, which is one of the reasons she was able to acquire the broadcast rights to this film. While I agree that there are a lot of unfortunate images and messages about women that get put out there by all different forms of media (TV, magazines, film), consumers also have the power to help make change by refusing to see certain films, watch certain shows or buy particular magazines that perpetuate these messages. Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise is case in point… these shows perpetuate and celebrate the stereotype that woman are vacuous, superficial, bitchy, catty, back stabbing, low lives that prefer to fight and judge one another than support one another. I know this because I used to be a viewer myself until it dawned on me what I was actually supporting by watching this type of train wreck entertainment. New geographic installments of the RH franchise keep getting made with great success because LOTS of people, women included, are watching them. So, the power is in our hands as consumers. I’m really looking forward to seeing this film… the trailer was intriguing and I do think that things need to change in certain cases.

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  • MisterReason

    First of all, ask any woman and she will tell you that the looks = value materialism and pecking order is created and enforced visciously by…other women. Not by men. Let’s be honest for a moment, if we’re really going to address this thing.