As someone who’s written about family entertainment for the past couple of decades, one of my pet peeves is how women are portrayed in the media. I talked a little about this in last week’s piece on Britney Spears’ new campaign to present herself before and after airbrushing (though, admittedly, the difference isn’t as dramatic as a regular person out here in Middle America who doesn’t have a trainer and nutritionist at their beck and call).
But look, how the media presents females is not only discouraging for adult women, it’s also damaging for girls who might be unaware of airbrushing, photoshopping, and all the little tricks the media uses to “fix” women in their feature stories, print ads, videos and so on.
The result? It sets girls up for lifelong issues about their body, weight and appearance. After all, how can anyone look as “good” as the fake women portrayed in the media?
Miss Representation is hoping to change that. After the documentary scored big at the Sundance Film Festival, Oprah Winfrey acquired the broadcast rights. The film premieres on OWN as part of its Documentary Club on Oct. 20, 2011 at 9/8c.
Youth, beauty and sexuality. According to the media, these are a woman’s primary value, not her brain power or leadership abilities. In the film, writer/director Jennifer Siebel Newsom interweaves stories from teenage girls with interviews from Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Lisa Ling, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Rosario Dawson, Dr. Jackson Katz, Dr. Jean Kilbourne, and Gloria Steinem.
I appreciate that all these women are involved, because they actually deal with the media’s perceptions of women on a daily basis, so they know of which they speak on a very personal level.
UPDATE: Sandy mentioned that she wrote this piece on the subject ten years ago. My question is: Have we really come all that far in the past ten years? I appreciate that documentaries are still being made on the subject of how women are portrayed in the media, but it’s sad that they still HAVE to be made. And I know this is an issue that dates back decades.
So my question for you: Does it seem like we’re making strides? Is the media “getting” it at all?