A perfect documentary to share with the moms and daughters in your life. Originally reviewed for DVD Snapshot.
Writer/Director Jennifer Siebel Newsom interwove stories from teenage
girls with provocative interviews from the likes of Dr. Condoleezza
Rice, Lisa Ling, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Rosario
Dawson, Dr. Jackson Katz, Dr. Jean Kilbourne, and Gloria Steinem to give
us an inside look at the media and its message. As the most persuasive
and pervasive force of communication in our culture, media is educating
yet another generation that a woman's primary value lay in her youth,
beauty and sexuality-and not in her capacity as a leader, making it
difficult for women to obtain leadership positions and for girls to
reach their full potential. The film accumulates startling facts and
asks the question, "What can we do?"
G-rated movies, the female characters are just as likely to be wearing
sexually revealing clothing as in R-rated movies... which is
horrifying.” - Geena Davis
Presented by the OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) Documentary Club, Miss Representation covers areas that haven't been covered enough and should continually be addressed.
Through hundreds of video clips and interviews with an extremely
impressive selection of professors, intellectuals, politicians, and
celebrities; the film shines a light on how media images and messages
warp the self image and esteem of American girls and women.
Starting out with a look at how Photoshop and plastic surgery help
create a concept of physical perfection that's actually inhuman and
impossible to achieve is just the first of a series of intelligent,
well-observed, and downright depressing observations and statistics on
the daily “image” of women we receive all day, every day.
From “Toddlers and Tiaras”
to the stereotyped “bitchy boss,” movies and television present and
reinforce an idea that men are protagonists, while women... wear
bikinis. (There's a spot-on observation regarding actresses in the 1930s
playing more progressively multi-dimensional characters than they get
to do today, eighty years later. Watch a Barbara Stanwyck movie then try
disagreeing.) A smart illustration of how images of sexualized,
secondary characters (in what's frequently marketed to women as their
own stories) directly lead into the statistical realities of a
desensitization and predisposition to violence being programmed in
society gets presented here.
The film also explores the
experience of women in Politics, observing that when not
under-represented they're frequently first by their looks. Also
statistically unbalanced are women in positions in of corporate power.
Combined with an honest assessment of a conservative skew and adherence
to financial bottom line, this only scratches the surface of an
exploration into why women (and men) wind up with screwed-up views of
their roles, relationships, and worth in this world.
You can harumph if you don't agree with the arguments and observations presented, but Miss Representation is
anything but. It shares an important message and reminds us to make
considered choices to better serve our country, our youth, and
ourselves. It's sad to realize that, against this monolithic tide of
images, none of us have stood a chance.
Highly Recommended. (Added bonus: you'll never look at Reality TV shows the same way again.)
The film is unrated, and presented in a full-screen format and English
Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. Included are English subtitles, an
introduction by Oprah Winfrey, and a selection of extended scenes.
The first statistics presented in Miss Representation is that teens consume nearly 11 hours of media a day. Ensure this documentary is 90 minutes of that for the women in your life.