So, my gal pals and I had a girls' night last night and changed things up by watching a documentary (and drinking wine--that part was not a change though). The film was Miss Representation, a documentary focusing on how women and girls are represented in the media. It certainly sparked some interesting conversation among us and I wanted to share some of my thoughts.
A lot of the information and statistics were not really new to me. As a social worker, I have had several classes on women's studies, gender studies and human sexuality. It did bring the topic back to the forefront for me, however. When it comes to women in the media, I am most bothered by how women seem to be portrayed as sexual objects. There is always this need to be sexy, pretty, thin and desirable to men and this is often placed above all else. I am also very much bothered by how easily women are labeled as "crazy" or "bitchy" or "nags." This is especially seen when women are running for public office, as was shown in the film with reference to Hillary Clinton and others. And in terms of politics, it is no surprise that women are barely represented in our political system.
Another portion of the film that really got me thinking was the part that talked about "positive" female heroines. The truth is that many strong female characters on TV or in movies are super sexy and not like the typical woman (my opinion). Female superheroes still wear super tight costumes that are really designed for them to be oogled by men, not so effective in saving the world. It definitely is disappointing to see the way women are represented in the media. I feel that our popular culture is truly inherently sexist. But there are things we can do to tell the media that we are not okay with the way they are representing women. Please visit www.missrepresentation.org to learn more.
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