If there’s any documentary for women to watch, it’s this one. The video begins with a powerful quote by Alice Walker:
The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don’t have any.
Bam. Then the documentary spouts more facts,
“The Average American teen spends about 31 hours a week watching TV, 17 hours listening to music, 3 hours watching movies, 4 hours reading magazines, 10 hours a week online. That’s 10 hours and 45 minutes of media consumption PER DAY.”
Holy shit. I then think about how much time I spend glued to my iPhone or computer and how I aimlessly scroll through social media sites and random articles. Then I think about how many times I see a meme of a woman stereotype or an overly photoshopped model. It’s distressing, the media is forcing our gender inside this tiny, sexual box
The film focuses around filmmaker and ultimate female badass, Jennifer Sieble Newsom. Sound familiar? She’s the wife of former San Francisco mayor, Gavin Newsom. Jennifer also starred in hit TV shows like Mad Men, Life, Numb3rs, The Proud Family and more. She began noticing how producers and directors were stereotyping her and only casting her as the sexy, blonde girl. She began investigating, asking around, and Miss Representation was born.
The film surrounds interviews with actresses, CEO’s, news anchors, media journalists, and even Nancy Pelosi, former US Speaker of the House.
Watch the Trailer HERE
Why should women watch this documentary? It shines a light on the fact that this depiction of women in the media can be changed. The media is constantly trying to show everyone what they want us to see: woman in bikini washing a car, thin, white woman shopping for clothes, a sexy waitress flirting with a table of men, etc. If we cast women in roles that empower women, we can change the way society sees our gender.
The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Following it’s success, Oprah Winfrey, the queen herself, acquired rights to broadcast the documentary on her network, OWN.
The documentary sparked a call to action, The Representation Project was born. It serves as a non profit organization inspiring communities to create a “world free of limiting stereotypes and social injustices.”
One of my favorite interviewees is comedian and actress, Margaret Cho. She shares horrific, personal stories in audition rooms where networks criticize her appearance.
She talks about growing up, hating the way her body looked compared to women in magazines. She spent half her life worrying and bodyshaming until she realized that she had to live for herself and learn to love her body. The media was forcing her to compare herself to these stick-like photoshopped women and that isn’t how most American women look.
“If you’re looking at the scale or looking at the number of size you’re wearing, what kind of life is that?”
This documentary is wonderful and informative and should be watching in classrooms all over the world. We need to inform the next generation to love their bodies, love the way they look, and empower them to be more than just a pretty face.
Watch the entire documentary HERE