One important statistic which prompted discussion within Miss Representation was that when choosing a political leader, we are typically only choosing from a 6% of the population—more or less, white, straight, middle-aged men with a couple other specific characteristics. Because women are seeing the same type of men controlling politics, there is a lack of inspiration for them along to run for political positions, or even just get involved. Politics are considered a man’s domain, but if more women would begin to step up in politics, then others would be more likely to feel that they too were worthy to serve in these positions.
Another important part the documentary discussed was that even though some women ARE elected into positions of power (primarily discussed were Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton), they will STILL not necessarily be looked at in the same way as men. Take two specific examples in the film—in the California youth mock government, though the majority of voters are female, the single female candidate still did not win. Also, San Francisco’s past mayor elected both a female chief of police and fire, and it was actually women who showed the most backlash. Not only are women being perceived as incompetent leaders, they are being perceived as objects instead of the leaders. For example, a female leader might be asked what brand she is wearing. Also, these women are more often critiqued on appearance ( for example, Hillary Clinton seeming masculine while Sarah Palin seeming hyper-feminine).
Though I am a woman myself, I was excited to see a great portion of the ending discussion be turned toward men, which I always find interesting and necessary to consider when discussing female equality. The movie brings up the point that for every girl who might want to play with a football, there could be a boy who is raised to be “emotionally constipated” who actually just wants to join a dance team. And so I was satisfied when Dr. Paxton agreed that every concern that the film discusses for “our daughters” should also be questioned for “our sons.” As mentioned by a discussion volunteer, women are not necessarily alone when it comes to being questioned on appearance. Take for example our most recent election—many cannot deny that the Republican party was regarded for their good looks. While one could see First Lady Obama or other candidates’ wives being asked about clothing choices, would it have been unreasonable to see Governor Romney being asked of his brand of suit?
I feel that there is a necessary pressure from women on women to take up leadership and voice, but what of men who feel pressure from men and women (those would rather see men in leadership, that is) to take up leadership? Is it unreasonable to call for action the acceptability of this specific 6% of the population to choose to participate in exactly what they wish to, instead of acting upon those stereotypes placed before them?