Miss Representation

The documentary, “Miss Representation”, asserts that it is difficult for women to remain immune to the damage inflicted by today’s modern culture. I wholly agree with this statement. The media disseminates such limiting portrayals of women that pervade every aspect of daily life. Subsequently, girls are forced to face a constricted gender bias at earlier stages of development.

The film also interjects Jean Kilbourne’s viewpoint: “Not only are girls seen as objects by other people, they also see themselves as objects.” It is sad because this leads to a slew of other issues: depression, low self-esteem, lower ambition, and decreased political efficacy for women. It is not surprising to me that 65 percent of women have an eating disorder. The documentary even addresses how nowadays, computers digitally alter photos to get the “perfect” image. Hence, females are constantly trying to achieve unattainable standards of beauty.

“Miss Representation” also talks about gender socialization. Politics are considered to be a masculine pursuit and women are discouraged to enter this arena. When women decide to become involved in politics, they are mercilessly criticized. In the post-film discussion, Dr. Felicity Paxton mentioned that it is not appropriate to comment on the physical appearance of political candidates. However, this is something that is done frequently—especially in regards toward female contenders. Take for example, Sarah Palin. She was constantly ridiculed for her glasses, wardrobe, and body proportions, which is completely irrelevant and inappropriate for the context of the elections. These obsessions over appearance are detrimental because it teaches women that attractiveness is much more important than their intellectual capabilities.

Consequently, my question remains: Whose responsibility is it to “fix” this innate problem of gender bias?

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