Miss Representation

In “Miss Representation” one very important claim that was made was that the media makes it virtually impossible for young girls to look up to the right kinds of role models. Instead of showcasing the very accomplished women who have attained great success in areas like politics, the media glorifies women’s body and appearance as a measure of success. In other words they value looks over brains through their advertisement and what they publish in newspapers, TV sitcoms, etc. An example of this is Hillary Clinton, who gets bashed for her appearance instead of her political views.

Another very important point made in Miss Representation was that women degrade themselves and put each other down. A former mayor of San Francisco said that as soon as he was in office he hired two women as head of police and head of the fire department. What he found interesting was that most of the backlash he was getting was from women. So instead of looking at this as a step forward for women, other women were damaging their own cause.

One thing that I found thought provoking was that the head of the Woman’s Center explained that there isn’t one clear-cut way of describing the feminist movement. There are many different aspects of it and it means different things for different types of women. I found this is especially interesting because then that means that anyone who classifies himself or herself as a woman can be involved in the movement as well, such as transgenders. It isn’t about being a woman, its about the social implications and connotations that the media and other outlets associate with someone who either classifies themselves as a so called “female” or appear to be one. However, this also raises the concerns of unifying people for the movement even though they may have different agendas. That could pose a serious threat to the movement and is a huge obstacle.

One thing we talked about in class was the violence towards women in advertisements when we saw “Killing Us Softly 4”. Violence is also depicted in Twilight, which was mentioned in “Miss Representation”. Directors and producers often make the claim that females should not be protagonists because although men might watch it, women won’t. Women however will watch films about men and men will watch films about men. But the director for twilight made the argument that Twilight is a progressive film because it depicts a female as a protagonist and has been very successful worldwide. But as stated, much violence is expressed in the film towards Bella, the protagonist, such as a vampires trying to kill her and her boyfriend who fiends for her blood comes to her rescue. So I guess the point I’m trying to make is that it may be progress in the sense that the lead is a female, but at what expense? Is it okay to make one leap forward, only to worsen a different issue and take two steps back?

Sources: “Killing Us Softly 4” & “Miss Representation” Documentaries

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