The screening of Missrepresentation drew light on aspects of the effects of media representation on the perception and treatment of women in the U.S. For one, the film claimed that the media’s treatment of women held enormous political ramifications. To start, the media very blatantly objectifies women. This in turns contributes to the epidemic of “self-objectification.” According to several of the voices of the film, self-objectification leads to lower political efficacy –in other words, women are less able to bring about change in politics. There seems to be a generation of women in this country that is less likely to run for office, become leaders, or even vote. Not only are women not running for office, they have also consistently failed to vote other women in to office. Speakers in the movie made reference to the need for a psychological breakthrough, as it is often difficult to even visualize a woman in many important political offices. To prove this point, one can look to Congress, where only 17% of the body is female. Many of us have often heard this statistic as well: when asking at a relatively young age, there is an equal percentage of girls and boys who report that they aspire to be president. As the children age, the percentage becomes smaller and smaller for women.
Missrepresentation made a very important claim about the role of Hollywood in the treatment of women: change comes from Hollywood. According to the statistics presented in the movie, only 16% of the protagonists in Hollywood films are women. Of this 16%, the majority is negatively portrayed. These roles often include the “bitchy” boss, who has sacrificed life and family for her job. There is also the “Fighting Fuck Toy,” or the women who seems to be empowered, but is on screen as a source of pleasure for men. Further, to some, reality TV seems to be a backlash to the female rights movement, as it trivializes women and makes them seem less powerful. To make matters worse, media is currently in the hands of men. Only 3% of positions of clout in the media empire is held by women. This impacts hiring, as men seem to be consistently hiring men, and exacerbates the problem. As we have discussed in class, the T.V. has historically been used as a tool of re-domestication. This seems to continue to be the case.
I was particularly struck by Lily Paxton’s criticism that the movie centered around the birth of the narrator’s daughter. I agree with Lily. Had the narrator had a baby boy, she should still be able to make the claims she makes. Further, her framing of the issue around a birth is also controversial, as it reinforces the perception of this inherent “maternity.” As soon as she gives birth, the narrator begins to worry about the future of all girls. However, I value her point about the future of women in this country. As media becomes increasingly important, its role on the perception of women isimportant.