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Miss Representation: An Exploration of Female Representation in the Media

by Tamica (follow)

Miss Representation

This Sundance Film Festival award winning documentary explores the misrepresentation and underrepresentation of women in the media. Director and producer of the film, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, starts off explaining her worries about bringing a daughter into a world where women and girls are over sexualised and valued mostly for their appearance. She makes a link between the representation of women in the media and the psychological and physical effects of this.

Actresses and directors share their stories in this film about their experiences with sexism. Actresses tell of the times when they have been typecast in particular roles; female directors speak of the times when their works have been rejected by film or television companies because people are not interested in female characters who are complex. Statistics are intertwined with these stories, many of them revealing a shocking truth. It not only presents the fact that women are greatly affected psychologically and physically, but that men are also affected, by making men have unrealistic expectations of woman, and also the expectation that men cannot show fragility. I thought this was an important thing to present and something that is often overlooked.

The film evaluates what is causing the over-sexualisation of women in the media industry, which the film puts down, simply, to the lack of female representation in higher positions of media companies. It makes a brief solution for a greater and more positive representation of women: that women and girls should be encouraged to be directors and strive to be owners of media companies. I believe this solution cannot entirely improve women’s representation and value alone; as media is merely a reflection of society’s ideas and beliefs at the time, although it could also be said that ideas and beliefs are strongly influenced by the what the media presents. The film left me in thought about this and made me question how women could achieve validation, respect and representation. Perhaps it is by challenging how society views gender, and femininity and masculinity?

The factual information and anecdotes provide you with great knowledge about the media industry. The documentary leaves you critiquing much of what you watch, which I believe to be beneficial. The film will leave you pondering on important questions about representation, the media and gender. A must-watch for men and women.
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