We watched the film Miss Representation in class this week and it discussed many issues and topics that we have discussed in class previously, but gave a more personal take on it.
This film by Siebel-Newsom explores all the ways that society and mainstream media effects young girls and how this impacts the course of the rest of their lives.
From the oversexualization in advertisements and music videos to the lack of political efficacy due to low female political representatives as role models, our society is built to let girls fail, or at least stay home and leave the real work to men.
I had seen this documentary before but every time I watch it I am reminded of how many things in our society are stacked against women. Were told that the way we look is the most important thing and that the only reason we don’t see more female doctors, politicians and engineers is because we just aren’t interested.
This couldn’t be more wrong. Girls are conditioned to see these industries as reserved for men and that math is stupid or too hard. If, however, girls had strong, intelligent successful role models to look up to, maybe they wouldn’t feel this way.
Women make up 51% of the US population but only 17% of congress, according to the documentary, but if you talk to elementary girls, they are just as interested in politics, it’s only later that they realize this isn’t “realistic”.
Because of this and because women don’t produce the majority of media, women grow up with dangerously low sense of competence and self-esteem. The film states that 65% of women have an eating disorder and it’s no wonder when the women we look at on the cover of magazines and on TV shows look nothing like the average woman.
This documentary is vital to understanding the complex struggles of being a woman in a patriarchal society and how to navigate this and come out the other end a better person. Allowing yourself to be aware of these issues and to treat them as real, harmful problems within our society is something we must all do and is something that can only help everyone in the long run.
Yours Politely, Natalie