My Opinion on the Image of Women in the Media: the Film Miss Representation

I chose the film Miss Representation because I thought it would be interesting to learn even more about the way women are portrayed in society, and the issues women face day to day by the media, and society as a whole. I saw the documentary on Netflix before but never was intrigued to watch it, then I watched the preview for it and felt empowered by the younger girls talking in it and wanted to watch the rest. Miss Representation had many strong women in the media talking about the issues that they face day to day by television and how there needs to be a change. Young girls are growing up with this image of the “perfect girl” and thinking they need to have a perfect body, and not too smart but they also can’t be too dumb, they have to be attractive to guys and all the guys must like them. So from a young age girls have these ideals instilled in their brains and they think that they have to conform to them, and if they don’t then they are ugly and aren’t good enough.

There are many different aspects in this documentary but the major theme revolves around women, and how women are underrepresented in media and positions of power. I think this film is significant because it’s talking about an issue that most media doesn’t want to talk about. They’re bringing light to the issue of women in the media and the way they are being negatively portrayed. Media is the most powerful source of information, sent out to everyone worldwide. The problem with media being this powerful is that it’s filled with a bunch of opinions. Opinions on the right way a woman should look, or how to act in politics, or if a woman belongs in politics to begin with. With media being so powerful it causes issues in the development of young people, boys, and girls. The technological advances that are used today in the media just add more pressure to young girls to look a certain way that is completely unattainable. Bodies are deformed and when girls see these ads, they think why can’t my body looks like this, and not even the own models' body looks like that. These boys are taught that they must love women who look a certain way and who are feminine and have the perfect bodies. Girls are taught that they need to have these perfect bodies to please men and that these women pictured in ads, or movies are the ideal woman, and if you don’t look that way you won’t be accepted into society.

I think this film gives viewers a new perspective on how media is affecting young people and instilling these unrealistic body images. The film shows insight on how media can be degrading towards women and tend to show women as ditzy people that can’t be taken seriously in certain workplaces. The stats in the film show light on how America portrays women in the media. Some stats were that only 16% of women are the protagonists in movies, and women in their 20s and 30s are only 39% of the population, but they make up 71% of characters and people on TV. These television producers and directors want younger more appealing actresses rather than older women because they want to appeal to a certain audience. When there needs to be a change because if there starts to be less objectification of women as just sexual objects then more roles could open up for different women of all ages, sizes, races, etc.

The film also shows viewers how we can make a change in our political society and be proud of the women that are in office, instead of trying to bring them down. It shouldn’t matter if it is a man or woman serving as a certain political figure but how well they get the job done. With media being a big part of the political scene it gives people the opportunity to share their opinions and discourage younger women from running for political roles. Some men in the media want women in politics to be more feminine but then if they’re too feminine they’re not the right candidate for office. “... we have a whole generation of women who are less likely to run for office and less likely to vote. When the media shows only men can have powerful positions in life this affects how young girls see themselves in the future”. Women make up 51% of the population and only 17% of congress. This statistic is shocking because so many young girls say they want to be president one day, or run for office but then when it comes time they get discouraged by the way women in politics are talked about in the media. I think that men are sometimes worried that women can do the job better than they can so then they have to objectify women and treat them like they don't belong in the same jobs as them.

In conclusion, we talked a lot about the issues that this film talked about as well. We talked about the male gaze, female body image, the power of feminism, and how women are portrayed in the media. Even though we as women have come to a lot further than in the past we’re still nowhere near the way men are treated in today’s society. Men are paid more than women, “for every 77 cents a woman earns a man is making a $1”, men are respected more in the political community, men are seen to be more powerful in any job compared to a woman, men get bigger roles in movies and television shows. Jane Fonda says in Miss representation that “media creates consciousness and if what gets to be put out there that creates our consciousness is determined by men, we’re not gonna make any progress” I think this quote shows a lot of the issues that the media is facing. People want to make a change and show that women are more than just a body, but if the industry is run by men and these men don’t want women to succeed then it is going to take a lot longer to make a change. 

07 July 2022
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