Miss Representation

7 July 2016

After viewing Miss Representation I was overwhelmed with emotions: outrage, frustration, and sadness at the unfair portrait of women painted by popular media and culture. I find this topic very interesting and realize that this topic is always going to be highly debated and talked about. Women are often represented in the media in roles traditionally assigned by society, portrayed as passive and lesser beings, mothers or sexual objects. Both films highlight the impact of mass media on the notion of “Ideal Beauty” for women, through magazines, movies, television shows and video games.

The media has greatly influenced the attitudes and opinions, which is seen as the norm by societies where gender equality is far from reality. Miss Representation goes into more of the female roles in politics and leadership. In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader.

Miss Representation Essay Example

The whole notion of “Ideal Beauty” has so many harmful effects. The film talks about how women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades. It mentions how the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors. The concept of anorexic beauty is problematic, as majority of the female population does not have such an “ideal” body type, thus resulting in many insecurity issues for women.

Here are some quotes from the film that highlight my statement, “Media portrays negativity, the way of how women should look – conforming to the male ideal, else face scrutiny from society”, and “My sister cuts herself because she was teased by her friends as she does not have a perfect body. ” This obsession has put ridiculous amounts of unhealthy pressure on the children, resulting in poor health effects such as depression and eating related disorders. The film only highlights that women are used in advertisement to sell products rather than men.

I actually laughed at all the advertisements that were shown. I get that women are subjected to the “male gaze”. They are used to gather the interest of men in order for them to buy the product. Some of the products that these women advertise for are completely unrelated to their “sexiness” such as game console and beer. How on earth are these products related to women? It’s degrading that mass media refer to women as “objects” to sell in advertisements.

It was also mentioned that the negative portrayal of women in media has created a climate of increasing violence on women; thus making it seem acceptable. This has a huge impact in shaping how the society thinks and perceives certain behavior such as the use of violence on women. The film Miss Representation exposes how American youth are being sold the concept that women and girls’ value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality. After viewing the film I looked up if anything has been done about this issue. I came across a website made called MissRepresentation. org.

The website is a call-to-action campaign that seeks to empower women and girls to challenge limiting media labels in order to realize their potential. I think a way to promote more awareness and put a stop to this behavior is to show films like Killing Us Softly and Miss Representation in schools. They need to use these to educate youth around media literacy and to inspire and activate students to make change. It is only through mass media where we can correct these mistakes by educating the public of the “actual reality” of beauty. It’s time to break that cycle of mistruths.

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