Tags: bodies, children/youth, consumption/consumerism, discourse/language, gender, inequality, marketing/brands, media, political economy, sex/sexuality, social construction, violence, feminism, media literacy, representation, self-objectification, sexism, sexual objectification, stereotypes, symbolic annihilation, 06 to 10 mins, 61+ mins
Length: 90:00, 8:52
Access: no online access, Vimeo preview
Summary: Jennifer Siebel Newsom directs this documentary, and following in the steps of the Killing Us Softly films, it draws attention to the very problematic ways women and girls are represented in contemporary media. To tell the story, Newsom weaves together a number of interviews from an array of experts and activists, including Erika Falk, Jennifer Pozner, Jean Kilbourne, Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Cory Booker, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem. The dominant themes of Miss Representation can be described as the consequences of living in a world where one is virtually swimming in representations which consistently emphasize an unattainable beauty standard for women, and in a separate vein, encourage routine violence against women. In this environment, women increasingly self-objectify, they suffer from increased levels of anxiety and depression, a lack of political efficacy, and men increasingly perpetrate violence against women. Despite similarities, Newsom takes her film further than Jean Kilbourne's documentary, Killing Us Softly 4, by exploring more of the political economy behind these harmful representations. Specifically, she explores the large scale entrance of American women into the paid labor force during World War II as a watershed event (see also The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter). In Newsom's retelling of this story, once men returned to from fighting abroad, the media played a central role in encouraging women to surrender their high-paying jobs back to men in order to become domestic consumers in the brave new post-war economy. Today the marketing of corporations are regulated even less by Congress, and their ads continue to target women; they objectify them as part of a strategy aimed at creating ever more insatiable consumers.
Submitted By: Lester Andrist
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