Just over a week ago, the Ala Costa Center in Berkeley hosted a screening of Miss Representation, a new documentary (out on DVD) regarding the portrayal of women in mass media and its impact on society. I watched it last week at a private screening hosted by a student group for women in the law. Having written a paper recently about the difficulties women in the workforce face, especially within the upper echelons of our country’s leadership, I simply expected to experience a less academic/more entertaining version of the articles and studies I had read last semester.
After watching the film, I must say that this movie is more than your typical documentary. It’s a powerful and thought-provoking film that makes you challenge the images and rhetoric currently used to depict women in mass media. The film follows the story of a mother struggling to shield her young daughters from the one-dimensional female “role models” lauded by mass media. The film focuses on the fact that, in the eyes of modern mass media, the value of a woman has more to do with her physical appearance than her personal achievements. Without spoiling too much, the film features an impressive list of interviewees including Condoleezza Rice and Gloria Steinem.
The screening I went to consisted mostly of women, and the film was followed by a group discussion session. One consensus that the group reached was that men should be included in future screenings/conversations around this film.
To watch the film, you have a few options: 1) Student organizations and other community associations can apply to host a screening of the film. It’s a very interesting way to start up an engaging conversation about women and the media. More information on the film (and a trailer) can be found here: http://www.missrepresentation.org/ 2) Watch it on OWN (Oprah’s new network) or 3) Attend a screening on campus on March 13 in Dwinelle Hall: http://events.berkeley.edu/?event_ID=51141&date=2012-03-13&tab=academic.
Mark your calendars; you’re in for a treat!