By Wenli Zhao
The documentary, Miss Representation, was a haunting analysis of the present situation of women in media. Women are over sexualized and objectified in media, from news journalism to television to movies. Media objectifies women to sell products. Telling young girls their value lies in their physical appearance leaves young girls insecure and unconfident. Additionally, female characters in the media are portrayed as one-dimensional. They lack power and ambition, and these ideas translate into how real girls perceive their own future roles. I think I implicitly knew many of these things, but the documentary brought them to my consciousness in a startling way. It gathers opinions from prominent female journalists, policy makers, and kids themselves. The documentary taught me how powerful media can be. Media has a bigger presence now than it has ever had. Television and advertisement have such a subtle but massive impact on our cultural perceptions. The goal of the documentary is to use media to prompt change in our ideas about women and their representation in media. I think bringing this issue that women are misrepresented in media into people’s awareness is the critical first step to changing it. I think my favorite part of the documentary was the hopeful note at the end. They describe women helping each other through mentorship, the importance of women supporting women, and the need to get the word out. I think the documentary highlights the importance of gender equality in a way that cannot elicit backlash. The testimonials and statistics given are the hard truth. Media is the biggest barrier to equality. It’s not just a matter of time that will give us equality, but an active effort to change the way we view women in society.