If you believe that women are equal and there are no more battles to be fought in the name of feminism, Miss Representation is a long-overdue punch to the gut. Framed as a narrative to her young daughter, filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom takes a hard look at how the American media portray women. Spoiler alert: it ain't pretty.
From hypersexualized Disney princesses and cleavage-baring TV reporters to how language is used to frame powerful women, this is a deeply personal and compelling examination of how dehumanized women have become within western culture. Beginning with the idea that there is a severe lack of positive female role models in our culture, Newsom covers everything from eating disorders and cosmetic surgery to the oversexualization and degradation of women in general.
Interviewees include Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Lisa Ling, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Rosario Dawson, and Jackson Katz, who ruminate about sexual violence, language, power struggles, and the acceptance of women within popular culture and politics. Newsom also digs into the history of women in 20th-century culture and beyond, from the redomestication campaigns of the 1950s to the role of relaxed FCC standards in the '70s and '80s to the near-cartoonish portrayals of women currently saturating the media.
The statistics will make you gasp (did you know 15 percent of sexual assault victims are under 12 years of age?) and the heartbreaking voice-overs will elicit tears. All in all, Miss Representation is an excellent overview of this under-the-radar epidemic perpetuated by the mainstream media.
Miss Representation screens April 19 at 1 p.m. and April 21 at 4 p.m. at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts as part of the Projecting Change Film Festival.
Watch the trailer for Miss Representation.
For more outrage about the world in general, follow Miranda Nelson on Twitter at @charenton_.