Before watching this film, I had ideas floating in my head about what to expect. And according to the short film summary on the WOU website, it seemed that this film aimed to present how the media misrepresents/misinterprets women of power. However, my notion of what to expect changed as I got more and more into the film.
As I sat watching this film, more than half of the time I caught myself shaking my head in disgust. I could not believe all of the issues that women face nowadays in the media. This is not to say that I am ignorant or blind, but when put in perspective, I realized that women are downplayed in films, music videos, and even magazines. For example, there seems to be no appreciation for women intellectuals, rather, being beautiful and having an “amazing” body is more important. This is especially true when looking at magazines. How many girls today look at these and compare themselves to the women who have been digitally modified? To be honest, I am guilty of this act myself. As I skim through magazines featuring spreads of celebrities and their “perfect” bodies, I have secretly asked myself why I do not look like them. However, after watching Miss Representation, I have realized that it is OK to look like myself because after all, I would rather have a body that has not been digitally modified.
Let us move on to the issue presented in Miss Representation of the U.S. political institution. If we were to take a closer look at the individuals who hold government positions, would you be surprised to see that women are a minority? If women are underrepresented in such an important institution, seen by everyone, then how do we expect for our future generation of women to believe that it is possible for them to make their voice heard by holding a political office? Then again, when women like Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were striving for office, they were bashed upon for things that had nothing to do with their ability to hold office. For example, Hillary was criticized for not keeping up to par with her makeup and hair, and on the other hand, Palin was viewed as dumb or as a sex object because she presented herself in a more feminine manner, with the hair and makeup aspect. Does this not send mixed signals to our younger generation of girls/women? I give so much credit to those women in political office who have been able to overcome all of the criticisms coming from women, men, and the media because it lets us all know that it can be done. Just as the film stated, “You can’t be what you can’t see”. So girls and women do not be afraid to run for government positions or for positions of power, because that is the only way that your voices will be heard. Make a difference for your generation.
Overall, after watching this film, I had mixed emotions. I was appalled with what I discovered, but I also felt empowered as a woman. This may seem contradicting, in a sense, but I shall explain. I was appalled because well, let’s face it, it’s not the greatest feeling in the world to know that women are presented in the media as mere objects. We are not objects; we have a brain and a voice, which makes us capable of accomplishing anything! On the other hand, I felt empowered because in the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world” made me realize that I do want to be that change so that as a whole, women and girls can work together to make a difference for future generations. Instead of criticizing each other, why not take that energy and use it to work together? If we all work together, we can accomplish great things, such as the women who worked long and hard to acquire voting rights. If it were not for their strife and tribulation, we could not have voted earlier this month. Women of the world, we must stand up for each other because if we do not, no one else will.
By Antonia Rojas