Bitch. Pretty. Whore. Dumb. Ugly. Easy. Catty. Sexy. Ditzy. Fat. Emotional. Unstable. Needy.
These are the words that are lobbed at women everyday. Although we make up more than half of the population (51%), we still are not on equal footing when it comes to earning money and holding positions of power. Moreover, women are often fed messages that perpetuate the idea that we are weak, fragile, over emotional, and that our worth is tied up in our beauty and sex appeal, rather than our intelligence.
From the media’s incessant need to critique female politicians not based on their policy positions but for how they look, to the constant portrayal of women as catty, self-absorbed dumb chicks on reality shows, it’s no wonder many of us struggle to accept ourselves as we are.
But a new documentary aims to change how we see ourselves.
In the film “Miss Representation,” writer/director Jennifer Siebel examines the media’s seemingly endless attack on women and implores us to begin being the architects of our own stories and messages.
The “Miss Representation” website describes the documentary like this:
“Miss Representation explores women’s under-representation in positions of power by challenging the limited and often disparaging portrayal of women in the media. As one of the most persuasive and pervasive forces in our culture, media is educating yet another generation that women’s primary value lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality—not in their capacity as leaders. Through the riveting perspectives of youth and the critical analysis of top scholars, Miss Representation will change the way you see media.”
The documentary features a host of powerful and influential women (and men). Condoleezza Rice, Cory Booker, Katie Couric, Jane Fonda, Rachel Maddow, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Lisa Ling, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson, as well as young women and girls from around the country all take part in the film’s discussion of how the media influences the messages women receive daily.
As the film states, “the media is the message and the messenger,” so it is extremely important that women, and particularly black women, tell our own stories. Whether it’s through writing and publishing books, or producing our own films, we have to step up. We can no longer wait around and hope Hollywood or the mainstream media realizes how valuable, worthy, and brilliant we are, because it won’t happen. We have to begin to claim our own power and take control of the messages that are fed to women, both young and old, if we want to see things change.
Check out the trailer for “Miss Representation.” Do you think the media teaches women to hate themselves?