The other day, browsing movies on iTunes, my boyfriend came across Missrepresentation, a powerful documentary that uncovers the reality we’ve been living in with today’s media, the portrayal of women on television and advertisements and how the mainstream media is contributing to the under-representation of women. Right now I’m in Spain and had not heard about the film. But hey, was I glad I did.
First, I have to say that for the past few months I’ve been writing my (first) book, my own story as a woman with “little to offer” up-here, according to the typical American man, I’ve had to think about what really influenced me in my teen years, and I thought of Television. I sat back and thought: Wow, is there anybody else out there who sees what I see? Do parents care about what their young girls are seeing around? Can they at least sit down with them and talk with them with hopes that they’ll open up their eyes the right way, before someone else does it the wrong way?
I’ve been lucky enough to have been raised by a strong woman who never let me watch the crap the media feeds us on TV. I grew up not giving two sh*ts about Telenovelas or reality shows like “America’s Next Top Model.” I’m proud to say that I don’t watch reality shows — or much TV, in fact. The only media that could actually make me get up and sit in front of a screen include Tina Fey, Conan O’Brien and the whole National Geographic program — and documentaries like Miss Representation, of course. But there aren’t a lot of powerful mothers like my mother out there anymore. Children age seven, eight, nine…are on Facebook! Like my own little cousins, for instance. Come on! How are parents allowing this?!
Sometimes I’m reminded of that movie Idiocracy, where no one was educated and humanity got so dumbed out they replaced the entire water system with Gatorade. It’s a genius concept that somebody must’ve predicted exactly where this society is going if they keep this rate. I seriously worry about this society and how the dumbest of all people (who shouldn’t have kids) keep bringing children into this world.
Then, I watched Missrepresentation. This documentary should be played on Television every single day for all parents and teenagers to sit down together and watch. It was about time somebody came up with the facts!
In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality — and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States still ranks 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, depression rates have doubled among teenage girls, and cosmetic surgery on minors has more than tripled in the last ten years.
Now we need to pass along the message. The newer generations are going down instead of up and we need to take action. Watch the film. Share. Make your daughters watch. Pass the message. It really is a wake-up call.