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Girls in the Media

Posted on Wed, 25 April, 2012

Recently I viewed Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s new documentary Miss Representation. I referenced it in an earlier posting and like the message it provides: girls and women are dramatically underrepresented in politics, horribly devalued in the media and generally still valued as objects by mainstream society. Not that I like that women are portrayed in this manner, but I feel that Newsom’s collection and portrayal of the material is well documented, well edited and thoughtfully provoking.

I live in the same wealthy suburb of San Francisco as Siebel Newsom and her family and am somewhat surprised to learn that the glass ceiling and general level of misogyny still exists as much as was reported in this film. Marin County is a very sheltered enclave of the modern world, replete with entitlement and poor manners and coping skills despite the magnitude of wealth and resources here. I have lived outside of this area, I have traveled the world and studied other cultures and still I was surprised to learn just how sheltered I still am in that I don’t experience my world in the same way that was presented in this film. I see that it is there for women in politics and entertainment where value is still placed on women’s physical attributes rather than what they accomplish or how they participate. For more on how this pertains to women in politics, please find a screening of the film in your area to see the news clips of how men on camera devalued women in the political arena solely based on their attractiveness.

I do not buy tabloid magazines and minored in Women’s Studies in college and yet I am surprised by how prevalent undercutting women still is. Have I been kidding myself all this time that it has gotten better? Evidently, since I am one of the statistics in the film: I am one of the 30% of girls who wanted to be President when I grew up and then changed my goals when I was redirected based on my gender and perceived abilities. There’s no way you could get me to run for that office now, not because I don’t think I could handle it, but I don’t need to make myself that kind of target. I know who I am, no one else needs to reshape that into what they think I should be.

I like watching a broad range of film and entertainment and it didn’t really occur to me that women were undervalued in them. It’s much clearer in advertising where sex reigns, but less so for me in the movies I watch. I have a lot or work to do in paying closer attention and educating my daughter on how to wade through this stuff.

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A blog written by a hip, sometimes irreverent shrink who’s been around the block and calls it like it is

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