Bright Idea: See a Sundance film that challenges the media’s limiting portrayal of women and girls

I had the opportunity to see a screening of the Special Selection 2011 Sundance documentary film,“Miss Representation”. The film, directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, revisits the idea that the intelligence of women and girls is trumped by the value media places on their bodies. While the film features the perspectives of public figures from Newark New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker to former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, Activist Gloria Steinem to Journalist Lisa Ling and many in between, we also hear the voices of everyday girls represented.  The message? While there are some very strong leaders in the young women and girl population, there still are plenty of impressionable girls who question their worth, daily, because of the images of women they are inundated with on a regular basis. We heard from the mouths of high school girls that they are worried about their weight, dependent upon what other people, especially boys, think of them, and think about how they are going to fit in as they grow into their roles in society. These are bright, intelligent girls! The messages they are receiving? There is no real demand for that. In reality, we know that this simply is not true. There is demand. That message is not getting through.

Among its various avenues of investigation, the film “explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.”

(Source: Miss Representation YouTube page)

While the film has been presented at Sundance and has aired on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), they are holding screenings for the film across the country, and potentially, the world. If you visit their website, you can also apply to hold your own screening.

The screening was followed by a panel discussion with Film and TV Producer Bonnie Bruckheimer, Executive VP and General Manager of the Sundance Channel Sarah Barnett,  Executive Director of the Public Leadership Education Network Pamela O’Leary, Blogger and Creator of the Curvy Fashionista Marie Denee, Authoer of Girl Studies Eline Lipkin and moderated by Human Rights Activist Bonnie Abaunza.

While the film will appeal to women, girls and parents of both, I thinkeveryone should see this film and continue the dialogue. Who’s going to answer the teary high school student, Maria, and her question, “When is it going to be enough?”


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