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Movie Review: Miss Representation

Earlier last fall I heard about a documentary coming out, possibly at University of Nebraska-Lincoln's campus reflecting about how women are presented in the media. A few of my friends had invited me to join the petition to bring the movie to campus, and early last week, at the beginning of National Women's Week, it was here. I went with a couple of girl friends: some single, some married, some with kids, and it was very enjoyable and informative for all. The movie was free to the public, and they even gave away free bags of popcorn for everyone interested in seeing the film, too. There was an hour long panel discussion after the film, which we opted to stay for.

This movie hit a lot of nerves, even in my small crowd. There were many things to talk about on the drive home with friends, and many things I re-hashed to Stefan later that evening, and am still thinking about this week. All in all--any documentary that gets you to think critically and review your experiences is an important and practical 90 minutes spent.

Miss Representation is a film about how women and girls are portrayed in the media, and what the 'trickle down' effect of that is. There were many, many statistics shared in the movie, and the film was mostly made up of interviews with prominent, accomplished women, high school and college aged girls, narration by Jennifer Newson, and graphic images (from dolls, to news & politics, to ads and art). I don't know that I would fully feel comfortable with Stefan watching this movie, because of the visual and graphic nature, but I think it's very important to discuss with him what the premise of the movie is about and how we can relate it to our lives; specifically in parenting our children.

From the website,, a bit about the movie, "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 great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors."

What I take away from the movie is this: yes it used emotional bias (crying high school girls), graphic nature of women in 'dominated' art and advertising (disgusting, I think we've all seen it), and many, many instances of news anchors and men of power undercutting women as a whole, but this point of view does have value even though this was an exaggerated film to make a point. If we do not teach both our daughters AND our sons about respecting the other gender, how can we possibly expect children--who watch and consume WAY to much media, in any form, to act any differently than what they see on tv?

In our house hold we have an expectation that only respectful and loving language is used towards one another. Stefan and I try to model that as best as we humanly can, and our children have learned (and will continue to learn-- I'm sure it will be very hard at times!) to love one another, hug each other, apologize & forgive almost on a daily basis for wrongs, kiss each other at bedtime, and comfort one another when sad or upset (the most common way is the non-hurt child will bring the hurt one a favorite teddy to cuddle). We need to consistently remind our children that our language sets the stage for how we treat each other, and what's inside needs to be shared in a healthy manner, but that the expectation is to never let that fester, but amend, and move on together.This is based on our belief in the gospel and Jesus Christ, who has paid for our sins and provides abundant grace and understanding.

I would give this movie a strong 4 out of 5 simply because of the information given. This IS a problem with mainstream media and our children and ourselves, consume too much of it as a culture. This will, naturally, affect the way our worldviews work. I think many different personalities would find this movie interesting, though I would prescribe this movie to those with children (any ages) to watch this as a necessity is forming parenting ideas and talking to children (in the classroom, on the playing field, or at home) about this as it comes up.


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