Is this how we want women portrayed?

This may well be the most important documentary you will ever see.  Miss Representation is a film by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, that explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence.

When we first moved to Doha we stayed in a hotel. Each night when G came home from work I would escape for a run on the treadmill in the hotel gym. The gym was mostly full of men. There was the usual line up of treadmills and televisions with a constant stream of music videos. On one particular night I watched a group of men stop for a moment to look at the screens. I can’t remember who it was, maybe Britney? GaGa? Ciara? Rhianna? I was a bit distracted. I was busy trying to work out why she was wearing a see through white bikini while dancing with a snake wrapped around her legs. She appeared to be very attracted to both the stripper pole in front of her and the snake. It was completely gratuitous and out of context with the song. One of the guys said something I couldn’t hear, everyone laughed and I immediately felt uncomfortable. I felt like I’d accidently joined in on their party and their party was watching soft porn at the gym.

Is that an over reaction?

Should I be cool with watching a woman wearing a dog collar being led around the room? What’s the line between sexy and sexism? Would I point to these women and then tell my daughters “one day if you work really hard at school…”. “Keep practicing your trombone sweetheart and then we can pop you in a bikini, hose you down and see if you can earn a living”.

You can’t be what you can’t see.

I’ve been over to Miss Representation and taken the pledge.

“I pledge to use my voice to spread the message of Miss Representation and challenge the media’s limiting portrayal of women and girls.”

Kirsty Rice is an Australian writer and Blogger currently living in Qatar. You can follow her blog here

How do you feel about the way that women are portrayed in the media?