by GRACE BOWE
Ever loved what you were reading in the weekend papers so much, you had to read it out loud to your partner? Yep, that’s me to a tee. I’m now taking my inbuilt need to share to a whole new level. Last month I saw a brilliant and life changing film. I want to share this film so much I have organised a public screening of it. So what’s the film? It’s called Miss Representation and premiered at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. The film explores the way in which the misrepresentation of women in media has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.
This film totally opened my eyes to just how influential media is in how women perceive themselves. Yes, I ‘knew’ this already. Sure, I had debated for my high school arguing and winning cases built around why ‘TV is a negative influence” and “beauty vs brains” but in presenting cases for both the opposition and affirmative sides I don’t think I’d ever had the mirror held up to my own life and realised as a female what a losing side I was on. What a blow media’s misrepresentation of females was delivering to my sense of self belief.
A few powerful take aways for me were:
– “You can’t be what you can’t see” which reinforces the importance of having women in positions of power as role models for future generations
– Gender stereotypes have become so normalised, I’ve become desensitised to them. It starts from such a young age too. As little girls we can choose between ‘a witch’ or a ‘princess’ . This film helps you see that the limited and polarised choices stay with us to adulthood.
– We are taught from such an early age that females are valued for what they look like, which leads to so much internal self loathing and ideals we can never live up to
– How much women spend on self-improvement and indeed what our definition of ‘self-improvement is’. We (women) spend a crazy amount each year on getting our hair done, getting our hair removed, smelling nice and looking nice. Imagine the possibilities if we reinvested that money we spent each year on beauty ‘self-improvement’ and spent it on self-improvement through education.
– Another poignant moment in the film for me was interviews with high school students. My own younger sister is in high school at the moment and so I am particularly sensitive to just how influential young women are at this stage. The girls interviewed in the film told stories about friends who would go into the bathrooms at break times to reapply their make up. That’s all good and well, expect aren’t they missing the point of why they are at school? To learn, not to have lipstick perfectly in place.
– How important it is to have women writing our own characters and stories. The film made some fascinating comments about how two dimensional female characters are in TV Shows and movies are today compared to the 1930s –when ironically the films from back then showed women as more complex characters than the stereotypes we have been reduced to in today’s scripting
This documentary is brilliant. It’s powerful and eye opening. Bring yourself, bring your younger sisters and your older sisters, bring your friends and their friends. But also bring your boyfriends, your husbands, your brothers and other males in your life. For when I watched the film myself, I wanted my fiancé and his friends to be seeing it as well. I realised that it is equally as important they understand the misrepresentation of women that is taking place.
Here is the trailer:
Thursday 20th September 6;30pm start time
At The Dendy, Opera Quays, Sydney. Mamamia’s very own Managing Editor, Jamila Rizvi, is going to be on the panel discussion at the end of the film.
About the Cause:
As the very wise Kofi Annan said “It is impossible to realise our goals while discriminating against half the human race. As study after study has taught us, there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women”.
Helping women have greater representation in positions of influence and power, is something I am passionate about not just for the women of Australia, but a group even more marginalised than us-the women of the developing world.
So in November I am travelling to Uganda in support of the work of The Hunger Project. The Hunger Project is an amazing organisation who believes and works tirelessly in support of the empowerment of women.
Tickets are $44 and all monies raised are going to this amazing organisation called The Hunger Project.
Grace Bowe runs her own business ‘Bride Body’ which helps women get in shape for their weddings through healthy eating plans and exercise plans. She loves supporting women in the pursuit of their goals. You can follow her on twitter here or her blog here.