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.