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Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebel Newsom

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Jennifer Siebel Newsom, writer and a director of “Miss Representation.” In her documentary she argues that mainstream media and culture play a part to the under-representation of women in place of power and authority. The younger generation of girls is targeted audience. The documentary is attempting to persuade people to be impartial and examine how social media influences our understanding, judgement, and manners. Miss representation begins building credibility with reproducing facts and statistics, and strongly utilizing emotions appeal; nonetheless, due to the documentary aggressive tone and style in the middle and toward the end of the documentary, the director’s credibility and argument are ultimately reduce.

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Right of the bat and throughout the whole documentary, the storyteller talks about her unborn girl and how she fears for her little girl growing up in world that is dishonorable and derogatory to women. She talks about becoming pregnant and finding out that she was have a girl, is the very reason she started making change in the way that culture and media view women. This connects with a daughter, anyone who has a daughter, knows someone with a daughter, or someone who wants a daughter. Miss Representation, is filled with endeavors to appeal to the targeted audience emotions. The documentary looks at interviews of teenage girls instead of being worried with school and learning, they are worried for their weight and if they should be wearing makeup or not, they talk about how that affects them mentally, emotional, and physical. One girl talks about eating hand burgers to gain weight, so people won’t think she is anorexic. These young girls are the producer’s way of placing a face to the argument or facts. The film also mentions how young women are acquired to see themselves as objects, because of recurring message on how the media portrays women. The media sees women as promiscuous and sex objects in order to sell products.

Another attempt to appeal to emotions, the producers use national pride as a form of an appeal. The film looks at statistics on how far behind the United States is as far as women influence in politics and gender equality at large. According to the film the United States is 90th in the world when it comes to women being legislators. The filmmakers are attempting to cause humiliation and shame from the targeted audience. How could a nation that is so advanced in so many other areas, not measure up or even set an example when it comes to gender equality? The film hopes and depends on that the targeted audience questions why is so.  

Works cited

  1. Newsom, J. S. (Director). (2011). Miss Representation [Documentary]. Girls' Club Entertainment.
  2. American Psychological Association. (2007). Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/report-full.pdf
  3. Armstrong, L. (2014). Madonna meets Medusa: Feminist identity, cultural feminism, and the media. In M. M. Lütge & J. E. Rydstrøm (Eds.), The public sphere: Liberal modernity, Catholicism, Islam (pp. 193-208). Palgrave Macmillan.
  4. Banet-Weiser, S. (2011). Girls rule!: Gender, feminism, and Nickelodeon. In R. Gill (Ed.), Gender and the media (pp. 81-96). Polity Press.
  5. Dill, K. E., & Thill, K. P. (2007). Video game characters and the socialization of gender roles: Young people's perceptions mirror sexist media depictions. Sex Roles, 57(11-12), 851-864.
  6. Frisby, C. M. (2012). Race and gender in the media: A content analysis of advertisements in two mainstream Black magazines. Sex Roles, 66(3-4), 172-186.
  7. Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (1996). The ambivalent sexism inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70(3), 491-512.
  8. Kilbourne, J. (2014). Can't buy my love: How advertising changes the way we think and feel (2nd ed.). Simon and Schuster.
  9. Messner, M. A., & Montez de Oca, J. (2005). The male consumer as loser: Beer and liquor ads in mega sports media events. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 30(3), 1879-1909.
  10. Ward, L. M. (2016). Media and sexualization: State of empirical research, 1995-2015. Journal of Sex Research, 53(4-5), 560-577.

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