Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Miss Representation in the Media

The media is undeniably everywhere. It is almost impossible to escape from it. My generation, without doubt, has the largest number of media consumption than any other. Because of this mass media consumption, we are more susceptible to the messages it sends our way. The media ultimately shapes our brain and the way we perceive the world; in whole, it shapes our society. Advertiser's goal is obviously to sell their product. In order to do so, they make us feel insecure, and imply that their product will fix that insecurity. In reality, that does not seem to work so much. 

The documentary our class watched recently called "Miss Representation" digs into what the media says about women. Overall, the whole documentary was very intriguing. Watching this film made me much more aware of what is going on in the media. I really had not paid so much attention towards women being dehumanized until now. Honestly, I am sick of what the media is doing. The objectification of women is truly disgusting. This attitude in our society poses a huge problem.

When the documentary, "Miss Representation", was released in 2011, teenagers spent an average of ten hours and forty-five minutes on media consumption a day. This immense consumption of media heavily molds the minds of people at a young age, influencing their views on themselves and the world around them. At a young age, girls get the message that their value is on how they look. The way media portrays women in T.V. shows, movies, commercials, etc. over sexualizes women and dehumanizes them. This type of media creates anxiety and makes women feel self-conscious. Advertisers can tap onto a woman's insecurity of their appearance, and attempt to give them a product that will make them more beautiful. As stated in the film, women spend $12,000 a year on cosmetic products.

The consumption of media that projects negatively on women leads boys to get the message that the value of women is less than their own value. Boys are also taught to over-exemplify masculine values such as strength, and undervalue ideals seen as feminine; such as feelings and emotions. The media's influence on how men perceive women and how women perceive themselves leads to the self-objectification of women. Self-objectification is when other people look at you as if you are an object which leads you to think you to think you are and feel like an object. The effects of self-objectification are detrimental: 78% of women are unhappy with their body by the age of 17, 65% of women and girls have an eating disorder, and rates of depression among girls and women have doubled within the last 10 years. 

Since the film was from a few years ago, some of the information could be outdated. As of now, it seems that there is evidence of women being better represented in the media. One T.V. show called "The Fall", and a recent movie called "Joy" both feature female protagonists that are not hyper-sexualized, which gives more hope to women being represented better in media. Women such as Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, and Emma Watson also give hope to the future of the media. 'Celebrities' similar to them have strong influences over the media, and are using that power for the better. They speak against self-hate, in support for women's rights, and strive to improve the lives of women in the US and globally. 

However, although there are improvements in women representation in the media, we still have a lot of work to do. Even though there are more women running for government positions, they are still viewed more materialistically and by their appearance than their male opponents. Globally women are often treated more fairly in government. Other countries including Iraq and Afghanistan have more women in government than the United States. This is shocking. A country that is supposedly on the forefront of progression is yet so far behind when it comes to the representation of women. 


  1. I really like what you said. I agree, media is all around us all the time. Miss Representation brought the real extent of this issue into picture. Seeing those stats showed me just how bad this message has gotten. I agree that women are slowly becoming better represented in media. It is still not enough and I sincerely hope it continues to get better. The negative messages that influence women I think equally influence men. The media has shaped our perspective on a lot of things in life and that shouldn't be the case. The film was very eye opening to me and hopefully others. I hope more people begin to realize the change that needs to be made. Great post!! :)

  2. Being a male, and therefore experiencing less media misrepresentation, I am impressed by how much you took away from this film. The depth of understanding that you derived is incredible given we, as men, aren't completely attuned to the negative effects of the media on the opposite gender. Not sayin' you should look into a career in social justice reform, but give it a shot.