140 Character Movie Review – #140RVW
We may think we’re well aware of the insidious effects of media portrayal of women; this doc is still eye-opening. Required viewing for all.
Spoiler-free Movie Review of Miss Representation:
It’s hard not to feel hopeless watching Miss Representation. The story, the outlook seems so bleak, so broken.
Filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom brought this to life through a great mission – to make a change in the world for her own daughter. Framing the documentary around that mission keeps things from being too overwhelming – mostly. It’s still some sobering stuff…
It’s very hard to write a review of a documentary, as I’ve learned over the past couple of years (but I keep trying). It’s doubly hard in this case because the subject matter depicted is so crucial and so emotionally charged that I spent most of the time watching the film with my jaw dropped open and my hands over my eyes. And I’ve seen it twice…
So Miss Representation clearly succeeds as an agent of change in my book. Its vitally important message is outlined early and often.
But how does it work as a film? Quite well, for the most part. The subjects of gender inequality, media bias, sexism, objectification and misogyny are inherently broad and so the focus is necessarily a moving target. It’s nearly impossible to wrap your hands around the scope of a problem so significant and large, and so the film doesn’t completely. But it is a very good overview – a sampler, if you will. It really works quite well as a standalone, but it would probably make a better mini-series than a single doc.
Just a few random notes I jotted down while recently re-watching Miss Representation:
- The statistics are nauseating: http://therepresentationproject.org/films/miss-representation/about-the-film-2/statistics/
- 10 hours and 45 minutes of consumption per day for American teenagers!
- Important terms to keep in mind: self-objectification, symbolic annihilation…
- Everyone in America should watch this film.
- “In G-rated movies, the characters are just as likely to be wearing sexually revealing clothing as in R-rated movies. Which is horrifying.” Geena Davis
- “Ratings Creep” – movie ratings categories contain MORE violence, sex and profanity than a decade ago.
- “All of Hollywood is run on one assumption: that women will watch stories about men, but men won’t watch stories about women. And all the decisions are made based on this concrete fact and nobody’s ever really proved that that’s true.” Geena Davis
- Kudos to Paul Haggis for being honest and including himself in his analysis that many times the problem is simply that people just stick with what they know and don’t challenge things.
- Post WWII “re-domestication”
- Barbara Berg provides great historical perspective, but it doesn’t come until an hour in – which I think is appropriate – these documentaries usually end up as boring history lessons that this doc succeeds so well without.
- This goes beyond representation, into violence, politics…
- “Turning a human being into a thing is almost always the first step to justifying violence to that being”
- Documentary doesn’t forget about the effect on the boys – leading into their next film, The Mask You Live In.
- “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Those are the wise words of Marie Wilson from the White House Project.
I really can’t stress enough how important I feel it is that people watch and talk about this film, as well as a host of others examining the important issue of how women are portrayed and treated in our world. Because we’re better than the world we’ve created…
|Main Cast||Christina Aguilera Herself (archive footage), Michele Bachmann Herself (archive footage), Chris Baker Himself – KTLK’s Chris Baker Show (voice), Krystal Ball Herself – (D-VA) Candidate for Congress|
|Director||Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Kimberlee Acquaro|
|Plot||Explores the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America, and challenges the media’s limited portrayal of what it means to be a powerful woman.|
|Tagline||You can’t be what you can’t see.|
|Writers||Jacoba Atlas (consulting writer), Jessica Congdon|