Documentary: Miss Representation & ePortfolio quick fire response
Free write for 10-15 mins, drawing on some of the ideas we’ve been exploring in the reading this past couple of weeks, as well as the class discussion on Monday. In particular, think about what the documentary is arguing, and think about how we can address inequities given their thesis.
This documentary, Miss Representation, argues that women are not properly represented in the media; therefore, they’re misrepresented. The documentary explains that this misrepresentation of women occurs in leadership positions/politics, in movies and the film industry, in terms of their bodies, etc. There was one quote that I felt summed up the argument of this documentary very well; it reads, “If the cards are so heavily stacked against young women, how are they supposed to achieve their potential and become leaders? We can’t turn a blind eye to how the media impacts our culture and harms both our daughters and our sons.” Similarly, much of this discussion of the media deals with the way in which women’s bodies are represented. Women often appear as sexual objects or body props within movies and film, but this sexualization extends outside of the film industry as well, such as when they discussed the clothing of women news anchors. This entire discussion of the media’s influence on these behaviors and concepts is completely relevant to the discussions we had in class and in our readings: the body as a social construct. These goals of a attaining or showing off a “thin waist” or “big chest” are not natural; they are ideas that have shaped our thinking based on the media and way in which women’s’ bodies have been outwardly represented. As our reading for this week mentions, “our understanding of the body cannot exist outside of the society that gives it meaning” (Shaw & Lee 184). Additionally, “what our bodies mean and how they are experienced is intimately connected to the meanings and practices of the society in which we reside” (184). In other words, our visions and feelings about what a woman’s body should look like are entirely shaped by the society and culture we live in. This is clearly seen in this documentary, through the toxic society (created from the media) that has enforced restrictive and unrealistic body types for women. This is how women’s bodies become socially constructed.