Screening at the Westport Library Tonight: the Documentary "Miss Representation"

Kim Kardashian’s pumping gas in leather pants and stilettos, Jessica Simpson’s Elle magazine cover wearing nothing but a cocktail ring, Rhianna ‘working out’ in a string bikini: Media representations of female celebrities—pervasive, ubiquitous, and often engineered by the women themselves—highlight their sexuality and external beauty.

To examine their impact, Jennifer Siebel Newsom wrote, produced, and directed the documentary Miss Representation. The film, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, explores how media representations of women ‘contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence.’

The documentary will be shown in the library’s McManus Room tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Along with ‘startling facts and statistics,’ it features stories from teenage girls and interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, including Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson, and Gloria Steinem.

Newsome also launched MissRepresentation.org, ‘a call-to-action campaign that gives women and girls the tools to realize their full potential.’

From the website: In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.

Click here to read a review of the documentary at The Daily Beast.


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