Friday, December 16, 2011

Miss Representation

Last night I saw a screening of the new movie, Miss Representation. It was screened by the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, which is now on my radar for something we might let Margaret do in the future.

Behold, the preview:

It was dark and I was knitting, so I didn't take many notes, but I'll share my reactions.

Reaction 1: Depression. The amount of eating disorders and self-harm among girls and young women is depressing. Violence against women in the media and in real life is depressing. The lack of women in politics in America is depressing. The lack of women in decision-making positions in the entertainment industry is depressing. It's just depressing. As well it should be. It isn't happy stuff.

Reaction 2: Community. Watching it as a screening surrounded by other people who were having the same reactions to the movie I had was validating and community-building. I'm usually off on my lonesome here. Yes, I participate in various feminist online communities, but at the end of the day, I don't normally interact and discuss feminism with other people in person (except for McKay whose ever patience with my frustration at the world is endearing). I'm not alone!

Reaction 3: I must protect my babies from EVERYTHING MEDIA. Except that's not really helpful. At all. Talk about the best way to not prepare them for life! As much as I'd like to hide them away, I can't. They're going to see women objectified. They are going to see bad things. What I can do is teach them how to think critically about it: Why does she wear that? Why do they think that about her? And I can start now while Margaret and Isaac are still very much in their own selves and don't care about what other people think about them.

Reaction 4: This movie is not making me want to go into politics. As someone who's experienced sexual harassment at work and while just out on the street, the section about the 2008 election was triggering for me. Palin and Clinton were put through the ringer: sexually harassed on public television over and over. Why would I want to go into politics and put myself through that? Of course, a few seconds after I thought that, the movie made the point that such crap keeps young women from wanting to participate in politics. Um... Yeah.

Reaction 5: I'm actually doing pretty good in my media intake. We don't watch many movies, we have Netflix, so the movies and TV we do watch are ones that we actively choose and aren't just "something that's on." Plus no commercials. And we have mostly cartoony video games like Mario- not a lot of gore, though some turtle-killing violence. Although, it would be nice to play Maria and Luigia once and a while. As far as audio media- I listen to a lot of knitting podcasts, which are mostly independently made by women. There are a few male knitting podcasts (yay!), but in general, the media I listen to isn't objectifying women. And the male knitting podcasts don't objectify women- they talk about knitting. So yeah. And I'm an active thumbs-downer and feedback-giver when it comes to advertisements on the websites I visit.

After the screening there was a panel that included Jill Culton from Dreamworks, Brenda Chapman who did some directing on Pixar's upcoming Brave, Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency, Carey Fay Horowitz from Bay Area Girls Rock, and someone representing the Miss Representation people (I forget his name). It was very interesting. Jill and Brenda talked about the times they've wanted to add a character to a story but would come across, "What if we made that character male?" but have never come across the question, "What if we made that character female?" Very interesting stuff on the entertainment side. Unfortunately, I had to leave early because McKay was texting me that Isaac was not going to sleep and needed breast.

Basically, see this movie. Oprah bought the rights to it and will be showing it on her network again in 2012, so if you have cable, you might be able to find it that way. But going to a screening is great, too. Like I mentioned above, the community aspect of watching it with other people is really fun and encouraging.

Also, in the back of the room some groups had tables set up so you could donate and support local pro-girls efforts. One group was selling onesies that said, "I <3 Math," and "Princess? Call me President!" Very cute. If I can find out what group that was, I'll link so you can see/buy the shirts.

ETA: The shirts was from Handsome in Pink. Also at the back of the room was a table for Girls Moving Forward.

1 comment:

  1. Susan8:54 AM

    I'll definitely be seeing this. Also, I was pleased to see that ThinkGeek has shirts for little girls emblazoned with "Self-Rescuing Princess" and "No, I will not (fix your computer/do your math for you)." (I have problems with princesses in general, but better Xena than Aurora, I think.)


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