I recently had the pleasure of participating on a panel discussion about the documentary, MISS Representation.
The documentary produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom talks about how women are portrayed in the media. A secondary message in the movie talked about the lack of female leadership in key roles within the work place.
After watching the movie, my commitment to girls and women issues soared! I have a renewed vigor to make sure that our young girls realize their worth and not through the eyes of celebrities or commercials for products and services.
The movie provided startling statistics that showed self-objectification is growing. The movie also revealed that because of the numerous messages bombarding our youth, suicide, bullying, abuse, and rape are at an all-time high. One of the startling statistics in the documentary said, “Girls are learning to see themselves as objects. American Psychological Association calls self-objectification a national epidemic: Women and girls who self-objectify are more likely to be depressed, have lower confidence, lower ambition and lower GPAs.”
Questions asked after the movie ranged from, “I have boys; what can I do to counteract the inaccurate messages that they see on a daily basis?” to “How can I join the effort to stop the way women are being portrayed?”
As a panelist, here are a few of our recommendations. We encouraged:
- Those in the audience to start the discussion with their peers.
- Talking to young girls about the negative images as they appear on television and in movies.
- Women to seek opportunities to mentor other women striving to advance into leadership roles.
Too often I’ve seen women in leadership roles misusing their position by not setting an example for other women who are striving to advance in their careers, nor feeling a sense of obligation to mentor and help others. For the misrepresentation to change, these actions must change. The movie clearly showed us that until women are at the decision-making table, nothing will improve.
Finally, as the mother of a young son, I too walked away from this experience with my ‘marching orders.’ I want to teach my son to respect women and to have a healthy view of women, not one distorted by the images seen in the media to simply gain ratings.
It cannot be business as usual!
More information on this documentary is available on the MISS Representation website.