Like PAGE ONE, the next film in the 2011 Sundance US Documentary Competition takes a look at the media: Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s MISS REPRESENTATION, an examination of the impact of the objectification of women in film, TV, and advertising.
Sundance Program Description:
Like drawing back a curtain to let bright light stream in, MISS REPRESENTATION uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. It’s clear the mainstream media objectifies women, but what most people don’t realize is the magnitude of that phenomenon and the way objectification gets internalized—a symbolic annihilation of self-worth—and impedes girls and women from realizing their full potential. While women have made strides in leadership over the past few decades, trivializing and damaging images continue to proliferate. In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that a woman’s value and power lie only in her youth, beauty, and sexuality is pervasive.
Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, academics, and activists like Condoleeza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, and Gloria Steinem build momentum as the film accumulates startling facts and statistics that leave the audience shaken and armed with a new perspective.
Though MISS REPRESENTATION is Siebel Newsom’s directorial debut, she has been acting throughout the 2000s, appearing on numerous TV series and films, including Paul Haggis’ IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH. In 2008, she married Gavin Newsom, the Mayor of San Francisco and the Lieutenant Governor-elect of California, who also appears as an interview subject in the film.
Why You Should Watch:
MISS REPRESENTATION’s message is a simple but potent one – a call to action to confront the portrayal of women and girls in the media to prevent the vicious cycle that results when women and girls reflect these limited but constantly reinforced representations. Its importance is especially underscored by Siebel Newsom’s desire to influence change for the sake of her new daughter’s future, and by interviews with articulate youth who express frustration with the pervasive images that cause real harm to themselves and others.
For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph above. The film also has a website and Facebook page to keep interested audiences updated on future screenings.