Miss Representation: A Screening Worth Seeing

If you’ve recently opened up a magazine, watched TV or surfed the Internet, you’ve seen women all over the place. But have you ever wondered how they’re portrayed in the media?

To explore this question, the on-campus student group Students Against Sexual Assault (SASA) will be screening the documentary “Miss Representation” as part of their monthly “Screen-It” series. The film focuses on bringing attention to the under-representation and skewed portrayal of women in the media. Hannah Pearce, SASA’s president, said the film exposes “how the the media can be a tool of empowerment or a weapon of disparagement for women in America.”

“Miss Representation” was chosen because “the perceptions of gender in our society create a culture in which women are undervalued,” Pearce explained. “Power and control are the most important values, which in turn support violence, particularly sexual violence, in our communities.”

The powerful film features prominent public figures. Recent Convocation speaker Condoleezza Rice makes a cameo in the film, giving testimony to her own experiences with the media. Appearances by other influential women like Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, MSNBC show host and Rhodes Scholar Rachel Maddow, actress and comedian Margaret Cho and journalist Katie Couric make the film worth watching, as they provide personal anecdotes about their time in the public eye.

Blending personal stories with statistics, “Miss Representation” does a good job of balancing both while adding in sometimes shocking examples of women’s under-representation in the media.

The film’s creator, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, narrates several parts of the film. While sometimes her narration feels a bit too melodramatic, ignoring this small flaw is worth it — the well-done production makes the film tight, and never sloppy.

“Miss Representation” will play at the Procrastinator Theater on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 5:30 p.m.  Admission is free for all, and members of SASA will lead an open discussion after the film.