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Miss Representation


I know I don’t really need to tell you that the media’s representations of women are grossly distorted at best.  Whether it’s in the tabloids or gossip sites, scripted shows, reality tv, news broadcasts, glossies, dailies, or what have you, we’re constantly bombarded with versions of women who don’t in any way accurately represent our intelligence, emotional capacity, and depth. They’re either botox-ed and brainless or smart old hags, and they are invariably exalted and annihilated at the capricious whims of a bloodthirsty governing body comprised, predominantly, of men. Now I don’t know about you, but we in Glow are sick of people trying to pigeonhole us into any sort of box, especially those that are so insulting. None of us are any one thing, unless we choose to be.

Interestingly, it’s women who are the intended targets of this warped messaging, and we eat it up. I don’t know too many men who waste their time with gossip rags and Real Housewives marathons, and while it’s one thing to indulge in these frivolities when you’re coming from a place of understanding that this is all just a big crock of you-know-what, that’s not the case for a large percentage of consumers.  And sure, we can blame the media for presenting these images all we want, but the bottom line is that there is a demand for them by the general public. They have a market, and they are saturating it.

When I was growing up, I was able to look to women I knew for inspiration- my mother, my grandmothers, aunts and cousins and teachers. I had no need for media-created “role models”, and truth be told, I barely watched TV. But I worry for girls out there that aren’t as lucky as I was. I guess  Jennifer Siebel Newsom has the same concerns, because she has set out on a mission to change the media’s shortsighted  attitude towards women with a new film that premiered at Sundance, Miss Representation.

The summary on just about says it all:

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.”

Newsom (a role model in her own right) assembled a powerhouse team of brilliant and motivated individuals in order to achieve their collective vision, and the film features interviews with a wide range of politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics such as Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem. We at Glow can’t wait to see it, and we hope you’ll join us on:

Thursday, November 17th
for a screening of

Miss Represention

at the Kuumba Library
YWCA Boston
140 Clarendon Street Boston, MA

The film is also being shown on Oprah’s OWN network, and is set to re-air on November 12th at 11AM ET. For more information and to view the trailer visit

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published this page in boston GLOW blog 2011-11-07 12:39:00 -0500