Rather than entertaining the society, movies play other essential roles in the community such as informing and educating. In most cases, the content of a film directly or indirectly affects society. The content of a film is what is happening in the nation (issues affecting community) and the manner in which the movie presents such problems can determine the perception of the society towards social, racial and gender issues. Consumers of media content should be aware of the negative issues portrayed in movies.
Miss Representation is an American documentary written and produced by Jennifer S. Newsom in 2011. The film reveals the manner and ways in which the mainstream media has paid hand in the continuing epidemic of misrepresentation and underrepresentation of women in the society as a daily target of stereotyping, discrimination and the worst of all victims of violence. As per the film women, negative images are portrayed in screens to corner them into inferiority in comparison with men.
By watching the film, you realize that women are misrepresented and underrepresented by media as voiceless in the modern society. Continuous exposition of their body together with its parts which hurts them by the mainstream media signals to the community that women are not whole and their complexity does not matter. The film paints open up that mainstream media has misrepresented the women as a victim of violence. The continuous dehumanization existing every day in the mainstream media advertising is changing women to a tool and into other things marking the first attempt in justifying violence against woman. In the film, Jenifer gives in to gender inequality channelled by mainstream media advertisements as a tool to down women. She says that no matter how much a woman contributes to a nation either socially or politically, that does not matter in the society as her values are depended on how she looks (1:58).
According to the film, screens have misinformed the American society by presenting man as the most powerful. Such misrepresentation and underrepresentation have created intimidation as women are poorly treated in line to media image that reflects them as powerless in the society. She says that the media image of a woman in the United States has the power to change the attitude and influence the opinion of the public. Jane Fonda in the film stated, “media build consciousness and what it portrays to the public on screens creates our consciousness determining how we will not make any progress” (3:14) one of crucial aspect that comes out from Jan’s statement is that men in the United States have been defining, and misrepresenting women. Despite the fact that women make the largest percentage of the U.S population, few women have come out to participate in writing, producing directing or representatives in Congress. My argument here is that despite the image of a woman in the united states being misrepresented and underrepresented, women as a minority group in the United States have attained a couple of rights and privileges no progress has been achieved. In the film, the image changed, but women still face gender inequality. The film communicates that radically adjusting the position of a woman from the screens to the back of the camera thus letting men dominate the media image thus changing the perspective of the audience and controlling them. In the film, the idea of a woman being portrayed negatively is rooted in gender stereotypes that credit anything associated with masculinity and look down upon anything linked to femininity.
The media image as per the film has contributed to harassment, discrimination, and marginalization of women. The images of a violent, aggressive and unstable woman in the mainstream media are results of silencing the race of women in the United States history. The contrary exposition of images of violent women in the screens plays more significant psychological impacts to the teenage girl consuming the media content being termed as intimidation, harassment and an unfair treat to women advocated by the media.
Misrepresentation and underrepresentation of women and girls in the mainstream media has led to a moral dilemma. The fact that females in the film are presented by mainstream media as individuals who treasure lies, beauty and sexuality misleads the teenage girls consuming the documentary “miss representation” to alter their behaviour to align with those depicted. Such media content confuses the gender of woman terming it as the right woman which instead may lead to sexual harassment. With the gender segregation in the movie, girls end up losing their focusing in education and leadership. They end up building strengths in what the image media term as good. Evident in Miss Representation film (1:07:46) due to advancement in the technology with the application of Photoshop among other devices, women are feeling high about how they look, and this has cost destruction and psychological imbalance. With such social expectations, poor self-esteem among other disorders that teenagers suffer from, history of their discrimination and marginalization build more pressure to the girl child compared to the male child whose image is positive credited by the mainstream media.
The film digs out that media expectations from girls as unfair. The message by the media that women are aspects of beauty and sex contrary to boys whose success is based on power, education, and aggression lead to gender discrimination. The girl of the media is thought as immoral being spoiled in the society. Such misinforming role played by the media to the community has doomed the pride of a woman. The film miss representation clears out that media value of a woman is dehumanizing and causes immense psychological harm as it only boosts the negative image of a woman in the society. The film blames the media as a diminishing gender inequality factor and tool downing esteem dignity of women. As per the film, media does not work to empower woman but works every day to maintain the inferiority of woman causing emotional harm and distress to a woman.
In conclusion, the fact that media finds a woman as the suitable media images, it should work to empower them by giving them different roles to play be it in films or advertising.