Friday, December 27, 2013

The Representation Project: A Look at Media Misogyny in 2013

by Nomad

Often advertising images become so much a part of our day to day life that we fail to actually notice how they subtly influence our perceptions. Whether we like it or not, sex sells but the toxic waste of that kind of advertising is the trashing of women. 

Ad Nauseum

But if negative imagery and stereotyping of women (and men, for that matter) originate in advertising, it certainly isn't limited to it. Eventually, the images become so pervasive that the messages become an accepted part of the culture. 
Inevitably, the print media and the airwaves slowly but surely become filled to the brim with garbage. 

In no time at all, we find ourselves watching (and then discussing ad nausea) clips of Miley Cyrus "tweaking" on Robin Thicke- basically what the French call "frottage." Her dancing partner, whose last CD was banned in some quarters for promoting a rape culture, not long ago joked in an interview, "What a pleasure it is to degrade a woman. I've never gotten to do that before." 
Talk about taking the subject seriously.

Although the media itself tries to deny it, its  warped portrayal of women definitely has a trickle-down effect. For example, people like Rush Limbaugh can perpetuate the misrepresentation on his own show by calling any woman who voices her opinions or demands her equal rights "a slut." (This is the guy who has made locker room jokes mainstream. To give but one example, "I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it.” Ain't that funny?)

And what's the worst part? This kind of negative influence shapes the mind of young people. Young women. And, having grown up in the environment, surrounded by it every place they go, these women may unwittingly become participants in their own degradation.

Not everybody is happy to sit back and allow that to occur.

Miss Representation

In 2010, American documentary filmmaker and actress Jennifer Lynn Siebel wrote, directed and produced the film Miss Representation. The film which  deals with the media and its message regarding women. debuted at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival to mostly positive reviews. 

In April of the same year and following the overwhelming public demand for ongoing education and social action, Seibel founded a 501(c)3 non-profit organization called The mission of the organization  is "to highlight and challenge the limiting depictions of women in the media and our larger culture, engaging millions of people along the way."

One of the projects of Miss Representation is The Representation Project' which seeks to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes by the use of documentary film and media content. 

The film above, an example of work of the Representation Project, gives us a peek at how the media dropped the ball when it came to representing women in 2013. 

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