The significance of the title Miss Representation is multi-faceted. The documentary is about women, hence the Miss, and how they are represented by the media. It is also a play on words making the argument that the media misrepresents women. One example of the way that the media misrepresents women presented in the documentary is how women are often sexualized by the media. Women are often seen as objects that cannot be taken seriously.
Mass media is especially harmful toward women because it constructs negative perceptions of women and reinforces a set of cultural norms for them to fit in society. This paper will address its focus on women and how the tools used by media shaped images of women, how they are represented and how their identity is perceived in society. Media influences their audiences in many ways, one of which is done through advertising. People prefer to believe that they are not being affected by advertisements however “advertising’s influence is quick, it’s cumulative, and for the most part, it’s subconscious” (Killing Us Softly). Advertisements are everywhere, found on televisions, buses, on the sides of buildings, on the Internet and in the magazines we read.
Degradation of Women In Media Today The media has degraded women by portraying them in negative ways. The media has allowed women to be looked at as weak, vulnerable, powerless, sexual beings, and etc.. In our society today perspectives are based off of messages seen in mass media. In the past media was used for supporting and promoting consumerism. Also, in our society today people are allowing the messages of media to influence their judgement and perspectives.
"When women are in the news, their role is often trivialized. World leaders are described in terms of their hats or dress designers" (Benedict, Virgin or Vamp, 1992). Women are portrayed as jealous and insecure, and often neurotic. This type of unrealistic ideal portrayed in the media is being forced upon society today, and is having serious negative effects on the way women are being viewed and treated in society. Most media forms are similar in the portrayal of women (for example, television, magazines, and newspapers), however; the advertising industry takes the stereotype of women to the edge and are branded as being the worst mediums in the portrayal of women.
The title of the documentary is Miss Representation. The title has great significance because it demonstrates that the whole film is going to be about women’s roles in the media and how they are wrongly portrayed in almost every role. Being shown as over sexualized objects rather than humans with brains and demonstrating the lack of representation of women in roles of power. Women’s lack of representation in power and misrepresentation can be shown through the unrealistic beauty women have by looking to the media, the demonstration of women as objects focusing on their sexuality in many advertisements, women in many films who gain power through their femininity and sexuality rather than intelligence, and the prejudice women in roles of power
The wide ranging harmful representations of women have now achieved a new level in popular culture. Every medium (television, movies, magazines, games) has the problems of their own of depicting women. Whereas there are various other issues related to the way women are repented for viewers, for the purposes of this essay it is useful to explore gender stereotypes and negative depiction of women in movies, which also include overly sexualized and unrealistic images in movies. All together these issues shore up the idea of portraying women negatively which results in erroneous representation of women by oneself and cultures as well. Movies are widely viewed medium around the globe and thus, have a huge effect on the way women perceive themselves and how others view them.
Both essays spend much time looking at women and how they are under the constant scrutiny from those around them. What the essays of Sanders and Cunningham illustrate is that, while trying to shake old stereotypes, women find their identities constructed from their external appearance. The problem is and remains that women are complicit in the shallow construction of female identity that trades depth for surface because they have bought into the idea that a woman must trade on her external appearance to succeed in her public life. Women celebrities often remark that the media negatively displays women and sexually objectifies them through many mediums such as film, TV, video games, and advertisements. However, there are many female stars that are willing to pose provocatively for a wide variety of men’s magazines such as Maxim, a European magazine targeted at men.
This problem of internalized sexism continues in our modern society. Prescriptive female stereotypes and assumptions of inferiority are sustained by other women and continue to postpone equality. From patrilineal societies came the creation of social norms for what is accepted and expected in gender roles (David). These ideals have been reinstated in the most familiar creation stories, in government policies throughout history, and are now being continued in camouflaged customs like benevolent sexism. Some women are contributing to the discrimination against themselves and other women.
This essay contends that female stereotyping has been a central theme of the film industry throughout history. Filmmakers create female stereotypes in many ways. According to Marcia, many filmmakers stereotype women’s appearance as more valuable than their intellect (290). Females are also depicted as helpless humans who always need a man’s protection. Additionally, many stereotypes refer to women as domestic beings whose value in life is to marry.
Women are commodified objects of sexuality which gives them power over the men, but men have the ultimate control because the women are using their sexuality to gain acceptance by men. Then both women and men come to value women according to their superficial good looks. This gets repeated again and again in advertisements. Our traditional male-dominated culture has been hegemonically maintained by objectifying women's bodies, especially in advertisements. Sources Cited: http://www.film.queensu.ca/Critical/Bai.html