A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this documentary offers a powerful, uncompromising look at how the media trivializes and sexualizes women. It's informative and enlightening and will be a total eye-opener for girls and their mothers. And it could move teens -- both girls and boys -- to re-examine how they absorb the images presented to them. Expect some strong language describing women (including one use of "f--k"), and photos and clips presenting women in sexual (or sexualized) situations, all of which are used to help drive home the movie's message. Note: Common Sense Media's founder/CEO, Jim Steyer, is one of the movie's interviewees.
What's the story?
This documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom examines how women are misrepresented -- hence the title -- by the media day in and day out. Drowning in misleading images of women that portray them as valuable primarily for their looks and youth, the film suggests that today’s teens may be growing up with a skewed perspective, one that undermines their intelligence and substantive accomplishments. Grounded in Siebel Newsom’s own personal experiences, as well as those of others -- young and old, famous and not-so-famous -- MISS REPRESENTATION invites viewers to examine gender bias in what we see, hear, and view at the movies, on TV, and on the Internet.
Is it any good?
Bravo to Miss Representation for calling into question the way the media -- TV, movies, the Internet -- trivializes women and paints them in subtle and not-so-subtle ways as sex objects. It’s fascinating -- and, honestly, disheartening -- hearing actresses like Daphne Zuniga discuss the pressure to look younger through Botox and plastic surgery, and Jane Fonda talk about getting the message that she’s not good enough.
We rarely get such candor, and what the interviewees say will really make you think (for example, one commentator wittily describes morning talk show pairings as grandfather types and their second wives). And it's discomfiting to hear and see clips of admirable, accomplished women being disparaged, usually by men, for how they look. (One radio host calls former Secretary of State Madeline Albright a "fat hag"!) That said, what's revealed here isn't exactly new. Plus, the connections that the film makes by pairing interviews with statistics sometimes seem overemphasized, the dots too neatly connected. Nevertheless, Miss Representation is an absorbing, if sometimes dispiriting, film to watch. Show it to your girls -- and your boys.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how the media shapes our views of women. What messages do you see on TV, in movies, and on the web?
How do you think the media's many images of scantily clad women affect the way that young women learn to view themselves?
How do you think the ways women are presented in the media has changed in the past several decades?
For kids who love strong female characters
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.