Mistress and I went to a showing of the documentary Miss Representation in Hartford this past Wednesday. Granted, there were other places I would have rather been, like The Beijing Museum of Tap Water, or Donner Pass during storm season, or Hell, but the woman has me wrapped around her finger, so there you go. In the interest of continued peaceful cohabitation, I agreed to accompany her, and to do so with an open mind.
The movie was good. Miss Representation raises several excellent points, and promotes discussion about some truly important issues. It introduces the idea of, and need for media literacy, a suprisingly under-developed skill set for most people. If you are unfamiliar with the term, do yourself a favor and look it up. Figure out what it is, and then apply it. If you’re a woman, watch the documentary. I’ll give you a brief 3 part synopsis of the film, but you’re probably not going to like it.
1: The movie states that we are constantly bombarded with images of unattainable beauty, causing women to feel inferior and insecure.
This is so true, and just isn’t fair. You shouldn’t have to see beautiful people. You should totally move somewhere where the media doesn’t do horrible things like that. Like Afghanistan. The media there would never do something so horrible as show an image of a sexy woman, and make you feel bad about yourself! Women in Afghanistan must have it so easy. They’re probably happy all the time.
Sadly, not too many American women have the good luck of being able to flee to Afghanistan, or a similar bastion of liberation and women’s rights, and they’re stuck here in the horrible United States, where life is so tough and every day is simply a struggle to survive. I suppose in that case, they really have no choice but to soldier on, and try their best to come to terms with the fact that somebody, somewhere, is prettier than them, and that they just might have to see that person if they turn on the TV.
It’s rough, I know. Everybody everywhere should be worse than you in every way so that you never feel bad about yourself ever. OR, I guess you could maybe…feel bad…and then do something about it…and then feel better. Are unattainable goals really a bad thing? If you’re striving for the impossible, surely you’ll achieve some sort of progress along the way, right? If you’ve bettered yourself, you’ve bettered yourself, and that can’t be all bad.
If you can’t be the pretty girl, be somebody else. Be the smart girl. Be the funny girl. Be the girl that cures cancer. Be the best at SOMETHING, and I’ll bet you’ll be feeling pretty damn good about yourself, double chin and club foot notwithstanding. You want some self-esteem? Earn it.
2: The movie correctly identifies certain disparities, discrepancies, and double standards between men and women. Basically, men have the power, and women are constantly over-criticized, marginalized, subdued, held back, and generally taken advantage of. The movie blames modern media for this phenomenon.
I call bullshit. Media truly does suck, but I don’t think it’s a problem creator. It’s a problem reflector. Women have gotten the short end of the fairness and equality stick since long before cable television. I only checked the history books briefly, but i’m fairly certain that these problems existed since oh…..forever. Bitches been getting beaten and raped since Crog and Ogg back in clan of the cave bear times. We didn’t need MTV jams to learn how to objectify women. We could do that just fine on our own. Oh, but all the sex and violence in the media, it’s not natural, it’s a recent cultural phenomenon. It is? So then people definitely never gathered in excitement to watch witch trials, or criminal excecutions, or gladiatorial games. No, all of our ancestors were peaceful saintlike creatures. Pay attention now. I’m not saying there is no problem. There is a huge problem. I’m just saying the problem isn’t NEW.
3: Finally, the movie makes the dire warning that we are no longer moving forward. We aren’t progressing. The women’s rights movement has stalled.
Based off of what? Life is not, never was, and never will be perfect, but I still think we’re moving in the right direction. We don’t have a woman president yet, but I know we’re a hell of a lot closer than we were 20, 50, or 200 years ago. My great grandmother, bless her soul, was an uneducated breeding machine who birthed out 17 babies and never left the farm. Just three generations later, my twin sister is a PHD candidate in materials engineering, and a well respected researcher in a traditionally male dominated field. You tell me that we’re no longer progressing? I respectfully disagree.
Now get back into the kitchen and make me a sandwich.