Miss Representation: The Battle Between Being a Mother or a Sex Symbol

The documentary, Miss Representation, was the film I didn’t know I needed.

As a woman, there are many concerns and obstacles we face in an unnerving list of situations. [We] face difficulties at work, on the street, at home, and, most overtly, the media.

Produced in 2011, Miss Representation echoes the sentiments of American women. Despite the year being 2011, conditions for women have remained nearly stagnant since the 1960s. It’s worth noting that, indeed, there was a boom in women joining the workforce in mass numbers since the 1960s feminist movement… however, the beliefs surrounding this remain the same.

Women, having the power of obtaining a brain and a womb, seem to only be seen as one of two things: sex symbols or mothers. However, the preconceived notion of women is moot.

The film demonstrates modern examples of how the media has hyper-sexualized women, altering society’s expectations. Furthermore, it’s rejected women as something other than sex symbols, leading us to face a conundrum: sex symbol or perfect mother? All of this boils down to mere biology. But, it’s not often that our intelligence is factored into that equation.

We can easily name Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Megan Fox, Jessica Simpson, Kate Upton, and any one of the Jenner/Kardashians. Although each has their own merit, their sensuality seems to be the backbone of their success.

However, how many of us can name Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or Kamala Harris? How many of us can name those without calling them anything along the lines of “feminazi”? Perhaps, only a handful.

As someone who wants to work in media, I know one thing: the media only cares about consumerism. Although journalism is a noble job, it still focuses on who’s reading what mentality. That’s why there’s such thing as “fluff”.

Therefore, the media –frankly– doesn’t care about the societal impact they have as long as their impact remains standing for years to come. What we read, watch, or listen to, affects our daily lives as people and furthermore, as a society. That’s unfathomable.

If the media would remove their capitalist tendencies and focus on how they affect societal views towards women, they’d become more powerful than they are now. Of course, with anything revolutionary, there’s a period of rejection. But, now with the influx of outlets, the time couldn’t have been better. It’s time to support women. It’s time to value women. It’s time to recognize women as something other than walking a walking uterus with a dash of sex appeal; the media can be a head start.

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