"Miss Representation"- Link and Personal Critique

The film Miss Representation was a pretty powerful documentary and it definitely hit a few nerves in my head. Here is a link to an eight minute trailer of the film. I found a link to the whole movie on youtube - here is the link for those interested!

It hit some personal memories and ways of feeling in my heart that are relevant even now in my life. I think that might say a bit about my insecurities as well. I have always felt - and still do- that my value is pretty much solely in my looks and traditional gender role conformity. Since I do not have the 'looks' I think I should have and I have been fairly unhappy and unsuccessful in my attempts to squash myself into my perceived gender role, I am always trying to make up for that lack by being helpful, generous, and not a burden to those around me. I always subconsciously ask myself if I have done "enough." My answer is always 'no'

"Is it ever going to be enough..."
"When is it ever going to be enough?"

While I do not think that I have ever consciously really asked myself these questions until now, these two questions have continued to pop into my mind over the last few evenings as I head to bed and clear my head for sleep. My last thoughts seem to center on 'being enough'. Whether I developed my lack of self esteem through society or some other path (the perpetual chicken vs egg argument), I am grateful even if a twinge pained to contemplate these thoughts. They will do me good in the long run I suspect.

Learning about media and how it changed how each of us think and how we respond to our environment based on how society and each of use views our culture is pretty powerful, confusing and also a bit depressing. I like to think that I am more than a product of my culture and yet... here I am. I recognize so many of the images they showed on this film even when they were not clearly marked as to where they came from... and I realized I have internalized a lot of the negative messages that the film discussed. I found myself thinking as I watched it of intersectional analysis and how simple I thought the world was when I was a teen when peer pressure and media really did seem to teach me what was important.

Intersectional analysis is such a valuable and important way to look at information because it gives the researcher or interested party a better understanding of the causes, needs, choices, and motives of those being studied.  While simple, looking at pieces of information in small bits doesn't really give us a true and clear image.  A white male moves in his space and makes decisions based not only on color and privilege, but background, environment, family, education, needs and desires, etc...  A female will do the same...  We can not truly separate ourselves from the disparate parts of ourselves that, inadvertently or wonderfully, help us to determine our choices and our life paths.  No matter how much education I get, no matter how well liked I am, I will still find limits to what I can accomplish due to experience biases, gender, environment, etc...  A woman of my age with all similar information who happens to be black has even more limits to struggle against.  To truly understand and try and change a cultural and social problem, if must be truly examined.  For instance, the text mentions how people of different genders and races are more likely to be paid according to these factors and not necessarily on education, experience, etc...  So making a change to standard pay for specific jobs will not really solve the problem even if it appears to temporarily.  Only by understanding the other aspects behind unequal pay and working to change them as well gives us a real shot at true cultural change. Understanding how historical patterns of oppression still live on in our culture today helps us to look at ourselves, our friends and our communities and that steps towards making our communities more equitable are possible for us.  If we cannot recognize how race, gender, sex, etc... create our relationships with ourselves, our families and our communities... we will find ourselves struggling to truly understand what hinders us.  Like the seven blind monks who are touching an elephant and believe that each have something different at hand than the others, the elephant can remain hidden... even when in plain sight.

I highly recommend this documentary. If you have the opportunity, please watch it and report back....

photos from: http://catherineannehawkins.com/good-things-46-miss-representation/, http://juliaview.com/tag/women-in-media/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miss_Representation

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