These are the young women we meet in Miss Representation—a haunting new documentary, from first-time filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom, about girls’ body image, self-confidence and leadership aspirations, and how they are intertwined with the way women are portrayed on television and in media. Making its debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network this Thursday, the film tackles Hollywood, TV news, advertising, politics—all against a backdrop of the young women who consume all of it.
Juxtaposing images of cat-fighting reality television stars with women’s-rights leaders; lip-plumped Housewives with “in” political leaders—and peppered with powerful interviews with Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, Nancy Pelosi, Jane Fonda, Gloria Steinem, and a dozen other women—Miss Representation makes the case clear: “We are teaching young women that their worth lies in their youth, their beauty and their sexuality,” says Newsom. “Not in their capacity to lead.” Ultimately, she says, the gap between women in media and women in real life is huge, and growing.
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