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It’s those millions of TV viewers, magazine subscribers, and web surfers everyday that are subjected to the exploitation of women. It’s right under our noses, and yet we fail to think twice about it. The media makes sure that the messages conveyed in advertisements follow us everywhere. They stare down at us from the massive billboard for the new clothing line or the catalog from the local mall’s department store. They are in the inevitable pre-video ads that automatically load whenever we attempt to watch Youtube. There are even advertisements in iPhone apps. Like it or not, our brains subconsciously remember the repeated messages that the media gives us, which is the ultimate goal of marketing companies, and it’s what makes the media so dangerous to society.
Armed with a goal to create awareness around the issue of realistic representation of women in the media, San Diego-based nonprofit, Outside the Lens (OTL), is hosting a film screening of the poignant documentary, Miss Representation. In bringing Miss Representation to San Diego, OTL will be reiterating their similar mission to engage, educate, and empower youth. OTL teaches youth to use media as a tool to create change.
Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, the documentary Miss Representation delves into why the media sends us the messages it does, and how we, as a society, have reacted to it. Including many interviews with famous women in the media like Condoleezza Rice, Katie Couric, and Lisa Ling, it explains why our society has been so wrapped around commericial, a result of a mass-media stress on beauty and looks. “A lot of advertising is based on making people feel anxious,” says Jean Kilbourne in the film, “and insecure.” In the end, it’s a cycle—the media sends messages to the public, and the public responds exactly the way the media wants, by buying their product and fueling the company for future advertisements. “The documentary takes a closer look why the media is so effective by interviewing teens and also influential women in positions of power.
So how does the film’s main message: “You can’t be what you can’t see” tie in to all of this? The documentary explains how young women of our society need good role models, but they end up turning to the media’s poor representation through television icons like “Snooki” and Kim Kardashian. It’s just another step in the vicious cycle of how the media “misrepresents” women. OTL hopes Miss Representation will call upon local youth to speak out against limiting labels and stereotypes presented by the media in hopes of creating a positive change for the future.
The film Miss Representation will be screened at La Jolla’s Museum of Contemporary Art on Friday, February 10th. The event is co-hosted by Outside the Lens, Junior League of San Diego and Girl Scouts. In addition to the film, there will be five distinguished panelists that will lead the after-film discussion. Tickets are $15 at the door (6:00 PM) and $10 for presale www.outsidethelens.org. Doors open at 6:00 PM. The film starts at 6:30 PM and panel discussion is from 8:00-9:00 PM.
Name: Morgan Chen, 858Teen Contributor and Member of Outside the Lens
School: The Bishop’s School in La Jolla
Fun Facts: She has written two articles for literary magazine, Teen Ink, and has published some poems in youth anthologies. She describes herself as a “storyteller” because she loves creating and telling stories.
Favorites: She loves books and is a die-hard fan of Harry Potter (she is the head of the Harry Potter Club at her school). Her favorite band is Panic! At the Disco and she loves watching Glee. She’s a theatre geek as well, and she hopes to one day see all of her favorite actors on Broadway.
Interests: Besides writing and reading, Morgan enjoys music and plays the piano and the guitar. Her favorite band is Panic! At the Disco and she loves watching Glee. She’s a theatre geek as well, and . In her spare time she likes to learn photography.