The media has become inevitable in today’s world. It thus plays a significant role in influencing how young and adult people alike think, behave, present, and view themselves in society. The film “Miss Representation” examines the media’s limited depiction of what it means to be a strong woman in America, as well as the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence. This media misrepresentation of women has had a significant impact on not only American women but also women worldwide. The media’s relentless exploitation and objectification of women based on their appearance and sexiness make it almost impossible for their dreams of achieving leadership roles or feeling powerful. The film discusses several ways in which the girls and women have been misrepresented and underrepresented, and some ethical issues that emerge due to this misrepresentation of girls and women.
First, the presentation of girls and women in the media as sexual objects discredits them and this has made several women and girls hate their appearances. The statistics given in the film is that 53% of the teenage girls are not happy with their bodies and this rises to 78% by the time they hit seventeen years. The film argues that, the media has implied to women that looks are more important than brains and so these women spend most of their time trying to achieve the looks that has been set and defined to them by the media. As a result, the film continues, these women would rather spend all their cash in purchasing beauty products and making themselves sexually appealing, as the media expects them to, than investing in their education. The film states that, most females (65%), have even developed some eating disorders in trying to make themselves nice-looking. What is more, these women spend most of their time foraging the media for information on how to look attractive and this leaves them with less or no time to think about or focus on their education, careers and other important things in their lives. Beauty has become their priority.
Consequently, depression has increased in women and this makes it hard for them to achieve their leadership roles, and even when they do, the media still degrades them by using emotional and physical descriptions to depict them rather than their achievements and leadership qualities. They use such words as ‘ball-breakers’, ‘too aggressive’, ‘very fat’, ‘excessively thin’, ‘too short’ and all manner of discouraging descriptions and undesirable verbs. This stereotyping of women based on certain implied perfections have discouraged most women in holding high ranking positions. Only a few women in the world have managed to hold powerful political positions such as the presidency and prime minister. America, the film notes, is not among the few countries who have had women as leaders in the powerful political ranks despite the fact that females consist the majority of the population.
Generally, the media has done very little in empowering women. The media needs to portray women better other than stereotyping them. They need to portray positive images and successful role models of women. They should not portray women as sexual objects as this ruins the determination and ambition of young women as they think that their success and worth is tied to their beauty and not their brains. They need to find healthy ways of depicting women and girls and encourage them in their aspirations. They need to value and dignify girls and women. This would go a long way in empowering the girls and women and giving them self-assurance that they too can take on any demanding tasks, become leaders and achieve their dreams. In short, media content on girls and women should be regulated.