GIRL SPRING INSPIRES ALABAMA’S YOUNG WOMEN TO RISE ABOVE GIRLS ON FILM
The right to vote, equality in the work place, political power, wearing pants without being scolded…the achievements of women over the last century are innumerable. So why are women still portraying us in the media as vain, self-serving misfits just looking to find the perfect husband and wedding dress while remaining wrinkle free with perfectly polished locks? Lori Lasseter speaks out about the documentary Miss Representation that was co-sponsored by Girl Spring, a group hoping to help influence the way girls and young women in Alabama see themselves by empowering them, inspiring them, and educating them. More information on this group can be found on the Girl Spring website, www.GIRLSPRING.com.
“You can’t be what you can’t see.” This quote from Marian Wright Edelman, president and founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, is the motto of Miss Representation, a documentary film made by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, wife of California lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom. A screening of this film was held at The Edge Theater in Crestwood on February 15th , 16th , and 19th , co-sponsored by Leading Edge Institute and Girl Spring, Inc.
This 90-minute film, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011, demonstrates how “mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America,” by providing statistics and facts as well as stories from teenage girls and interviews with Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Gloria Steinem, Jackson Katz, Rosario Dawson, Condoleezza Rice, Lisa Ling, Jane Fonda, Margaret Cho, and Jim Steyer, the CEO of Common Sense Media, among others.
As if the portrayal of women on reality shows clad in bikinis and doing nothing but spitting at and fighting with each other over the affections of one man isn’t ugly enough, the film shows a clip of a female journalist saying, “You all saw the photo of Hilary over the weekend looking so haggard and looking like, 92 years old.” One of the statistics shared in the film is that women make up 51 percent of the population but only make up 17 percent of Congress. In a society where women who are members of the media verbally insult women in politics based solely on their looks instead of focusing on the actions they take during the course of their political career, it is no wonder that women are underrepresented in Congress. How can we expect more women to get elected to Congress when society’s attitudes toward women, so glaringly exposed in the media, are centered mainly on their youth and beauty? Jane Fonda said in the film, “media creates consciousness.”
The film Miss Representation will air October 20, 2012, on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. More information on the film can be found at www.missrepresentation.org, where you can find a screening, learn more about how to host a screening, donate, take action, or take the pledge to “spread the film’s message and challenge the media’s limiting portrayal of women and girls.”