Sunday, January 08, 2012

Do You See What You are Looking At?

Last night, Jason got an assignment and I was allowed to tag along. I earned my ticket price by acting as a human light stand for a little while, so it's all cool.
We went to see a screening of a documentary that is beginning to make a splash and SHOULD be making a tsunami.

The title is Miss Representation.

Here is a trailer:

If you can watch the entire documentary, please, please do. Pay particular attention to how women of power are treated in the media. The film makers also most excellently draw the lines from deregulation of the air waves in the 80's and 90's to the explosion of political opinion as news that we see today on all sides of the spectrum.

One illustration that stood out to me was a print article in which a female legislator had "complained that", but a male counterpart had "stated that".

There was a good crowd there and a lively panel discussion with much input from the audience. I wanted to say something but didn't because, believe it or not, I am extremely shy in crowd situations. But the question was, what do we do from here? We've seen these things, now what do we do?

And I wanted to say, "Tell other people. Because once you see something, once you know something, it is very hard to unsee, unknow it. You can go into a state of denial, but the tension will always be there. Once you know how you are being manipulated and lied to, it will begin to lose its power."

I will add to that, don't buy that magazine. Don't watch that tv show. It only takes a quick search to find an email address and shoot off an email to a network to express why you will no longer watch their product, much less time than it will take to watch the show, I am sure. When you pull up your favorite news site, don't click on the celebrity news story. Don't click on the obviously made up for sensationalism story.

It isn't exactly true that the media is only giving us what we want. They are giving us what makes them the most money. So take your money away from them and they will have to find new things to give us.

Watch the documentary with everyone you know. Talk about. Find examples in your everyday media consumption and ask yourself, why? Why did they use that word? Why is the woman dressed like that and the man is in a business suit? Why?

And, here is my little pet peeve. I cringe at the word feminist sometimes because it is so easily manipulated into something ugly. I was very happy with the number of men in the audience last night because this isn't only about women. Men are affected by this also. It's a human problem when half of the population is not allowed to reach full potential.

The boyz say: But what about the negative portrayal of cats and cat people in the media?

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