Sunday, January 29, 2012

Representing Women in the Political World

When I first walked into the viewing of MissRepresentation I expected the documentary to follow along the same lines as videos such as Jean Kilbourne's Still Killing Us Softly and Slim Hopes, both documentaries on the portrayal of women in advertising and other media. Instead, the focus on the image of women in politics was a refreshing change. The documentary points out that not only are there a lack of women in politics, but that when compared to men in politics women are held at a much more difficult standard and not taken as seriously as men.Their outfits and personal lives, something that doesn’t happen to men as much, overshadow women’s political achievements. It would be highly doubtful that newscasters would mention if Obama's tie didn't match his suit, but more so if Hillary Clinton's hem line was "too short." One of the most disappointing facts the movie points out is that when Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House, she wasn't on a single magazine cover, but when her male equal was elected, he was on five covers. This documentary made me realize how underrepresented women are in politics, and that even when represented are done in a demeaning manner, such as when just their outfits are critiqued or their style is considered "mothering." Instead of recognizing women's achievements or contributions as women, we should instead focus on women's achievements as just achievements, not coming from a gendered outlook. Instead of weighing men and women against each other, we should only see how they contribute to bettering America, which would cancel out any prejudices. Media's portrayal of the political lives of men and women prevents this, but as more and more women enter the political world, it gives hopes to new generations and the their representation as a whole.

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