Miss Representation

404px-Miss_Representation_(2011)The third film in the Center for Community Growth’s film series, Miss Representation provided a riveting account of gender bias in the media.  The screening was held on March 29th, to close out a weekend full of Women’s History Month events held by various organizations across Indiana.

Miss Representation challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself. The film will be accompanied by panelist discussion detailing what kind of action we can take as a community to empower the women of our community both in Indiana and nationally. 

IMG_20140329_193041057In keeping with the film’s emphasis on educating young women to be more media-literate, the movie was preceded by a panel of motivational women who work and interact with young men and women daily.  The panel was moderated by IUP Professor of English and Women’s Studies Susan Comfort, and  featured the following participants:

  • Malinda Levis – Director of IUP’s Center for Health and Well-Being
  • Michele Whitman – Girl Scouts of Western PA Membership Manager
  • Pat Heilman – Former IUP APSCUF President and Professor of Journalism
  • Dr. Lingyan Yang –  IUP Professor of English and Women’s Studies

While it was agreed that the movie could have explored other aspects of the feminist movement, it sparked a lot of conversation about the importance of noticing microaggressions that are committed against women daily.  Panelists were able to put a global perspective on the problem, and members of the audience brought up important points about low-income women and their own variety of struggles.

Even if I’m not directly discriminated against, my society, my life, my community suffers whenever inequality is allowed to exist. – Melinda Levis

For more information on how you can work to combat some of the sexism in advertising and media, check out Miss Representation’s website.  They have a plethora of resources, from statistics and infographics to a full curriculum of media literacy training.

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