A couple of years ago I stumbled across Miss Representation on Netflix, and after reading the film’s description, I decided to give it a watch. The documentary, which examines how women are represented in the media, is a must see for all. I credit the film for solidifying my interest in studying how representation (or rather misrepresentation or lack there of) in media both reflects and shapes our society.
I’d argue that media has the ability to inform and influence change more than anything in our culture. And because of the impact of images in film and television, media makers have a special responsibility to be conscious of their influence and power.
Now on Netflix is a new documentary from The Representation Project, The Mask You Live In, which analyzes American masculinity and the mounting pressures of manhood. I had the chance to watch this documentary with my boyfriend, and afterwards, as we often do when we watch a film together, we debriefed. It was especially insightful to hear his stories of bullying, the pressure to “be a man”, and the complexity of male relationships. In numerous ways, the documentary helped me understand more about gender as a social construct and the implications these defined gender roles have on structuring sexism.
Next time you’re deciding what to watch on Netflix, I recommend checking out Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In to learn more about gendered socialization, sexism, and the ways in which the media shapes how we see ourselves and others.
Miss Representation (Jennifer Siebel Newsom & Kimberlee Acquaro, 2011)
The Mask You Live In (Jennifer Siebel Newsom, 2015)