Saturday, February 19, 2011

Miss Representation "Handout"

Jennifer Siebel Newsome’s documentary, Miss Representation (2011), premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival to sold-out and enthusiastic crowds.  While introducing the film, executive producer Geralyn Dreyfous said that she sees the film picking up where Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Us Softly (1979, 1987, 1999) left off.  Going further than Kilbourne’s examination of the representations of women in advertising, Miss Representation looks at the negative and limited images of smart, strong women produced by mainstream media and the wide spread effects they have, or as Jennifer Pozner, Executive Director of Women in Media and News, said in an interview during the movie,  “The fact that media are so derogatory to the most powerful women in the country, then what does it say about media’s ability to take any woman in America seriously?”  The film’s tagline, Marian Wright Edelman’s quote, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” points to its ultimate goal of opening the eyes of the masses and empowering women to effect change in the images in the media, provide positive role models for future generations, and ultimately the improve the status of women in society.  The film begins with Newsome’s personal story and her explanation of her motivation for making the movie, the discovery that she was pregnant with a daughter.  While we periodically return to this, the film consists mostly of found footage from popular media and interviews with a variety of experts.  The film considers itself a call to action, more than just a tool of awareness.  The film provides a list of ten easy ways the general public can help improve representations of women in media. 
* Since the Sundance Film Festival, the film has been bought by Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network.

Notable Interviewees:
Caroline Heldman (Professor)
Condoleeza Rice (Former United States Secretary of State)
Dianne Feinstein (United States Senator)
Dolores Huerta (Co-Founder of United Farm Workers Union)
Geena Davis (Actress)
Gloria Steinem (Feminist writer)
Jackson Katz (Author)
Jane Fonda (Actress)
Jean Kilbourne (Media Critic/Author)
Jennifer Pozner (Exec. Director o Women in Media and News)
Katie Couric (Broadcast journalist)
Lisa Ling (Broadcast journalist)
M. Gigi Durham (Professor)
Margaret Cho (Comedienne/Actress)
Martha Lauzen (Exec. Director of center for the Study of Women in TV and Film)
Nancy Pelosi (Former Speaker of the House)
Pat Mitchell (President/CEO of The Paley Center for Media)
Rachel Maddow (Broadcast journalist)
Rosario Dawson (Actress)

Links to Film Reviews:
Deseret News:

“Miss Representation Home Page.” Miss Representation. Girl’s Club Entertainment, n.d.
            Web. 19 Feb. 2011. <>


  1. Hopefully this is what you were looking for...

  2. Caitlin--I'm so excited to see this movie; glad you alerted us to the opportunity and appreciate the background work you provide here. As I told Kelly, making it obvious that your content is all from another site early on would make me feel better. It might also be nice to include some of your thoughts (you had some fine critiques). What films seem comparable (Killing us Softly, maybe Celluloid Closet?). See you tonight!


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