by Terry Jackson-Mitchell
“Miss Representation” is a 2011 American documentary film written, directed, and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsome. The documentary has blossomed into a non-profit organization “The Rep Project” which is now a social justice movement that started the uncomfortable conversation of the effects of the limited and often disparaging portrayals of women in mainstream media, misogeny, sexism, politics and how it shapes our life in this country.
The film interweaves stories from teenage girls to grown women with provocative interviews from the likes of Condoleeza Rice, Lisa Ling, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Rosario Dawson, Dr. Jason Katz, Dr. Jean Kilbourne and Gloria Steinam to give an inside look at the media and its message. The film’s motto, “You can’t be what you can’t see,” underscores an implicit message that young women need and want positive role models and that the media has thus far neglected its unique opportunity to provide them. The film includes a social action campaign to address change in policy, education and call for socially responsible business.
Oprah purchased the right to premier the documentary on the OWN network for OWNs Documentary Film Club” February 10, 2011.This was a significant victory for the producers of the film and the movement
MissRepresentation.org first emerged on the internet November 2009 with a very basic page illustrating the aspirations of the documentary. But wasn’t updated again until May 11, 2011 with pages for information on screening dates, introductions of the team, requests for donations and “take the pledge”. At that time, TAKE THE PLEDGE became a social action campaign and media organization established to shift people’s consciousness, inspire individual and community action, and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, age or circumstance can fulfill their potential. October 7, 2011 the facebook and blog page appeared on the site.
The “Representation Project” movement uses the power of people to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes with the hope to shift people’s consciousness towards change. Interactive campaigns, strategic partnerships and education initiatives inspire individuals and communities to challenge the status quo and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, or circumstance can fulfill their potential.
There is a team of social media managers that handle the Rep Project newsletter,twitter and facebook page you can pledge to represent the change you want to see for women & girls. Youake action daily and tweet to connect with others by bringing awareness to media or politics that empower or disparage women or girls.
The Rep Project is call-to-action campaign grew out of the film that includes:
1) a Twitter campaign to call out offensive media
2) a crowd-sourced list of media that represent women and girls fairly
3) a virtual internship program to recruit representatives
4) guides for media representation conversation starters
5) guides for electing females for political office
6) weekly action alerts
7) gender equality principles
8) tools for action
I believe this documentary helped our country gain more women in the house and the senate. The uncomfortable conversations brought about from this documentary motivated me to go back to college and pursue becoming a social justice artist. My life changed dramatically from this empowering documentary. It is a life changing documentary. I have bought several copies of the film and distributed them to several women and girl juvenile justice programs in Salt Lake County.
Outstanding Documentary at the Gracie Allen Awards”
2011 Sundance Official Selection
Audience Award – Palo Alto Film Festival
Movies Matter Award – Maui Film Festival
Audience Award – Sonoma Film Festival
Based in San Francisco
By Terry Jackson-Mitchell