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General Articles

GenderHopes - Premiere of Miss Representation

Film exposes stereotyping of girls and women

The venue for the screening of the documentary film Miss Representation was the Star Deck (Stars 'n' Bars) in Monaco which is owned by Kate Powers. The evening was organized by GenderHopes presided by Vibeke Brask Thomsen, a Monaco-based association working to end gender-based violence and discrimination.

The film Miss Representation was written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an American documentary and filmmaker, who then founded MissRepresentation.org in 2011, that later became The Representation Project. The movie premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival.

The documentary lays bare how the media contributes to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The movie questions the media’s limitations and stereotyping of women and girls, which hamper women to attain positions of leadership and for the common woman to feel powerful.

Miss Representation 8 min. Trailer from The Representation Project on Vimeo.

The Representation Project is a movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and 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, sexual orientation or circumstance can fulfill their potential.

The audience at the premiere on Monday was made up mostly of women, but luckily we were joined by a few good men! It is imperative for women to see the movie to understand the situation, but it is of utmost importance for men to see it to understand the situation and unite with women in the quest for gender equality.  Charlotte Pirroni from Roquebrune, recently elected Miss Cote d’Azur and who will compete for Miss France in December, was keen in watching the movie as she is very interested in this subject. In talking to Charlotte she agreed that women in her position, who are given the possibility to take the stage and express their views have the chance and responsibility to foster gender equality and justice. Charlotte is certainly beautiful inside out!

Jennifer Newsom firmly believes that creating awareness about gender injustices that so limit girls and women in our culture was only half the truth, so she embarked on other films like The Mask you live in, dealing with boys and men stereotypes. Their mission is everybody working together, girls and boys, women and men, to ensure equality and justice for all. GenderHopes will be arranging the viewing of this movie in the near future.

Some interesting facts on media gender bias

The media is selling young people the idea that women and girls’ values lies in their youth, beauty and sexuality and not in their capacity as a leader. Boys learn that their success is connected to violent and domineering acts. A core message of this film is the importance of diversity!

  • In 2011, only 11% of lead characters in films were female.
  • Between 1937 and 2005, there were only 13 female lead characters in animated films. All of them except one had the aspiration of finding romance.
  • There are 33 countries that have had a female president. As of 2012, there are 20 female word leaders currently in power. There are 196 countries in the world.
  • In 2014, across Europe, women hold only 24.8% of seats in National Parliaments.
  • 1 in 6 women are survivors of rape or attempted rape.
  • About 25% of girls will experience teen dating violence.
  • 53% of 13-year-old girls are unhappy with their bodies. That number increases to 78% by age 17.
  • Studies estimate that 13% to 25% of youth have some history of self-injury, such as cutting, and most studies show that cutting is more common with girls.
  • Rates of depression among women and young girls have doubled in the past ten years.
  • The number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on youth 18 or younger more than tripled from 1997 to 2007.

For more information about GenderHopes go to www.genderhopes.org

Photos by Celina Lafuente de Lavotha - Monaco Reporter

Monday, 13 October 2014    Section: General Articles    Author: Celina Lafuente de Lavotha
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