Representation in the media

My friend suggested I watch the documentary ‘Miss Representation’ the other day. Intrigued, I decided to take time out of my busy schedule to watch it.

It is a documentary about how women are presented in all aspects of the media. As a student of Creative Communications, I have learned about all these aspects in school including advertising, public relations, broadcast and print.

As a budding journalist who wants to learn about fair representation, I found the documentary very interesting and worth sharing.

Most of the media sources that they talk about are right-wing American news channels and I already have a problem with those. But I do agree that they tend to have a negative angle on women’s issues instead of representing women as smart intellectual equals.

One of my favourite lines in the movie is when they are talking about how you must be pretty to get an anchor job on the news. This is a subject that we have discussed before in my journalism class which primarily made up of women. We are told that you have to be a strong reporter to be able to get a television job, just like merit should be the way that all jobs are decided.

They talk about what women wear when they are reporting the news. Katie Couric talks about how women look less like business women and more like eye candy. My favourite line is when someone is talking about the split man/women in US news sources:

“the local news anchorships look like the grandfather and his second wife”

It is an interesting look at how the news looks at women. Coming out of watching it, I thought about what our local newscasts look like in Winnipeg. Most of the reporters are women and I have never seen one that looked unprofessional or ‘eye candy’. Even nationally, although Dawna Friesen is beautiful, I have no doubt that she earned herself an anchor position by producing amazing stories.

It makes me happy to know that within our news media, women – just as men – earn their titles with hard work and determination. It makes me proud to live here and perhaps, one day try to join them.

I am glad that I do not read the news sources they are referencing and really do look up to those strong women for their strength and motivation to improve the world.

If you are planning on going into television, it is worth the watch. But be mindful, that it’s not the best produced documentary I have ever seen – and contains so much ‘lip-flap’ that it drove me crazy.

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