Opinion | Sexuality

'Miss Representation': How the Media Harms Both Women and Men

America's mainstream media plays a key role in women's under-representation in power and influence.

It's generally accepted (though not always acknowledged) that women are poorly portrayed in media. Filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom is particularly aware of this; when she first started pursuing an acting career at 28, an agent told her to lie about her age and keep her Stanford MBA off her resume. And as an adolescent, Newsom struggled with self-esteem issues and an eating disorder. Thus, when she became pregnant with a daughter, she began to wonder what pressures her child would face from the media as she grew up.

The result is Newsom's first documentary, Miss Representation. The film's premise is simple enough: How does the media's presentation of women affect women's representation (or, in many cases, under-representation) in positions of influence and power in America?

The short answer: Poorly.

Now, Newsom never discounts or denies the many advances American women have made in business and politics over the last century. But there is the underlying sense that women are currently in a ...

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