Some thoughts in response to watching Miss Representation

Tonight, a student hosted a screening of Miss Representation.

I left my notebook in my car so I ended up taking notes on a note-card. I want to record them more permanently before I lose the note card. 

My one big frustration with the film

Continually, throughout the film, different people talked about "The media" and how we live in a world driven by "The media", as if there is a monolithic entity called "The media". 

Media is a plural noun - the plural of "medium" - we forget this way too often. It's made up of lots and lots of people with lots and lots of goals, many of them competing. When we talk about "the media" it's easy to imagine it as a disembodied demonic force, but what we see on our computers, TVs, phones, magazines, etc. is the result of created by lots of people clustered together and collaborating in lots of ways. 


First of all, a remarkable statistic: the US is ranked 90th in the world for proportion of the legislature that is female. 

  • The film made the interesting leap that a lot of the most interesting and important legislation (especially socially-focused legislation) in the past few years has been spearheaded by women. What's a bit odd about this is that if it's the case, it's presumably the case because women are relatively disempowered, and so bring a perspective on what's important that reflects the experience of the (relatively powerless) majority, rather than the limited experience of the male elite. So, in an equal society, women would not be any better at coming up with legislation than men would be. However, this scenario doesn't look to be anything but hypothetical in the immediate future. 

An idea for an essential question

This one is a bit of a tangent from the film, but I thought "What is a citizen" would be a really interesting question to explore, and you could do a history week about the rights and responsibilities (and self-conceptions) of citizens of different civilizations, which you would (of course) present as a citizen, in costume.