Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the director of the documentary Miss Representation which details how women are belittled in the media to the detriment of children, stopped by ABC this week to discuss the articulate kids in her film. In case you didn’t catch the film on OWN last month, Jennifer found some extremely perceptive children and teens to convey just how the 24/7 sexualization and degradation of women makes them feel — and it’s far from good.
Even if you manage to keep reality TV off in your house, children of both genders are learning to devalue the accomplishments of their female leaders because the mainstream media glorifies those who aren’t particularly doing anything — I’m looking at you Kim Kardashian. And while famous simply for being famous Kim drowns in press regarding her divorce and wedding, Miss Representation notes that Nancy Pelosi appeared on the cover of no national magazines in her entire four year stint as House Speaker. By contrast, John Boehner appeared on five covers in his first four weeks in office.
The most glorified women are nearly always the most awful, as Jennifer cites Kim herself and the cast members of Jersey Shore as examples. She observed:
“The media is celebrating role models that are not healthy in particular for young people…Really, we should be celebrating women who have done great things.”
She also adds that kids are visibly “frustrated” by this “mean girl culture,” as numbers do indicate that particularly young girls are aware that women are often pitted against each other for the sake of entertainment. But the stereotypes that these children are absorbing are real, and just because they acknowledge the rather bombastic elements of the Real Housewives doesn’t mean they aren’t being impacted by them all the same.
You can catch Miss Representation again on OWN on November 12th.