This weekend, we had the opportunity to view the documentary MissRepresentation and have a conversation about gender, sexism, and violence against women both in the United States and other countries around the world.
The film focuses on the (US) media’s limited and often disparaging portrayal of women and girls. It is difficult to watch, but an important film for any future leader to see. We are grateful to Dr. Serena Cosgrove (Seattle University) for her hospitality and for leading us in a conversation about gender roles and violence.
From the MissRepresentation website: “In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader. While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behaviors.”.
We were challenged to engage this material critically and to continue asking questions. The students were able to share their own observations about gender and sexism in the United States and how that is similar or different than in their home countries. Over the next few weeks, the students will be able to discuss the topic further with their mentors.