Three divisions of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are co-sponsoring a showing of the documentary “Miss Representation” at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Nebraska Union.
The movie will be part of an event called “Back to School: The Education of Girls and Women in an Era of Miss Representation” put on by the Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education, the College of Education and Human Sciences, and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program.
The documentary, directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, discusses the presentation of women in mass media. The film brings to light how women in society are typically valued more for their beauty, looks and youth rather than their intellectual capabilities or their ability to take command. The movie reviews the life of several young women, as well as politicians, actors, journalists, academics and activists such as Margaret Cho, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem, as well as presenting facts and statistics to review women’s position in modern society.
“It’s discussing a very important topic, which is, ‘How do we model competence for young women?’” said Beth Doll, associate dean of Academic Affairs. “And part of that question is, where do they encounter competent women? Do they see themselves as a woman, as a young woman, being able to move into those kinds of careers and have that kind of life for themselves?”
A panel discussion will follow the documentary focusing on the connection between mainstream media’s representation of women and girls, as well the connection between education and what the community can do to close the gap between men and women. The panel will be made up of Doll, Alice Kang, an assistant political science professor, and John Raible, an associate professor in the teaching college.
“I am actually a geologist by training,” said Elizabeth Lewis, an assistant professor in the teaching department. “And then I taught high school science, and it’s been an interesting position for me in a field where there weren’t as many women. One of the things we’re working on is trying to close the gap between the numbers of men and numbers of women in math, science, technology and education.”
“Miss Representation” originally broadcasted on the OWN television network on Oct. 10, 2011. Newsom, an actress, filmmaker and advocate for women, has also worked on the movie “The Invisible War,” which exposed the epidemic of rape in the United States Military and is currently working on a new film called “The Mask You Live In,” which focuses on the way masculinity is viewed in society. University Program Council originally showed “Miss Representation” last year on March 14 at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center.