Troy University Women’s Initiative played “Miss Representation,” a documentary by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. The film is about misogyny and sexism in American society and media.
The 1.5-hour movie screening, Oct. 5 in Patterson Hall, was followed by a discussion led by Beverly Leach, a lecturer of art and design and faculty adviser to Women’s Initiative, a group that exists to facilitate discussion about women’s issues.
The film discussed the objectification of women in media with a special focus on the media’s portrayal of women in positions of leadership. The film included numerous short interviews of female politicians, including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
The movie also explored gender norms of masculinity, which men are expected to conform to. After the screening, issues of gender norms and vices in the advertising industry were discussed along with ways of generating awareness regarding these issues.
Leach said that the movie was not just about what women wear and how they are sexualized. She said it is also about how individuals can be smart consumers and control what is being fed to them.
“Men don’t have to be macho,” Leach said. “They can be all those things we are as people.”
According to Leach, men need to be able to express themselves in healthier ways.
“I am excited that Troy is exploring the possibility of a gender studies minor,” Leach said, referring to the prospective study program. “I think courses like this would help make students more aware of existing issues of gender and help put them into a cultural context.”
Twenty-eight students were in attendance for the Women’s Initiative event.
“Women’s Initiative is an organization which organizes movie screenings and similar events that facilitate discussions to make people think about issues that women go through,” said Khaila Kennedy, the vice president of Women’s Initiative and a sophomore computer science major from Birmingham.
“Our next movie screening is on the 12th of November, and it is about crisis pregnancy centers which are set up near pregnancy clinics that try to talk women out of abortion.”
She said that both men and women are welcome to come to Women’s Initiative events, listen to the discussions and share their thoughts.
“One thing I really appreciated about the movie was that it was very clear about the fact that feminism is not ‘man-hating,’ but the idea that we should all be equal,” said Quinton Mims, a sophomore interpreter training major from Jemison. “I know many people that immediately dismiss feminism as a false claim with no evidence, but the movie had statistics — all the numbers and evidence to validate their claims.”
Women’s Initiative meets every Thursday evening in Patterson 202.