Intrigued with the idea that “you can’t be, what you can’t see,” more than 500 moms, dads, business leaders, students, educators and community supporters gathered on First Friday to experience the Lancaster debut of the film Miss Representation. Designed to provoke discussion about the roles of women and men in our society, the documentary explores how the media’s representation of women affects their role in positions of power and influence.
The bold film that first aired at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival promotes dramatic statistics about how mainstream media influences our culture. It asserts that the cause – things like women grossly underrepresented in top media, entertainment and political positions – is creating detrimental effects. The film highlights data about ambition like, “at a young age, an equal number of boys and girls want to be president. But by age 15, many more boys want to be president than girls.” And about doubt and self-perception, “Depression rates among females have doubled in 10 years,” and “65 percent of American women and girls have an eating disorder.”
The film did its job. It made the crowd think. The post-screening lobby of the Ware Center was buzzing with conversation and a board quickly filling with sticky notes proclaiming action. My 12-year-old daughter texted her dad who was out of town that she felt “empowered.” Our 13-year old friend declared to her mom that “being President is back on my list.”
That’s where the opportunity lies: the possibility, followed by the action.
What’s next? As a community, we are getting better at challenging ourselves with new ideas. Now we need to move them forward. How can we help people “see” a different future, so that we can “be” a stronger community? We want to hear from you.
Check out the Miss Representation trailer and let us know what you think.
We’re proud to partner on this project with other organizations helping take action for Lancaster. Thank you to Girls on the Run for bringing this to Lancaster,and to Millersville University, YWCA and Fig, all for their work creating our extraordinary community.