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Miss Representation focuses on how females are undermined by the use of conflict theory and gender socialization. Conflict theory is known for the ruling class to make up the rules of culture in society. The ruling class in this movie is the males. Throughout history, males have been dominant and have been known to make the decisions for changes. The males demonstrate conflict theory by defining women as just sexual appealing objects.
For example, when Kate Couric was doing an interview, the cameras focused in on her legs because she was wearing a skirt exposing her bare legs. Not only did male anchors commented sexually on her legs, but also, the media made a big deal how a women should have Kate Couric’s legs. As a part of conflict theory, men use knowledge as power over women, because apparently, men have more experience and knowledge in the “field” than women. As more and more men realize that this is the case, where men can overpower women through knowledge, these acts have become habitual for men and women. As men have gained this powerful dimension, the culture develops from it, and women succumb to this. As conflict theory is influential to culture, power is reinforced for men. Men hold the privilege of honor and power throughout society. Movies also demonstrate how women are just sexual products for their movies by exposing their bodies and concentrating on nudity or sexual appeal. Males also define how women should act.
For example, when Hilary Clinton ran for president, she demonstrated some masculine qualities in order to stand up for herself and yet, she was degraded in the news as a “bitch”. But when a male candidate cried on television, he was considered as softhearted and sincere. Television becomes the re-domestication of how society as a whole looks at things. Gender socialization also partakes in women’s roles throughout society. Gender roles were outlined as women should be a nurturing mother and caregiver that cleans up around the house and waits for her husband to come home from work, whereas men should always be at work and deals with external world stress. There was a revolution during World War II when men were at war, women worked at factories to make the weapons during the war, and this was considered as a man’s job. Institutionalization also plays a big part in how women are portrayed throughout the world. The largest institution that contributes to the interpretation of how women should look, act, and be, is the media. We as a society consume 10 hours and 45 minutes of the media every day.
The media gives a limiting structure for women. The media demonstrates that the women must have an unattainable beauty. Even if a woman obtains this beauty, the media digitally changes so much of what is reality in that woman. As media consumption continuously increases, this has become steadily and constantly apparent throughout the world. Also, the behavior for women is learned through the media, especially in certain environments and situations. These materialistic gestures against women become culture, and it becomes a vicious cycle all over again. Media influences the thoughts of a lot of people in society. Children are also under the influence that what the media says is true. Children have believed that girls should look like that and boys should like girls who look like that and date girls who look like that. Girls want to obtain the unattainable beauty that media shows through television and Internet. Girls have peer pressure to look pretty in front of boys, and this develops emotional problems for them. These emotional problems are equivalent to the adults. If the brain fully develops at the ages between 18 through 24, it is outrageous for children at ages 10 to 15 to have the same mental and emotional problems as adults.
Society and culture for women are continuously degraded and constantly ridiculed. Unachievable beauty and conventional behaviors are already decided for women. Miss Representation illustrates the reality women live in, and how culture molds how society depicts a woman.
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