In the film “MISS REPRESENTATION” by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Caroline Heldman Ph.D. Associate Professor of Political Science at Occidental College says that at the age of seven years, an equal number of little boys and girls want to be the president of the U.S. when they are grownups. On the contrary, at fifteen years of age, the number of boys with the same quest highly outweighs that of the girls at the same age (Newsom, Miss Representation, 2011). This fact is really worrying given to the fact that women make a bigger percentage of the U.S. population at about 51% of the US population. In addition, women comprise only 17% of the Congress (Newsom, Miss Representation, 2011). The question raised here is, what contributes to this disparity in the gender balance in the U.S. society with a closer look to powerful positions in politics?
To begin with the American culture considers women as weak compared to males. At seven years of age, it is obvious that every American child has his/her dreams bright for the future. As the child grows, they are faced with the reality of a stereotyped society where men are viewed as powerful and capable of handling powerful responsibilities. On the other hand, women are portrayed as weak for politics with their position reserved for sex objects (Newsom, Miss Representation, 2011). As they grow up, women are faced up by this reality making them coil towards themselves leaving the young boys and men to occupy powerful positions in politics.
In addition the media through music, video, advertisements, and promotions showcase women as sex objects. In the growth process of a young American girl, she is struck by the painful reality of who she should become in society. The social media constantly remind a girl child that she is expected to be beautiful, attractive and of little weight possibly to be fit well as a sex material. Besides, the males are portrayed as powerful and supposed to use women for their own satisfaction (Newsom, Miss Representation, 2011). These make the woman grows with fear of submission to fit in the position the society has placed her.
Further, lack of role models for women discourages them to achieve a lot like their male counterparts as they grow. In the history of the U.S., there has never been a female president (Newsom, Miss Representation, 2011). The number of women at the Congress has also been little. A young American girl as such lack models to look up to, therefore, her dreams varnish on the way.
In summary, women face bigger challenges in the attainment of political positions than the males. The American culture diminishes, belittles and stereotypes them to sex objects. Social media propagates the notion that a woman is a sex object for men. There are very few and less powerful women role models in the political arena. The intimidation, shame, and abuses women face when seeking political positions also discourage the young girl from seeking same positions. The film however gives the hope for the female and the women that they can still make it to equality in their country and the world at large.
Newsom Jennifer Siebel and Kimberlee Acquaro. “Miss Representation [Film].” United States: Girls’ Club Entertainment (2011).