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Shima Sanavi

Miss Representation
1. Critique the documentary from a functionalist standpoint. How does our patriarchal society
“function” for our society? On the other hand, explain the dysfunctions of this system where
males dominate. (For example, in my race and ethnicity class we explore how racism, for
instance, has classically "functioned" by providing a moral justification for maintaining a society
that routinely deprives a group of its rights and privileges) while a common "dysfunction" of
discrimination for instance would be that society fails to use the resources of all individuals.
Search for talent & leadership is limited to the dominant group.
Women have always been dominated by men in the Patriarchal society. Men have always been
the leaders in the household, communities, the government, and the world. Women have always
been the followers. Men and women are created equally, but somehow women have always had
less value. All that women have wanted is to be heard and have a voice in decisions regarding
our society. Women are smart and leaders, if given the opportunity to be one. From the
beginning of time, men have had all the power and have controlled what women may or may not
do. It’s time for that to stop.

2. This documentary suggests that the media generally depicts powerful women in our society
negatively. Explain this phenomena using the conflict perspective.
Women who are taking action in the government and being involved with things other than
objectifying their bodies and faces are looked at differently than women who do objectify their
bodies. I would say some men and women see these powerful women as a threat to themselves,
because they want to have the “power”. Women who use their brains and take action into making
a change in our society are looked down upon. There is always a competition between these
women with other women and men, because they have opposing opinions, and they will
challenge others to prove that their opinion is correct.

3. The documentary uses the term “symbolic annihilation” What is symbolic annihilation? Why
might this term fit well into the conflict theory paradigm?
Symbolic annihilation is when a group of people are not represented or underrepresented. If a
group of people are not represented or underrepresented then their side won’t be heard, causing
problems and conflict between the parties. They won’t have the power to be influential to the
people around them, because no one will represent them. For example the media, they won’t
allow them to be seen by the world.
4. The documentary contends that women participate in the objectification of other women. A)
What is objectification? B) Why (in your opinion) do you think women objectify other women?
Objectification is when women are only seen for their bodies and faces. They are seen as child
barriers and sex objects. In my opinion women objectify other women and themselves to prove
to whatever it is they want to prove to men. They want to be seen a different way. It has become
a competition on who has the best body, the best clothes, best face and hair. Sometimes women
dress up in certain ways that is giving men a signal that they want to have sex, but when the men
say something to them they get offended and act as if it is the men’s fault for treating them like
5. The documentary inferred that women use their sexuality to gain power in our society. From a
sociological standpoint, what is “power”?
Power is having the ability to put your own thoughts and opinions on others. “Power​ affects
more than personal relationships; it shapes larger dynamics like social groups, professional
organizations, and governments” (
6. How does the media stereotype women who do not attempt to use their sexuality to gain
power? Give an example.
When Hillary Clinton was running for office, people were only looking at her negatively. They
didn’t want a woman in power. I however think if she had been more revealing in the way she
dressed up she would’ve been looked at much more differently and “respected”. Our society
doesn’t accept women who have values and goals and respect their bodies. An example of
stereotyping Hillary would be; being called a bitch and making sexialized dolls of her. Since she
wouldn’t do it herself the media went ahead did it for her, which is totally inappropriate and
unacceptable in my opinion.

7. Create a research question (inspired by the documentary) from a symbolic interactionist

perspective. (make sure you know what this perspective is.... I tend to get a lot of incorrect
answers for this one) For example, ​Considering we live in a patriarchal society, it is
hypothesized that men tend to talk over women during business meetings.
Based on the documentary​ Miss Representation, ​how can women protect their wisdom and their
bodies from being misrepresented?
8. State three things that you found interesting from this documentary. Why did these three
resonate with you?
The facts that came up during the documentary were interesting and heartbreaking, because it’s
sad to know that 53% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their body image, and how that
number rises to 78% by age 17. It’s not just not right for such young girls to have to feel that
way. The media pressures them to develop the thought that have to be perfect and if their body
doesn’t look a certain way they will not be accepted by our society. I also thought the fact that
women spend $12,000-$15,000 on beauty products a year is interesting. I never thought this
amount of money will be going towards makeup and beauty surgeries. So many women get nose
jobs, breast implants, butt lifts, face lifts, botox, etc. just to look like each other. It’s like a
competition on who can look younger and prettier to please men. The third interesting thing I
saw in this documentary was how women who are influential don’t get to be covers on
magazines, but men do. Also women who have the “perfect” bodies do. Our society does not
value women who have used their knowledge to get to a higher position, but they value women
who have become models, or sell makeup products, or promote their bodies.
9. Does watching this documentary further your understanding of how our society "socially
constructs" gender? Why or why not?
Absolutely, I learned so much through this documentary. There were really great examples of
how women are misrepresented through the media. It really is an eye opener. More people need
to see this and gain knowledge of this issue in our society. Sadly people like spending their time
playing video games and watching movies instead of watching something that can actually
benefit them and the society.
10. Do you see our society changing the way we do gender in the future? Explain.
I really do think it will, but it will definitely take a long period of time. We need more people
involved, and as long as the media controls our society this issue won’t be resolved. More
women need to come to a realization that by putting their bodies out there for everyone to see
and judge they are making it worse for themselves and other women in our society. It starts from
the women who are objectifying themselves and other women. Once that stops then the media
wouldn’t have the resources to put the wrong image for everyone to see.