Oakland University’s Women and Gender Studies Film Festival is celebrating its 28th year with Jennifer Siebel’s documentary “Miss Representation.”
This year, the festival will take place on March 24 in room 201 of Dodge Hall.
According to Jo Reger, associate professor of sociology, the film has been surrounded by buzz since Oprah premiered it on her network. Many people are having home party viewings of the film. A local church has even shown the film and based readings around it, she said.
“(The film) talks about how these images, that we feed our children, end up actually influencing what they think their potential is,” Reger said.
Teenagers and influential women such as Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow and Gloria Steinem also share their stories about their experiences with the media’s portrayal of their sex.
Lizabeth Barclay, a professor of management in from the School of Business Administration, brought the film to Reger’s attention. She believes the film is relevant today because it highlights society’s emphasis on female beauty and women’s health issues.
“Women leaders are often evaluated on their looks rather than their deeds, women’s health issues continue to be problematic, and there seems to be an increase in the sexualization of (female) children,” Barclay said. “This film addresses those issues and provides the viewer with a context for reflection.”
Although Barclay is a faculty member in the business school, she does not believe that means she can’t be involved in women’s issues.
“My research looks at discriminatory processes at work,” she said. “Some of my research has involved gender discrimination as well as sexual harassment. The treatment of women at work is something that needs to be examined.”
In addition to showing the film, the festival will host a panel discussion with members of the community. Guest panelists will include East Lansing Senator Gretchen Whitmor and local high school student Ann Blessman.
“I think it’s the conversation. When you’re in school you get a chance to talk about big thoughts all the time, but once you leave here you don’t get a chance to think about things beyond just like ‘I gotta do this, I gotta do this’,” Reger said.
Reger also thinks since you can watch movies through many different platforms it’s not necessarily the film that the community comes to see.
Contact Jo Reger at email@example.com for more information.
Contact senior reporter Sarah Hunton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org