G is for Geena Davis and Media Gender Bias

Geena Davis Graced Red Carpet of 2011 Sarasota Film Festival, April 2011
Geena Davis Graced the Red Carpet of 2011 Sarasota Film Festival, April 2011

Have you heard about tween and teen girls posting YouTube videos and asking strangers whether they’re fat or ugly? Yeah, it’s disturbing. It’s the 21st century and we’re living in a society where girls (and women) are basing their self-worth on appearance. But why? Flip through magazines at the grocery store or turn on the television for part of the reason why.

Actress and Olympian Geena Davis is one of those people trying to make a difference in how girls and women view themselves. She founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media after viewing television programs and videos with her daughter and noticing an imbalance in the roles male and female characters play.

Academy Award Winning Actress Geena Davis and Husband Dr. Reza Jarrahy, Sarasota Film Festival, April 16, 2011
Academy Award Winning Actress Geena Davis and Husband Dr. Reza Jarrahy, Sarasota Film Festival, April 16, 2011

Since its inception about seven years ago, “the Institute is leading resource for gender in media research, trends and education for the entertainment industry and the public.” (Source: Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media)

Miss Representation

During the 2011 Sarasota Film Festival,the Academy Award winning actress was honored for her acting accomplishments and efforts in raising awareness of gender bias in media with the Sarasota Film Festival/Gulf Coast Chapter U.N. Women Inaugural Impact Award. Ms. Davis introduced the documentary film called “Miss Representation” which identifies gender bias in media and how women are objectified. She appears in the documentary and I was honored to be in attendance during the screening.

“I think it’s going to be a very, very powerful agent for all us to reach the tipping point where we can have better representations of women in the media,” Ms. Davis said.

Referring to gender bias, Ms. Geralyn White Dreyfous , one of “Miss Representation’s” producers said, “It’s not a right or left problem, it’s an American problem.

“Are civilizations defined by stories they tell? Are we telling stories we’re proud of?”

What do you think? Is what the media is producing now what we want people 100 years from now remembering?

Learn more about Miss Representation” by viewing its website and by watching the movie trailer below.

Click here if the above YouTube video doesn’t load.

Learn more about the Sarasota Film Festival.

This post is part of the 2012 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Check back daily for a different letter!



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

10 thoughts on “G is for Geena Davis and Media Gender Bias

  1. that is very disturbing and sad! Especially considering the majority of images seen in the media have been digitally altered. It’s amazing the amount that is possible today. I edit photos every day but try to keep them as real as possible. Nothing too “perfect” or fake, but unfortunately that is what is expected.

    Hats off to Geena Davis!

    (from hilaryandted.blogspot)

  2. Unfortunately girls and women have always been bombarded with messages of the way they should look.Before video it was TV,magazines and books,etc. Someone said that if you can make a woman feel bad enough about herself she will buy anything. And everyday there are more and more reasons we’re supposed to feel bad about ourselves. Weight,of course,the texture of our hair,our complexions,whether our eyelashes are long enough,eyebrows dark enough(or have they-gasp-grown sparser with age). Every new anti-aging treatment talks about something else we should worry about and fix.
    And like the girls and women in the documentary say,women are still not taken seriously intellectually. What that fool from the “Men’s Rights” group was saying about having a woman in the white house is what a lot of people say about women having any kind of power. Dismiss us and make stupid jokes about PMS and mood swings(because of course men never have mood swings or get irritated,and if he does it must be for a legitimate reason.Unlike those “bitchy” women).
    I’m happy Geena Davis is doing this. Maybe if girls are more aware of the nonsense we’re being brainwashed about it’ll make some of them start to question it.
    Thanka for posting this. It’s an important message to share!

  3. Geena, one of my favorite actors – haven’t seen her in a movie for a very long time. So glad that a person with her “status” are trying to make a different, specially today when we women, young and old – have a massive pressure on us how we should look like and when 14 year old girls want breast enlargement – the world has gone totally wrong – we are all to blame, because if we hadn’t bought all those glossy magazines we would have a lot less this faked world. Good on Geena! Thanks for this great post.

  4. It is sad that girls think their only worth is in their beauty. The world is a crazy place sometimes. We need good role models to show that success is not being perfect on the outside. Thanks for posting.

  5. I think the documentary is on the right track. But, in order for it to really work, we need the magazines, movies, commercials, tv shows, etc to step up and start showing “real” people.

    We also need for movie theatres to show the documentary around the country instead of only select theatres. And for it to be on regular cable instead of premium channels that not all people have access to.

  6. You’re right on and I suppose it’s a slow process to get mass media engaged. Groups can order the film to show groups with proceeds going back to educational research. Last I knew it was $500 per screening.

Comments are closed.

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