Included below is the trailer for the documentary, Miss Representation, which examines how women are depicted in media. The documentary, which I saw earlier this year at Sundance, is very much a preaching to the choir kind of doc, in that the people who might be interested in the film are already familiar with the message. It says absolutely nothing new and nothing that most people with a little common sense and a modicum of intelligence could not conclude on their own: Women are portrayed as catty bitches in reality television and as fuck toys in cinema. And those depictions trivialize women, making it more difficult for men and the old, white, male social order to respect them, therefore making it more difficult to take them seriously as potential leaders.
But it is a message the needs to be highlighted on occasion, and it’s particularly instructive in the wake of the feminism debate prompted by the release of Sucker Punch. That message, as applied to Snyder’s film, would be: No matter what the director says, it’s hard to take seriously the women of Sucker Punch as feminist role models if their wearing attire that trivializes them as sex objects.
The solution, of course, is the one promulgated by Miss Representation: Allow more women writers and directors to write and direct their own material so that men don’t get to dictate the conversation. Of course, the problem is: The more movies like Sucker Punch are made, the more difficult it is for the white, male social order to take women seriously, which makes it all the more difficult for them to direct their own female-empowerment action flicks.
Essentially, it’s up to the audience not to validate the choices of the existing powers that be, who are obviously driven by profit motives. The lackluster box-office showing of Sucker Punch is actually a good start.