“Miss Representation” Viewers: Welcome to the Media Justice Movement!


This post is cross-posted with www.MissRepresentation.org, in advance of the film’s debut tonight on OWN, 9pm (8c).

In Miss Representation, actress-activist Rosario Dawson talks about how important it is for women to write their own stories. This is equally important in entertainment and in journalism alike.Yet as I discuss in the film, today’s media climate is extremely toxic for women and girls, and for people of color. That’s because the main purpose of TV programming today is not to entertain, engage or inform us. Sad but true: the purpose is generate sky-high profits for the six major conglomerates (Disney, Time Warner, NewsCorp, Viacom, CBS and General Electric) that own and control the vast majority of what we’re given to watch, see, hear and play in newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, movies, billboards and video games.

As a result, women are misrepresented and marginalized as op-ed writers, front-page news sources, lead anchors, and broadcast journalism commentators… that is, when they aren’t missing entirely (as decades of research document). Scripted entertainment isn’t much better. As filmmaker Nia Vardalos wrote at WIMN’s Voices, Hollywood studios ignore data that show that audiences actually do want to support films with strong female leads, calling the success of “Sex and the City” and “Mamma Mia” “a fluke.” When Nia tried to follow up her hit “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” with a new script, studio execs pressured her to change female leads to male characters—exactly the opposite of the kind of climate Rosario Dawson is rightly calling for.


DVR Alert: TONIGHT, 10/20 @9pm(8c): “Miss Representation” brings Reality Bites Back to OWN


DVR Alert: Tune in to the award-winning documentary “Miss RepresentationTONIGHT, Oct. 20, 9pm(8c) on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network).

I had the honor of being an adviser on — and being interviewed in — this powerful film about women and the media. “Miss Representation” is the first mainstream film to delve into sexism in commercial media — from advertising and pop culture’s sexualization of girls, to triggering eating disorders, to media normalizing violence against women, to reality TV as anti-feminist backlash (which I discuss both in the film and Reality Bites Back), to double standards in news reporting on female politicians, to the trivialization of women who work in broadcast news, to the causal role advertising and media consolidation plays in all of this, to the need for media literacy to help youth and adults become more active, critical media consumers.

OWN will decide whether to re-air “Miss Representation” based in large part on the ratings it draws tonight. So please tune in… and ask five friends to set their DVRs as well. Tweet it, Facebook it, email people. (If for no other reason than the cognitive dissonance that results from seeing me and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice agree on something!)


Boston, MA – 04/08/11


Who
NCMR: National Conference on Media Reform
When
Friday, April 8, 2011
TBD - All Ages
Where
NCMR: National Conference on Media Reform (map)
Boston, MA
Other Info
Conference lasts from April 8 - 10. Jennifer L. Pozner and Sofia Quintero will facilitate a hands-on media literacy workshop helping attendees deconstruct gender and race bias in reality television. More details to come.

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Chicago, IL – 04/03/11


Who
Reality Bites Back Book Reading
When
Sunday, April 3, 2011
4:30pm - All Ages
Where
Women & Children First bookstore (map)
Chicago, IL
Other Info
Why are reality TV's stock characters (The Desperate Bachelorette, The Angry Black Woman, The Douchebag Dude) so regressive? What are Frankenbites, and other behind-the-scenes open secrets in the reality TV industry? Why does pop culture culture reduce women and people of color to such limiting stereotypes? Find out during Jennifer L. Pozner's first Reality Bites Back reading in Chicago, at the city's leading independent bookstore. Expect critical media commentary, revealing insights about gender and race in the entertainment industry -- and lots of laughs.

See http://www.womenandchildrenfirst.com/event/jennifer-pozner for logistics.

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Reviewers say: Reality Bites Back makes a great gift!


Are you a last-minute Christmas gift-giver? Do you owe belated Chanukah and Solstice presents? Well, take it from Feministing, Isak, Hello Ladies and Women’s Voices for Change: Reality Bites Back makes the perfect gift!

I wrote the book to spark a national conversation about the meaning and impact of reality TV on our culture, and in doing so I hoped to make media literacy not only enlightening, but fun. So, I’m really excited to see Reality Bites Back popping up on holiday gift guides by respected media outlets and blogs who seem to find the book engaging and enjoyable. I’m also gratified and flattered to see the book recommended by readers on Twitter as “The Must-Have Book This Season” and discussed as good holiday reading options on Facebook by professors who say, “I’ve read it, I’ve taught it, Jenn has been in LA to discuss it — I’m all about it. If you haven’t yet, go get it!”

At Feministing, the book tops Courtney Martin’s “Not Oprah’s Book Club: Holiday Edition” gift guide:


BOSTON: Reality Bites Back TWICE, 11/19 in Wellesley, 11/20 with Jean Kilbourne in Boston


Quick hit from the road: All you MA-area TV fans — there are two chances to catch Reality Bites Backin Boston. Hope to see you at one of these events:

WHAT: Book reading and signing

WHEN: Nov. 19, 7pm

WHERE: Wellesley Booksmith

Why is reality television built on such blatant gender and race stereotypes? Why are women and people of color represented so harmfully, and with so much bias, in popular culture? What is “Frankenbite” editing, how many hours of tape are shot for every hour of reality TV aired, and how much cheaper is it to produce a reality show than a scripted program? Is it true that networks are simply “giving people what they want,” or is reality TV really the result of media consolidation, media economics, and stealth advertising? Find out at Wellesley Booksmith on 11/19!

And it is a HUGE honor and with great pleasure that I invite you to Trident Books on Saturday, where I’ll be sharing the mic with one of my formative influences and intellectual role models, pioneering ad critic Jean Kilbourne:

WHAT: Book reading and signing with Jennifer L. Pozner and Jean Kilbourne

WHEN: Nov. 20, 7pm


New York, NY – 11/04/10


Who
Reality Bites Back reading
When
Thursday, November 4, 2010
7:00pm - All Ages
Where
172 Allen St
New York, NY 10002

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