“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!)


Sun., Sept 18: Reality Bites Back at Brooklyn Book Festival


As a born-and-bred Brooklynite — and a lit geek, ‘natch — I’m thrilled to be bringing Reality Bites Back to the fifth annual Brooklyn Book Festival, along with brilliant writers including Laura Flanders, Jeremy Scahill, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and several Pulitzer Prize winners.

WHERE: Brooklyn Historical Society Main Hall (128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY)

WHEN: 5pm, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2011

WHAT: Media Representations and Reality: The debate continues over whether the media reflects reality or has a hand in shaping it. Like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle, the act of presenting the news can

very often alter it. No one knows this better than Brooke Gladstone of “On the Media,” whose new book The Influencing Machine with Josh Neufeld examines the role of the media in American society. Patrice Evans, (Negropedia), examines media representations of African-Americans, and Jennifer Pozner (Reality Bites Back) looks at the completely unreal world of reality television. Moderated by Juan Gonzalez (News for All the People).

Haven’t heard yet from the panel organizers about whether I’m going to be giving prepared remarks, just answering questions from the moderator, or both, but whatever the format, I’ll do my best to discuss the media economics, product placement advertising, and virulent institutional sexism and racism at play within reality television. And I’ll throw in some laughs, like I


Chicago – 04/04/11


Who
Project Brainwash lecture
When
Monday, April 4, 2011
4:30pm - 4:30 - 7pm - All Ages
Where
Northeastern (map)
Chicago, IL
Other Info
Project Brainwash lecture, followed by Q&A and book signing for Reality Bites Back

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Chicago, IL – 03/31/11


Who
Project Brainwash lecture
When
Thursday, March 31, 2011
TBD - All Ages
Where
Northwestern (map)
Chicago, IL

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VIDEO: Jennifer L. Pozner on CBC News “Connect with Mark Kelley”: 25th anniversary of “The Real World”


Yesterday, I wrote that I’d be appearing on CBC News’s Connect with Mark Kelley to discuss the state of reality television on the 25th anniversary of MTV’s iconic The Real World. Today, I’m happy to share the interview with you. My discussion is part of the following six-minute video package, starting at 2:14:


DVR ALERT: Tonight (3/9), 8:45pm EST: I discuss the 25th Anniversary of “The Real World” with CBC News “Connect with Mark Kelley”


Quick hit: Tonight, to mark the premiere of the 25th season of The Real World, I’ll be on the CBC News show Connect with Mark Kelley to discuss how reality TV has morphed from one iconic (yet fringe) MTV show about strangers living together in 1992, to the landscape-altering genre it became once it traveled to network television in 2000.

Connect with Mark Kelley airs live from 8 – 9pm EST; I’m told that my segment will air at 8:45pm. Tune in live, or watch it online at http://www.cbc.ca/connect/

(And for those of you who care about such things… why, yes, that will be a big box of tissues right outside the camera’s frame! I’m

battling a nasty cold right now. Just consider me your puffy-eyed, red-nosed media analyst, at your service!)

I hope to be able to address some of the following, from the introduction to Reality Bites Back: The Troubling Truth About Guilty Pleasure TV (all footnotes available in the book; bracketed descriptions and names provided here for context):


Storrs, CT – 02/28/11


Who
Project Brainwash lecture
When
Monday, February 28, 2011
7:00pm - All Ages
Where
University of Connecticut/Storrs (map)
Storrs, CT

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Jezebel on me, TLC, and Tea Party intimidation: “Sarah Palin’s Alaska Is Afraid Of Its Own Viewers”


Yesterday, a Jezebel headline about my weekend brouhaha with Sarah Palin’s Alaska summed up what I promised TLC I wouldn’t discuss on record: “Sarah Palin’s Alaska is scared of their own viewers.”

 

Jezebel’s Anna North’s post brings into stark relief how certain segments on the right are using fear and intimidation to create a chilling effect over media content. As North summarizes, I was booked to discuss Sarah Palin’s Alaska on the official TLC podcast after Sunday night’s latest episode of the show. Then, I was abruptly uninvited from podcast because, as its host and social media strategist said, “Sarah Palin’s Alaska is not a political show” and my presence would have made the conversation — about a series-long unpaid political advertisement for the former GOP vice presidential nominee and potential future POTUS candidate — “inadvertently political.” (Yep, I know. I deconstructed that fun little bit of irony yesterday, as did Media Matters.) But, as North writes, that official explanation wasn’t the whole story. In fact, “organizers were worried about what Palin supporters might do if they got too riled up.”

Jezebel asks if my segment’s cancelation was “because the organizers of the show can’t handle anybody even mildly badmouthing Palin? Well, not exactly.”:


My TLC podcast canceled–apparently, I make Sarah Palin “political.”


Earlier today, I announced that I was invited to be a guest on TLC’s podcast about Sarah Palin’s Alaska, the new reality show starring and executive produced by the former Governor, GOP VP nominee, and potential future POTUS candidate. I wrote to give you all a sneak peek into what I planned to talk about on the show, which — as I blogged — was exactly what I had discussed with the podcast’s rep prior to being booked for the segment.

Turns out, dear reader, that your sneak peek is to be your only peek: my segment has been canceled specifically because of that blog post.

I was first told that my “tone” in my blog post made the podcast and show’s powers-that-be uncomfortable. I reminded the booker that I hadn’t said anything in the blog post (other than my thoughts about the show’s sop to the NRA, which I hadn’t been asked about and had forgotten to mention) that I hadn’t previously, honestly and clearly stated before she booked me. I explained that I reserve my snark especially for you, my lovely readers, but that I am always professional and appropriate when I offer media commentary in broadcast forums — as the dozens of TV, radio and podcast interviews listed on the media page attest.