Sex, lies and media: New wave of activists challenge notions of beauty

Editor’s Note: CNN’s Emanuella Grinberg says films like Jennifer Siebel-Newsom’s Miss Representation and the America the Beautiful series challenge media portrayals of women and beauty and are serving as “watchdogs” by raising awareness through documentaries and online activism harnessed by social media, blogs and viral videos.

(CNN) — Here’s the fantasy: A half-naked women lies across a couch, lips pouty and cleavage prominent as her sultry gaze implores you to buy this bottle of perfume.

The reality: Women make up 51% of the United States yet only 17% of seats in the House of Representatives. They’re 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs and 7% of directors in the top 250 grossing films.

What’s the connection? We live in a sexualized society where the gap between fantasy and reality is vast and harmful, director and activist Jennifer Siebel-Newsom says.

“Women are aspiring to do great things in leadership, yet the glass ceiling is still there because of the way media depict women,” Siebel-Newsom said. “It influences our culture and dictates our gender norms and values.”

Siebel-Newsom’s documentary, Miss Representation, is the latest cinematic foray in the movement to challenge portrayals of beauty in “the media,” a term used to describe all forms of mass communication, from the internet, TV, film, magazines, radio and advertising.

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Please watch the extended, trailer, below and also see Mindful Compliments.

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