The way women are portrayed in the media is the focus of a new documentary set to get a second showing in the Quad-Cities.
The film “Miss Representation” will run April 10 at the Putnam Museum in Davenport as part of the Junior League of the Quad-Cities’ new “I am …” initiative, geared toward helping develop the leadership potential of women.
The film, directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, was shown earlier this month at St. Ambrose University in Davenport.
This time, it comes through the sponsorship of the area Junior League organization, which spent the past nine months researching the problems facing the Quad-City community and how its volunteers can help, said Cristy Tackett-Hunt, the Junior League of the Quad-Cities president and a Rock Island lawyer.
“One of the things that kept coming up as sort of a root cause of a variety of problems was the way women were perceived, how they view themselves and also how women are seen by each other and by men,” she said.
That’s when the group’s leadership stumbled across the “Miss Representation” film, which was introduced at the Sundance Film Festival in the spring of 2011. The Oprah Winfrey Network then purchased the rights to it.
The movie looks at how some media over-sexualize women, with female characters presented in sexy outfits and looking for a man to take care of them, Tackett-Hunt said.
That attitude trickles down, impacting how some people perceive women in general, contributing to domestic violence and other societal problems, she said.
So, the Junior League decided to purchase the rights to present the movie for a community viewing, but it will allow people to watch it free of charge.
“We thought it would be a really great way to introduce the community in a big way to what we’re doing,” Tackett-Hunt said.
Along with the documentary, the group has begun a pilot program at Davenport West High School, working with girls who are freshmen, sophomores and juniors to improve how they view themselves and other females.
Eventually, Junior League members hope the program can expand into middle schools, too.
Meanwhile, they are seeking out girls and women to make “I am …” statements about themselves, such as “I am evolving” or “I am a fast runner,” Tackett-Hunt said.
Those statements will be turned into posters and featured in a short film, which will be shown before the documentary begins at the Putnam, she said.
The Junior League of the Quad-Cities is part of the international Junior League organization, which is about 100 years old. Across the United States, Junior Leagues have worked hard to find ways to become more relevant in today’s society, Tackett-Hunt said, adding that the local “I am …” initiative is an example of that.
The Quad-City group has 88 members, but it has seen a 60 percent growth in membership over the past two years, she said.
Sponsors who are making the film event possible include Ruhl&Ruhl Realtors, the Robert Young Center for Community Mental Health and Tiffany Lensch, a Farm Bureau Financial Services agent/financial adviser.
After the documentary is shown, Junior League members will lead a “coffee and conversation” session so viewers can talk about the issues the film presents.
“We’re hoping that men will go, too,” Tackett-Hunt said. “We really do need male champions in this. This is not just a women’s issue. It’s a human issue.”