Recently, we shared this story of a Wisconsin high school teacher who had been disciplined for showing and discussing Miss Representation. After hearing the news, her students sprang into action and started a protest in response to her forced leave. We joined in and within 24 hours, the story had gained enough traction on the ground, on social media, and in traditional press to effectively pressure the superintendent to reinstate the teacher!
Now, the teacher’s attorney, Lester Pines, has issued a letter to set the record straight. He says:
The images in Miss Representation were not captured from pornographic videos, subscription websites, or any other private source. They all come from mainstream television commercials, music videos, and major Hollywood movies. The point of the documentary is to show how pervasive these negative images of women are and to explain the harm they create. Incredibly, Dr. Salerno’s letter not once clarifies that significant point.
Most of the film consists of comments by prominent women, including Katie Couric, Condoleeza Rice, Rachel Maddow, Jane Fonda, Rosario Dawson, and Nancy Pelosi and features a number of female and male academics and commentators. In short, the documentary is a compilation of statements by public figures about the denigration of women by the media. It is, without doubt, an overwhelmingly positive, eye-opening and thought provoking film.
You can read the full letter here. This incident is just another example of why the lessons in Miss Representation are critical for our students and our larger communities. Together, we’re challenging and overcoming limiting stereotypes so everyone – regardless of gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, ability, religion, or circumstance – can fulfill their human potential.