Film explores role media plays in women's self-image

2013-11-02T21:00:00Z 2013-11-02T22:28:13Z Film explores role media plays in women's self-imageHeather Augustyn Times Correspondent
November 02, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | The Women Lawyers Association at Valparaiso University will present a screening of the documentary film “Miss Representation” at 4 p.m. Friday at Valparaiso University School of Law.

The screening in the Pelzer Classroom and Law School Atrium will be followed at 6:15 p.m. by a panel discussion by Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; state Sen. Karen Tallian, D-Ogden Dunes; professor Rosalie Levinson, a constitutional law scholar; and U.S. District Judge Theresa Springmann.

Attorney Melissa B. Cohen, president of Women Lawyers Association, will moderate the panel. Times Assistant Managing Editor Crista Zivanovic will present a media perspective, Cohen said.

Attorney Shelbie Byers is serving as the event chairman.

An educational workshop will follow the screening and discussion.

Cohen said women are constantly bombarded by images in the media, and many of those images cause women to have lower self-esteem. That can play out in many ways, including a reluctance to seek jobs that would give them parity in society, she said.

Increased access to the media, through TV, films, video games and the Internet, means the impact on women and girls is greater than ever. Women and girls are learning their importance is measured in how thin, how beautiful and how young they are, Cohen said.

The film was an official selection of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, an official selection at Silverdocs 2011 and an official selection of the 2011 San Francisco Film Festival.

The film includes stories from teenage girls and interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists and academics, including Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Margaret Cho, Rosario Dawson and Gloria Steinem.

A presentation by Dyer lawyer Adam J. Sedia is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., between the screening and panel discussion.

Cohen said Friday’s program is open to women and men so that men can help their sisters, mothers and daughters stand up against these portrayals of women.

Those who plan to attend are asked to email Cohen at or Byers at

Porter County Editor John Scheibel contributed to this story.

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