Help students explore media's portrayal of gender and body image with the Miss Representation Curriculum.

Recently, I spoke to a group of parents after they viewed Miss Representation, the Representation Project's documentary film about how mainstream media contributes to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America. One father said his 7-year-old daughter was getting teased by boys who thought she was fat. He said, "Just so you know, my daughter isn't fat."

It's unfortunate that he felt a sense of insecurity about his daughter's weight. I reassured him, and other parents in the room, that it's important for us to have tools and resources for talking to our children about body image and the ways in which media informs their everyday lives.  

American youth consume upward of 11 hours of media per day. Even early elementary students must learn to think critically about media messages. The Miss Representation curriculum builds on the power of the Miss Representation documentary as a tool that encourages students to critique media images of women and girls and make more positive representations using digital technology. With the Miss Representation curriculum, students are engaged in both discussions and hands-on activities that explore the harmful ways that stereotyping limits the possibilities available for women and girls.

How to Use Miss Representation with Your Students:

The curriculum is for use in K–12 and post-secondary classrooms. The following are steps to incorporating Miss Representation's activities into your teaching:

  1. Share age-appropriate video modules (watch a sample video).
  2. Facilitate discussions and activities that teach students how to critique media representations and help them make their own positive representations of women and girls.
  3. Support your students in using their power to combat sexism by engaging in our #NotBuyingIt, #AskHerMore, and #MediaWeLike campaigns.

The Miss Representation lessons help students better understand media's limiting portrayals of gender. Additionally, the material fully integrates the important work we at the Representation Project are doing on social media. For more information, see our educational license options and check out the curricular overview and sample lessons.

Aaminah N.

Aaminah Norris, The Director of Education for The Representation Project, received her doctorate in Education from the University of California, Berkeley. Norris’ research and teaching interests include 1) ways that emerging technologies influence the literacy practices of students from traditionally under-resourced communities, the relationships between gendered and racialized identity processes in urban learning environments and the use of digital and social media, and how 21st century critical pedagogical approaches inform the learning of African American and Latino/a students. Prior to coming to The Representation Project, Norris was an English teacher, and an administrator in urban schools and not for profit agencies for 15 years.