Category Archives: Movie Commentary

The Downside of Media Portrayal for Young Women – by Eric Linne

Miss Representation comments by Eric Linne YA Author of ReversalThis past week, my wife and I watched the documentary Miss Representation . This 90 minute film shows the downside of the media portrayal of young women and uncovers a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see. Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the film exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.

Miss Representation challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls, which make it difficult for women to achieve leadership positions and for the average woman to feel powerful herself.

In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader.

While women have made great strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is still 90th in the world for women in national legislatures, women hold only 3% of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65% of women and girls have disordered eating behavior.

My takeaway on the media portrayal of young women

My takeaway is that the plethora of unrealistic portrayals of women and girls has an insidious effect not just on the psyches of young girls, but also on boys who are bombarded with the same messages on a daily basis.  While it is not realistic to expect media and entertainment streams to immediately correct the decades long misrepresentations of woman and girls, it is incumbent on parents to help filter what children watch in all medias and to provide context where little or none is provided in the media.

Responsible parents of both boys and girls must take a stand to insure that both genders grow up with healthy and realistic portrayals woman and girls – more than half of the people in our country.

High School Wrestling Movie – Drama, Pain and Redemption – by Eric Linne

High School Wrestling movieWhile New York City is known for theater, Chicago is known for deep dish pizza and North Carolina is known for BBQ, the state of Pennsylvania is known as the hotbed of high school wrestling.  Arguably, the most competitive amateur wrestling environment in the country, both participants and fans alike are passionate about this often overlooked high school sport.

High School Wrestling Movie

Takedowns and Falls is a documentary film that tells the story of a group of Pennsylvania teens and their relationships within a high school wrestling team on a journey to attain a state championship.  It chronicles a season of the Central Dauphin Rams in Harrisburg, PA and highlights the sacrifice of its athletes, the commitment of their families and the dedication of its coaches.

My Takeaway

I think this documentary is interesting for a couple of reasons.  First, the movie demonstrates the level of excellence and competitiveness that high school wrestling has achieved in the state of Pennsylvania.  Second, the film shows that despite hard work, dedication and skill, one wrestler will always lose every wrestling match.  Part of achieving satisfaction in a sport as grueling as wrestling is to accept defeat as well as victory.  When the match is over, shake the winner’s hand and walk off the mat with your head held high.  Learn from your mistakes, continue working hard and look forward to improving in your next match.

Teenage Girl Wrestler – a PBS Movie

Teenage girl wrestler Tara Neal featured in a blog by Eric Linne author of ReversalCheck out this 13-year-old girl and her story, which was made into a PBS movie.  

Girl Wrestler is a poignant, informative documentary outlining many of the hurdles that girls face while participating in high school (or in this case middle school) wrestling.  The movie follows a year in the life of 13-year-old Tara Neal, as she struggles with cutting weight, competing against boys, the opposition of certain wrestlers and coaches and living up to her parents’ expectations.  When she gets together with a handful of other girl wrestlers at a tournament, the movie is particularly moving as the girls share their experience on and off the wrestling mat.  The documentary, which aired on PBS, is an enlightening view into the experience of being viewed as an outsider in the physically demanding sport of amateur wrestling.   

Message from the movie by Eric Linne about a teenage girl wrestler

“Tara’s story becomes a personal prism through which to view such broader cultural issues as the socially accepted views of masculinity and femininity, athleticism and eating disorders, teenage identity, gender discrimination in organized athletics, and the meaning and value of sports in American culture. Ultimately, GIRL WRESTLER reveals the many challenges and pressures faced by young girls today as they seek to carve out a place in a culture full of conflicting messages about what it means to be a girl.”