It starts young. “I remember in fifth grade, I was worried about my weight,” says Urenna, a California public-school student.
“I straighten my hair just so I can fit in,” says Alexis.
Another high schooler tearfully confesses to being teased by her peers because they thought she was anorexic.
One by one, each girl shares a story.
Finally, in a navy-blue school uniform, Maria looks straight into the camera. “When,” she asks, her voice quavering, “is it going to be enough?”
These are the young women we meet in Miss Representation—a haunting new documentary, from first-time filmmaker Jennifer Seibel Newsom, about girls’ body image, self-confidence and leadership aspirations, and how they are intertwined with the way women are portrayed on television and in media. Making its debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network this Thursday, the film tackles Hollywood, TV news, advertising, marketing—all against a backdrop of the young women who consume it.