America The Beautiful Documentary Review Essays

America the Beautiful is examining the typical standards of beauty in United States by talking in casual settings with typical Americans, "normal" people, for lack of a better word. From what men look for in women, to what women and young girls think of themselves, we hear a myriad of responses regarding what makes a person beautiful, and therefore desirable.

If modern standards of beauty, and the way the media saturates us with them, is the cause, then low self esteem in women and girls across the country is the effect; at least if we are to believe the point of view championed by several people interviewed throughout the movie. Although not everyone involved with the film tends to agree, this documentary takes a hard position behind the harm caused by industries like fashion and entertainment that stand to gain from what is often called "the beauty myth."

The personal and professional story of former model Gerren Taylor (who later went on to appear in a short lived cable television reality show) and her experience as a runway model from age 12 to roughly 15 years of age, is intertwined with the themes, statistics, and sort of anti fashion and modeling industry stance presented by several people being interviewed in the film, including Gerren's middle school principal.

Against this backdrop, America the Beautiful also presents audiences with industry insiders including representatives from high profile agencies like Storm and LA Models, as well as designers including Marc Jacobs. We're given a chance to see things from the full spectrum if we know where and how to look, and there are plenty of subtleties to be left up to interpretation by the viewer.

Health hazards in beauty products due to chemicals called phthalates that would never be allowed to be used in similar products in the UK, are a part of the argument about beauty standards and media exposure that aren't often addressed, and this film does something relevant and fresh by discussing this. It finds another way to do something by speaking to an expert on the culture of Fiji about the effect of American television on Fiji youth and general society over a three year span.

America the Beautiful presents Garren Taylor's story as a classic rise and fall, while managing to use it to get several messages across and correlate specific moment of her life to general negative associations with modeling and pressures to be physically perfect.

The film is an interesting one despite its' apparent bias. You'll find yourself marveling at what aspects of the film do and do not make you feel uncomfortable, and wondering what these things means about the affect of the beauty myth and the media on you.

The third instalment of America the Beautiful explores the sexualization of our youth and its harrowing consequences. Award-winning director Darryl Roberts teams up with industry experts to delve into the problematic reality behind child beauty pageants, teen pregnancy, and rape culture.


Beneath the glossy, doctored perfection of the images presented in pop culture, there is a dark underbelly leading us to question our cultural landscape. Who is at fault for perpetuating these harmful standards? Is it corporate greed in advertising? Is it pop culture? Could parents be to blame? Darryl Roberts speaks with industry experts like Jean Kilbourn, Carolyn Costin, Steven Genarro, and Gail Dines along with teenagers to answer these questions. In doing so he creates an honest portrait of this dangerously over-sexualized culture, while also highlighting the positive strides being made to bring change.


America the Beautiful III portrays how women grow up believing they only have two choices: to be desirable or invisible. While boys are raised in a porn culture that makes it difficult for them to conceptualize healthy relationships with women. This film looks beyond the superficial into the psyches of our youth and those that perpetrate this epidemic of over-sexualization.


             CITY                   THEATER                            ADDRESS                            SHOWTIME            TICKET

             Washington, DC                    E Street Theater                  555 11th Street NW, Washington, DC 20004                   7pm, 09/30/14                        RSVP

              New York, NY                         Quad Cinema                       34 W 13th St ##B, New York, NY 10011                         7pm, 10/10/14                        RSVP

            Los Angeles, CA                           NoHo 7                    5240 Lankershim Blvd, North Hollywood, CA 91601                 7pm, 10/19/14                       RSVP

                 Dallas, TX                              Magnolia                     3699 McKinney Ave, Suite 100, Dallas, TX 75204                  7pm, 10/20/14                       RSVP

               Houston, TX                           River Oaks                              2009 West Gray, Houston, TX 77019                            7pm, 10/22/14                       RSVP

          San Francisco, CA                           Clay                            2261 Filmore Street, San Francisco, CA 94115                   7pm, 11/03/14                       RSVP

               Portland, OR                                TBA                                                             TBA                                                         7pm, 11/04/14                       RSVP

               Seattle, WA                         Varsity Theater                   4329 University Way NE, Seattle, WA 98105                      7pm, 11/06/14                      RSVP

               Boston, MA                            Kendall One                             355 Binney St., Cambridge, MA 02139                          7pm, 11/10/14                      RSVP

           Philadelphia, PA                          Ritz East                    125 South Second Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106                  7pm, 11/12/14                      RSVP

               Atlanta, GA                           Midtown Art                                 931 Monroe Dr., Atlanta, GA 30308                            7pm, 11/17/14                      RSVP

                Miami, FL                         Paragon Grove 13              3015 Grand Ave. #322, Coconut Grove, FL 33133                 7pm, 11/19/14                      RSVP


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