Country Day Conversations with Jennifer Siebel Newsom
January 30, 2020
7 – 9 p.m., Doors Open at 6:30 p.m.
Benvenuti Gym - new location
Join us for a special screening of Miss Representation, a documentary by filmmaker and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom exploring the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. Following the screening from 7 – 8:30 p.m., Ms. Newsom will discuss the film and answer questions.
This event is free and open to the public but RSVPs are requested by January 20.
About the Film
Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, Miss Representation exposes how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.
The film draws back a curtain to reveal a glaring reality we live with every day but fail to see – how the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women and girls makes it difficult for women to feel powerful and achieve leadership positions.
In a society where media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message we 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 33rd out of the 49 highest income countries when it comes to women in the national legislature. And it’s not better outside of government. Women make up only 4.6% of S&P 500 CEOs and 17% of directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films.
Stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists, and academics, like Katie Couric, Rosario Dawson, Gloria Steinem, Margaret Cho, Condoleezza Rice, Rachel Maddow, and Nancy Pelosi, build momentum as Miss Representation accumulates startling facts and statistics that will leave the audience shaken, but armed with a new perspective.
I remember when I found out I was pregnant with my first child, Montana – a girl – and everything came into focus. I looked around me and I was really frightened for her. At the time, I was working as an actor in Hollywood, in an entertainment industry where Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan were all tabloid fodder. I couldn’t imagine that my daughter could grow up to be emotionally healthy and fulfilled given our modern culture’s disregard, disrespect, and extreme sexualization of girls and women. I was compelled to make sense of all this for her and so Miss Representation was born.
In making the film, I found that today’s media is sending a very dangerous message that women’s value and power lie in their youth, beauty, and sexuality and not in their capacity to lead. These misrepresentations of women have worsened with the rise of the 24-7 news cycle, infotainment, and reality television. And, because American teenagers, on average, spend 10 hours and 45 minutes every day consuming media, children learn from these images. And as parents, it’s become increasingly difficult – if not impossible – to monitor and shelter our children from such limiting and destructive messages that disempower women and girls and lead boys and men to think women are weak, subordinate, and inferior. Miss Representation is my attempt to awaken people’s consciousness, to right this wrong, and to put our culture on a path that recognizes, values, and empowers women and girls.
When Miss Representation premiered in 2011 at the Sundance Film Festival, I was humbled by how hungry people were to discuss the ways that media and culture discourage women and girls from pursuing and achieving leadership. More than five years later, I continue to be regularly approached by folks of all backgrounds and walks of life, who tell me Miss Representation changed their lives. To-date, millions of people have seen the film across the globe, and it continues to screen two or three times per week somewhere in the world. We’ve created education curriculum on gender and media literacy to accompany Miss Representation, bringing the film and its themes to thousands of schools around the globe. Miss Representation has had a remarkable evergreen effect – one that continues to grow thanks to our incredible base of supporters.
To continue the change that Miss Representation started, it is imperative that we champion good media and challenge the bad. Millions have already done so by engaging with The Representation Project’s social action campaigns, such as #NotBuyingIt, #MediaWeLike, #AskHerMore, and #BeAModelMan. We hope that you will join us in holding companies, marketers, media makers, and influencers of all kinds accountable. After all, women hold more than 85 percent of America’s purchasing power, so we have the power to create the marketplace we want to see. We must stop consuming media that degrades, devalues, and demeans any group of people and celebrate those that defy limiting stereotypes.