Media misrepresentation central topic at SHU Speaks

Award-winning filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom spoke at the 2014 SHU Speaks event on Wednesday, Mar. 26.

Newsom talked about her documentary, “Miss Representation,” a film showing how women are portrayed to audiences misrepresented in the media.

Newsom is a filmmaker, actress, mother and wife.

She said she grew up just like young women are now; with the same ideas being ingrained into her head on how you are supposed to look according to society.

Newsom mentioned, however, that in a family of five girls, they were all taught to be leaders.

The presentation started with a clip of Newsom’s film, which showed people such as Katie Couric, Condoleeza Rice and teenage girls speaking on the topic of how women are misrepresented in the media and how this is becoming a rising issue.

Newsom started her speech off with a story on how when her son was born. Newsom and her husband received a letter and a t-shirt with “future president” printed on it from the president and first lady, but received nothing when her two girls were born.

“To be a man is to be independent, stoic and in control,” she said.

Young girls were interviewed in the clip and shared their stories on how they struggle because they are constantly trying to keep up with what the world “expects” them to be. One girl said her sister self-harms and because of this, she is trying to take a stand and stop this ongoing problem.

When asked why she wanted to take a stand against this problem Newsom said, “I was in the entertainment industry at the time that Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan were all in the tabloids and I couldn’t imagine raising a child, a daughter in particular, in a climate that so demeaned, ridiculed and objectified women and girls.”

Newsom said that media is harming future generations, “It is distracting our girls, killing their confidence and ambition.”

Newsom said she was told by her agent that she had to lie about her age and take away her MBA from Stanford University in order to become an actress. She not only noticed the misrepresentations of women, but also the under representations of women.

Newsom said that our “reality” shows that are not even reality, are being watched all across the world and it is leaving an impact on such a broad span of people. She labeled it as “Hollywood trash.”

She said most of what you watch on TV comes from male perspective, which is why women are constantly being misrepresented and looked at as objects and sex symbols.

Newsom launched the Representation Project, which gave money to national organizations that helped empower females. The Representation Project is not only for women and girls, but also for boys and men. Pledges can be made at therepresentationproject.org.

The main goal Newsom is aiming for with her documentaries and projects is equality for all genders, races and religions.

Newsom said she hopes her next documentary, “The Mask You Live In,” will be out next fall. “Miss Representation” can be found on Netflix.

The Students Activities Board, with the help of Adelante, Alpha Gamma Delta, Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Sigma Phi, Chi Upsilon Sigma, Lambda Tau Omega and Women for Women International, made it possible for Newsom to come to Seton Hall University.

Jordyn Puchino can be reached at jordyn.puchino@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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