Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

April 4, 2013

Sexism documentary to be screened


— There will be a local screening of "Miss Representation" at 6:30 p.m. April 25 at WFYI, 1630 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis.

"Miss Representation" first premiered in the documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival, where it caught the eye of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. It made its television debut as part of the OWN documentary film club in October 2011, with more than 1.3 million people tuning in to its multiple airings. Additional screenings with corporations, non-profits, religious groups, government organizations, and communities are happening every day all over the world.

Written and directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, "Miss Representation" exposes how mainstream media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. The film 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.

"Miss Representation" includes stories from teenage girls and provocative interviews with politicians, journalists, entertainers, activists, and academics like Condoleezza Rice, Lisa Ling, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, Rosario Dawson, Jackson Katz, Jean Kilbourne, and Gloria Steinem. For more information, visit the website www.missrepresentation.org.

"We are thrilled to have so many outreach opportunities for 'Miss Representation'," said Newsom. "This film was made to be a change agent in our culture, to inspire both women and men to recognize women's collective voice, leadership capacity, and equal rights."

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 strides in leadership over the past few decades, the United States is 90th in the world in terms of women in national legislatures, women hold only 3 percent of clout positions in mainstream media, and 65 percent of women and girls have disordered eating.

Tickets may be purchased online at www.juliancenter.org, with all sales benefiting The Julian Center. Wine, beer, and appetizers will be served. After the screening, there will be community/panel discussion led by Ann DeLaney. Panelists include Jennifer Pope Baker, executive director of Women's Fund of Central Indiana; Melina Kennedy, director of executive communications at Cummins, Inc.; Gail Thomas Strong, WFYI vice president for community engagement; and Patricia Wachtel, president and CEO of Girls, Inc.

"Miss Representation" was selected from the Sundance line-up to be part of the OWN Documentary Film Club.

"Through personal stories and provocative interviews, Jennifer crystallizes the relevance of the media and its portrayal of women in today's society," said Lisa Erspamer, chief creative officer for OWN.

The distribution of the film "Miss Representation" has been the catalyst for a social action campaign led by MissRepresentation.org. The campaign seeks to empower women and girls and provide them with new opportunities to realize their full potential.