Facebook CFO Sheryl Sandberg has taught women to “Lean In” and “Ban Bossy,” but what happens when they enter a leadership role? How are they portrayed around the office and in the media? These kinds of questions are asked in Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s documentary “Miss Representation.”
Newsom, a filmmaker and advocate for women, wrote, directed and produced the 2011 Sundance-selected documentary film to “expose the media’s inaccurate portrayals of women, which have led to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence” according to her website.
Following the film’s national broadcast debut on the Oprah Winfrey Network, “Miss Representation” has become more than a film, but a movement with screenings all over the country. Seeing the need for the message to be shared, Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast and Junior League of Pensacola (JULEP) decided to host a screening of the film.
“When you think of Bill and Hillary Clinton, we don’t comment on Bill’s ties or suits, but turn on the TV or open a magazine and there’s lots of comments about Hillary’s hair or clothes,” said Theresa Cserep, fundraising chair for JULEP.
Cserep, a member since 2003, is also a senior training specialist for the University of West Florida Continuing Education program. As a mother in the professional world, Cserep has encountered her own share of misjudgments.
“I’ve had people tell me, ‘But you have three kids, how do you do it?’ No one ever says that to my husband,” she said. “I can still be a mom, go to the gym, volunteer and work.”
When Cserep first viewed “Miss Representation” she was blown away.
“It was really thought provoking,” she said. “It made me go home and talk to my daughters about what they are capable of achieving.”
Women in different positions of power including Jane Fonda, Rachel Maddow, Condoleezza Rice, Margaret Cho and Katie Couric are just a handful of women in the film that share their thoughts and experiences on women and the media.
“The fact that media are so derogatory to the most powerful women in the country, what does it say about media’s ability to take any woman in America seriously?” asked Jennifer Pozner, executive director of Women in Media & News, in the film’s trailer.
In March, Sandberg’s star-studded “Ban Bossy” campaign sparked interest, both positive and negative, for urging to stop using the word bossy. But Cserep respectively disagrees.
“At some point you do need to be bossy,” she said.
To spark these types of discussions, the “Miss Representation” screening will be more of an event than just a movie viewing with an hour of networking along with light refreshments courtesy of Roly Poly of Pensacola and other local businesses.
Susan Young, a motivational keynote speaker in the Gulf Coast area, will be introducing the film.
“I think women are interested in opportunities to have connections,” Cserep explained.
“Bring a girlfriend, have a snack, watch the movie and then discuss it.”
In Pensacola, there are opportunities to network and build confidence through organizations like JULEP and Powerful Women of the Gulf Coast, as well as Leadership Pensacola and Pensacola Young Professionals.
Through her work with JULEP, Cserep said she has gained skills that have played a part in her professional development.
“The Junior League’s motto is ‘Women Building Better Communities,’” she said. “Because of the organization, I know I can keep a good agenda, volunteer schedule and run a committee. I’m also better at public speaking. I’ve definitely carried these skills over to my career.”
However, don’t think that men are excluded from the conversation.
“Absolutely the event is open to men and women,” Cserep said. “I think they can all benefit from this screening.”
The event is also a chance to give back to the community with donations to Suit Yourself Women’s Closet at First United Methodist Church being accepted. Suit Yourself provides women who cannot afford new suits proper business attire for job interviews. A leadership book drive will also be held in hopes that everyone leaves with a new educational resource.
The Gulf Coast Kid’s House, which provides services to abused and neglected children in Escambia County, will also be in attendance providing a popcorn bar during the movie. All proceeds will go back to the local non-profit.
Sharing the message of “Miss Representation,” Cserep hopes that men and women alike will leave the screening compelled to talk to their daughters, just like she did.
“A young girl shouldn’t say ‘I’ll just become a nurse instead of a physician,’” she said. “I want girls to do anything they want in life without being held back.”
WHEN: 5 p.m. Friday, May 2
WHERE: Pensacola State College, Student Center
DETAILS: R.S.V.P at facebook.com/PowerfulWomenoftheGulfCoast
Take the pledge to challenge society’s limiting representations on gender by visiting therepresentationproject.org.
Women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population, however women comprise only 20 percent of congress.
35 women have served as U.S. governors compared to 2,319 men.
U.S. women continue to earn $.77 to every dollar that men earn.
Between 1937 and 2005, there were only 13 female protagonists in animated films. All of them except one had the aspiration of finding romance.
In Nancy Pelosi’s four years as Speaker of the House, she has been on the cover of zero national weekly magazines.
Women own only 5.8 percent of all television stations and 6 percent of radio stations.