Monday, October 10, 2011


I live in Los Altos/ Palo Alto.  This means that i am near many of the movers and shakers who make our world what it is.  Last Thursday night I was lucky enough to get an invitation to preview the new documentary Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebel Newsom.  I dragged my 17 year old filmmaker friend along, and was delighted to catch up to another feminist friend from a womens organization I belong to.

For the next hour and a half or so I watched images and commentary about  women in America and how we are consistently and constantly subjagated, objectified, put down, dismissed, invalidated, infantalized, and ridiculed for our power.

I didn't disagree with any of it.

I have seen such documentaries before.  Killing Us Softly by Jean Kilbourne and Tough Guise by Jackson Katz, but both of these stopped at the gender role representations and body images within media only.  Jen's went to politics, economics, and even to a personal place.   She spoke of her struggle with an eating disorder.  Her situation is her own in regards to this, but the struggle is one that we all know, whether or not the eating disorder became full blown.  We all struggle with self comfort vs the fear of rejection.

In the audience, I hesitated to ask my question, and let a couple of other people go first.  I finally just asked.  Where?  I want to know, does the fear come from?  And have we named it?  Because it seems to me that until we can name this fear of women in power, we cannot address it completely.

It has been nibbled at, chewed on, provided fodder for conversation and yet, and yet, it is not yet named.

How do we name this thing?

I sent Jen an email beginning the conversation around this question. If you want to join in, then please watch Miss Representation on the OWN Network on October 19th with this question in mind, and chime into the conversation.  Jen and I are interested.

And if, like my 17 year old friend, you think you somehow don't have the chops or experience to chime in, I have one question for you: do you have a vagina?  If THAT answer is yes, then you have something to say simply by virtue of living the life you have lived.  If that answer is no, chime in anyway.

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