What parents can do in a culture of hyper-sexualization and pornography

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, MBA discusses the problem of how women are portrayed in the media, and how parents can counteract these negative forces
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What parents can do in a culture of hyper-sexualization and pornography

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With the advent of info-tainment and reality TV, and the acknowledgement that the porn industry has a lot of power, we're in a day and an age that many liken to be the porno-fication of mainstream media. Whether it's reality TV shows or tabloid magazines, everywhere you look, women are being sexualized and objectified to extremes. And it's really confusing, not only to young girls, but to young boys, who are being fed this narrative that women are there purely for the male gaze, that their value in life lies in their youth, their beauty and their sexuality. And it's extremely harmful. I would liken it to a race to the bottom, where media companies are trying to attract eyeballs, get attention, and with so much media coming at us 24/7 in all different directions - at the bus stop, at the magazine stand, on the freeway, unfortunately we're relying on old misnomers that sex is the only thing that sells. And it's not helping us raise healthy children.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, MBA discusses the problem of how women are portrayed in the media, and how parents can counteract these negative forces

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Jennifer Siebel Newsom, MBA

Filmmaker & Social Justice Advocate

An advocate for women, girls, and their families, Jennifer Siebel Newsom uses her skills as a filmmaker, speaker, and CEO of the non-profit social action organization MissRepresentation.org to uncover the glaring injustices we live with every day yet fail to adequately see and ultimately change.  

The eldest of four girls (Jennifer lost her elder sister Stacey in an accident when they were kids), Jennifer dedicates her time and energy to helping our most vulnerable. Most recently, Jennifer has focused her energies on helping individuals recognize their power as consumers and citizens to right wrongs in the media and beyond. 

After graduating with honors from Stanford University and Stanford’s Graduate School of Business, Jennifer worked in Africa and Latin America, helping women entrepreneurs create their own socially and environmentally responsible businesses.

She then moved to Hollywood to pursue acting, quickly landing roles in TV and film including Mad Men, LIFE, In the Valley of Elah, Rent and Something’s Gotta Give.

There - dismayed by the way women were presented in front of the camera - she realized she needed to do more work behind the camera. 

So she wrote, directed and produced the documentary film, Miss Representation, which exposes the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence in America and challenges the media’s limited and often disparaging portrayals of women, which make it difficult for the average woman and girl to feel powerful herself. 

The film premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and was picked up by Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network. Newsom subsequently launched MissRepresentation.org, a social action campaign whose mission is to shift people’s consciousness, inspire individual and community action, and transform culture.

Soon she landed on Newsweek's List of "150 Fearless Women Who Shake the World", Fast Company’s “League of Extraordinary Women”, and San Francisco Business Times’ “Most Influential Women in Business”. 

Newsom has received the “Emerging Artist Award” from The White House Project, “Champion for Kids” award from Common Sense Media, and the “Visionary Award” from Vision 2020, among others.  She has been featured in media outlets such as NPR, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News, Forbes, The Chicago Tribune, O Magazine, and Vogue

An internationally recognized speaker, Newsom has spoken at The World Bank, TEDxWomen, Google, Deutsche Bank, Charles Schwab, Fortune’s Most Powerful Women’s Summit, Soroptimist International of the Americas Conference, Harvard University, MIT, The California Senate, and The National Coalition of Girls Schools to name a few. 

Today, when she’s not running her non-profit MissRepresentation.org, Newsom serves as a board member for PBS’s Northern California affiliate KQED, a Global Advisory Board member of the Dove Self Esteem Project (DSEP), and a commissioner on the Girl Scouts’ Healthy MEdia Commission. 

In 2012 Jennifer was also an Executive Producer of the Oscar-Nominated documentary, The Invisible War, which unveils the epidemic of rape in the U.S. military. And, she is currently writing, directing, and producing her next documentary series, The Mask You Live In, which exposes the extremes of masculinity imposed on our boys and men and the resulting sociological, economic, and political impact.

Newsom resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and is the proud mother of Montana, Hunter, and Brooklynn.

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