How girls are taught to be enemies

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, MBA talks about how women are taught to compete with each other and the responsibility of parents to end this culture of competition
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How girls are taught to be enemies

So our media really does a disservice to us all when it pits women against each other. And we need to not buy into that as a culture. As parents we need to have conversations with both our daughters and our sons when we're consuming media or exposed to media that pits women against each other and really talk about what's really going on. And what's really going on is this notion of scarcity, that there aren't enough women for all of us. And because women have been an oppressed community, just as other people of different racial and sexual orientation have been oppressed communities, there is this sense of scarcity, that there isn't enough room for us all, that there's only room for one at the top. But I'm here to remind us all that there's plenty of room. A rising tide lifts all boats. And that's really critical to the - to gender equality. We recognize that we're in this together, that we need each other, and if change is ever going to happen we need to be there to hold each other's hands. It takes a village. It takes a village to ultimately achieve equality. As for mothers, it's really important that we mothers not gossip and criticize and demean and disrespect other women in front of our kids. I think it just plays into this notion that women are catty, bitchy, manipulative, etc. And men, it doesn't help, and it drives me nuts when men say, they're just being competitive. Or oh, she's just jealous. I mean, it's ridiculous. It's very short-sighted. It's very limited. It's very uneducated to think that. So I think we need to have deeper, more educated conversations around what's really going on, which is that there is oppression, there's this notion of scarcity. And then recognize that if we're going to change anything, we need to celebrate each other.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, MBA talks about how women are taught to compete with each other and the responsibility of parents to end this culture of competition


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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 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, 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, 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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