Before she began her remarks at the podium, Jane Fonda pointed her digital camera at the 500 women and a few men packing the Paley Center auditorium on April 20th. We’d all paid somewhere between $50 and $5,000 to see D. A. Pennebaker’s 50-year old documentary Jane.
The film tracks Jane’s dismal flop in her first Broadway play at age 23. Afterward, we were to hear the actress discuss women’s self image with Precious star Gabourey Sidibe in a panel moderated by feminist star Gloria Steinem.
But first, Jane’s blog had to be fed, so she snapped her photo. She does her own blogging and a good bit of her own tweeting, and those social media are always hungry for content. I could relate. After posting at least daily during Women’s History Month, I have not been feeding my 9Ways blog properly. Today I begin anew with a promise to post at least twice a week so we can keep the conversation about women’s relationship with power that was started with the launch of No Excuses going.
But back to the evening’s program…Widely divergent in age and race, Jane and Gabourey found their key differences to be in their relationship with power, the locus of their power (inside versus looking outward for affirmation), and their concern about body image. Most notably, Gabby expressed love for herself whereas Jane still obsesses about her weight and appearance.
As Jane reported in her blog afterward: “Gabby was really amazing. I wish I had recorded some of the things she said. So wise and strong.”
The screening and panel discussion were a benefit for the Women’s Media Center, a nonprofit dedicated to making women visible and powerful in the media. Women currently make up only 16 percent of the expert “talking heads” on news and public affairs shows, and 3 percent of the top level positions that decide what the stories will be. I’m honored to serve on the WMC board to support women employing every medium to get their messages out and change those dismal statistics to 50/50.
What stories about women do you see in the media you watch or read?
How has the prevailing media narrative affected your self-image and sense of power?
I’m interested in your thoughts. Please share them here.