Miss Representation, Mazza, and waking from a dream
February 2, 2011
The WMC blog is featuring Progressive Girls’ Voices in dispatches from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, as our girl journalists attend feminist film screenings and interview notable leaders and directors. Watch this space for more.
By Mimi Erickson-Clayton
Mimi is a high school senior in Salt Lake City and has been involved with Planned Parenthood for three years. She is passionate about gay rights and teen education.
Today, I am in school, sitting in classes instead of wandering around Park City. Today, I can't believe that my short-lived trip into the wonderland of feminism has come to a close. There are messages I've learned over the past days that will stick with me–Danny Glover telling me to keep fighting, Robert Redford calling me "the answer," Gloria Steinem telling me that I, not she, am the inspiration.
Folks, I've found that I like my life to revolve around poetic moments, and my experience at Sundance ended perfectly. After a few crazy days of stressful, exciting, nerve-wracking fun, I sat down in the familiar Tower Theater to watch the movie that started it all. Miss Representation is the perfect film: it starts on a personal note, making the audience well up with tears. It juxtaposes statistics with emotional anecdotes, percentages with deep, heartfelt commentary. The film doesn't just present the viewer with a problem, but with suggestions about what to DO about it. It is a call to action in every sense.
The movie would have been incredible enough without the addition of Jennifer Siebel-Newsom in the audience, but that helped. She spoke as the lights rose, explaining and thanking and encouraging us all. The community screening was attended by people from every walk of life, and all of them were invited to "continue the conversation" at a reception at Mazza, a local middle eastern restaurant. So off we went, in hordes, to keep talking about everything. I reintroduced myself to Jennifer, and was received, literally, with open arms. I made the rounds, nibbling on baklava and animatedly discussing feminism with people I had never met for over an hour. That's where this volunteer stuff has made me a better person. I've never really been one to struggle with shyness, but at the end of the day I'm an introvert. Service, passion, and necessity have brought me out of my shell in a big way, so that I can encounter somebody I don't know and strike up a conversation. It feels incredibly liberating. I guess that's what feminism is all about.
One more thing: in Miss Representation, there's a lot of talk about the lack of positive women role models in America. Young people don't see powerful women, and "you can't be what you can't see". I believe in that latter statement, but I have to contest the first one. You wonderful women, taking the time to campaign for our future, are the most powerful role models in the world. Jennifer Newsom, Gloria Steinem, Geena Davis, Yana Walton: I'm talking to you. Thank you.