Jennifer Siebel Newsom remembers watching "Charlie's Angels" and "Wonder Woman" as a girl and, even then, knowing something wasn't quite right.
"They were communicating an unhealthy message we didn't realize at the time," Newsom said in a phone interview this week from San Francisco. "In some of those, a woman's value was in her appearance."
Newsom, an actress-turned-filmmaker, explores issues of how the media portrays women particularly women in positions of power and authority in her documentary, "Miss Representation."
The movie will screen tonight at 7 p.m. at the Logan Art House and Cinema, 795 N. Main St., Logan. It will screen again Thursday at 7 p.m. at two locations: the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, and Pleasant Valley Library, 5568 S. Adams Avenue Parkway, Ogden. Newsom will appear in person to answer questions at the Salt Lake City screening.
All screenings are free to the public.
Newsom said the film has been tweaked since it premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, where three of the movie's interview subjects activist Gloria Steinem and actresses Geena Davis and Daphne Zuniga also came out in support.
The movie looks at how media images of women shape the way people think about women especially when depicting women in power. Newsom interviewed such power players as former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and House Minority Leader (and, then, Speaker of the House) Nancy Pelosi, as well as media figures like Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow and Lisa Ling.
Newsom has witnessed sexism both in entertainment and in politics, which she has witnessed firsthand thanks to her husband, Gavin Newsom, who was San Francisco's mayor and is now California's lieutenant governor.
"Historically, you have institutional sexism, men in positions of power," Newsom said. "You need to have more men willing to hand over their power to women."
There's also a need to look with new appreciation at the unpaid labor of women as nurturers, caregivers and keepers of the home. "We haven't actually put a monetary value on that, and as a result of our culture, we therefore don't value that."
Newsom said she experienced "a real sense of sisterhood" from the women she interviewed. "I wasn't interested in interviewing women who didn't care about other women, or who were judgmental. That's not a path forward," she said. "I think what's lovely about our team [is that] some of us have kids, some don't and there's love and support around the female journey."
The documentary screens at several Utah venues:
• Thursday at 7 p.m., Utah Museum of Fine Arts, 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City. (Director Jennifer Siebel Newsom will speak in person at the screening.)
• Thursday at 7 p.m., Pleasant Valley Library, 5568 S. Adams Avenue Parkway, Ogden.
All screenings, presented by the Utah Film Center, are free to the public.