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Ethics of Representation in Media: The Status of Women

On March 15 and 16, the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College, in collaboration with the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, is hosting the conference Global Media: Ethics of Representation, exploring our culture’s values as they pertain to the creation of media.

As part of the conference, NYWIFT is co-presenting a discussion on the status of women in front of, and behind, the camera. Recent research reveals decisive evidence that female characters in popular entertainment are frequently marginalized and stereotyped, and that gender inequality is prevalent on screen—as well as behind the camera.

This panel will look at the representation of women in film and television and the consequences of such stereotyping in a society where media plays a powerful part in shaping our cultural norms. We will explore the impact that increasing the number of women working behind the scenes in positions of authority has on the number and diversity of female characters, and discuss whether or not improving female roles on screen translates to a greater quality of life and more real world opportunities for women and girls.

Marjorie Rosen is an associate professor in the Department of Journalism, Communication, and Theatre at Lehman College. She was also a faculty fellow at the CUNY Graduate Center's Center for Place, Culture and Politics. An author and journalist, her books include Popcorn Venus: Women, Movies, and the American DreamBoom Town: How Wal-Mart Transformed an All-American Town into an International Community, Mia and Woody: Love and Betrayal (with Kristi Groteké), and the novel What Nigel Knew (co-authored). A former editor at The New York Times Magazine and senior writer at People, Rosen has written for publications as varied as The Daily News, Film Comment, Glamour, Ms, and The New York Times.  

Susan Seidelman is the director of The Hot Flashes, starring Brooke Shields, which is scheduled for release this year. She began her filmmaking career in 1982 with Smithereens, which screened at Cannes Film Festival. It was followed by such studio films as Desperately Seeking Susan, Cookie, and She Devil, and independent films like Boyton Beach Club. She has directed for TV, including the pilot and several episodes of Sex and the City for HBO, and most recently, episodes of The Electric Company. Seidelman was nominated for an Oscar in 1994 for the short film The Dutch Master.

Melissa Silverstein is the founder and editor of Women and Hollywood. Silverstein is also the artistic director and co-founder of the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College in NYC. Her work has been featured on CNN, and in Salon and the New York Times, among other outlets. She has been a part of social media marketing campaigns for such films as The Iron Lady and Bend it Like Beckham, and has worked on public education campaigns including Take Our Daughters to Work Day. She was the founding project director for The White House Project and prior to that, was the chief of staff at the Ms. Foundation for Women. She recently published In Her Voice: Women Directors Talk Directing.

Jae Je Simmons
is the New York Executive Director of SAG-AFTRA. She joined the staff of the Screen Actor's Guild in 1998. Previously, she was vice president and director of client services at the Terrie Williams Agency, Diversity Program Executive for the Texaco Corporation, and had a stint at the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs.  

Dorothy Rompalske (moderator) is a writer/filmmaker and an adjunct assistant professor in the Film Department at Brooklyn College. Her feature script Pilgrimage is currently in development. Among her credits are Good Fortune (producer/director/writer); and as screenwriter, Cinema Combat: Hollywood Goes to War, for AMC cable; Reflections on Media Ethics; and the episode Quitting Cold, for the TV series Here is New York, which won an Emmy for series writing. She has also worked as a script doctor for Universal Pictures. Rompalske is a former NYWIFT Board Member, and has served as chief administrator of Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI).

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Co-sponsored by
NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.