Miss Representation

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, filmmaker and wife of California governor to be called ‘first partner,’ not ‘first lady’

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, a filmmaker and activist who is married to newly inaugurated California Governor Gavin Newsom, will not adopt the ‘first lady’ title that is traditionally used to refer to the governor’s spouse. Instead, as the Huffington Post reports, Siebel Newsom will go by “first partner.”

She is already using the title on Twitter, and the governor’s official website likewise refers to her as “first partner.” Speaking to Politico last year, Siebel Newsom explained that she preferred this term “because we’re going to have a female governor someday soon.”

“[I]t opens up the opportunity for any couple to really step in, and that’s exciting to me,” she added.

Throughout her career, Siebel Newsom has advocated for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Her 2011 documentary Miss Representation explored the often-degrading portrayal of women in popular media, and how this phenomenon translates to women’s disproportionately low representation in positions of power. Her 2015 film, The Mask You Live In, delved into the ways in which cultural definitions of masculinity can be harmful to men and boys.

Siebel Newsom is also the founder of the Representation Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to combat gender stereotypes.

Her husband, fittingly, has been a supporter of LGBTQ and women’s rights. “The work I do really parallels and complements Gavin’s work,” Siebel Newsom told the Los Angeles Times in November, “because it’s about awakening people’s consciousness, shifting hearts and minds, attitudes and behaviors.”

Read more at the Huffington Post.

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