Celebrating Women in the Media

What we see and hear and read in the media has so much influence on how we understand and appreciate ourselves. So often our voices and stories are missing, or misinterpreted.
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I'm convinced that one of the most important tasks before us is to achieve true equality and diversity in the media. That's why I co-founded The Women's Media Center, a non-profit that has as its main aim, "Making Women Visible and Powerful in the Media." What we see and hear and read in the media has so much influence on how we understand and appreciate ourselves -- our accomplishments and contributions to society. So often our voices and stories are missing, or misinterpreted. It can have life and death consequences, so it means more than just "fairness."

That's why one of the first things the WMC did was create a radio network -- GreenStone Media -- the first woman owned, run and hosted radio network -- so that women can have the chance to shape the conversation. It's why our website at The Women's Media Center links you to women columnists, bloggers and media organizations -- and provides in-depth essays you won't find anywhere else. It's also why the New York premiere of my next movie, Georgia Rule, will benefit The Women's Media Center -- to continue work I believe is so necessary.

A few words about the movie -- which I really enjoyed making. As you may know, I took a long break from filmmaking. One of the reasons I'm back is to make sure the real life projects I've started have sufficient funding.

Georgia Rule is about three generations of women from the same family who are constantly in conflict, but revelations that come out about the past lead to forgiveness and understanding.

The men in Georgia Rule help the healing of the three women by support, love and by telling the truth.

The story is about a teenage girl in San Francisco who is so rebellious her mother sends her to Idaho to spend the summer with her stern grandmother. That would be me. I play Georgia, a strong woman who has a lot of rules that don't always help the situation, but they help her. Georgia is sometimes violent, which is fun to play.

My granddaughter is a rebellious teenager (played by Lindsey Lohan), who screams, swears, drinks and is -- in a word -- uncontrollable. With her latest car crash, Rachel has broken the final rule in my daughter Lilly's (Golden Globe winner Felicity Huffman) San Francisco home. With nowhere else to take the impulsive and rambunctious girl, Lilly hauls her daughter to the one place she swore she'd never return...her own mother's Idaho home.

Georgia is not your typical sweet and doting grandmother. She lives her life by a number of unbreakable rules, demanding anyone who shares her home do the same -- God is respected, hard work is expected and a tight schedule is never forsaken. Now saddled with raising the young woman, it will require each patient breath Georgia takes to understand Rachel's fury.

However, as Rachel succumbs to her Idaho summer of misery and shakes up the tiny Mormon town, Georgia notices something is changing within her granddaughter. Given structure and responsibilities, Rachel is letting her guard down and learning compassion. Her journey will lead all three women to revelations of buried family secrets and a hopeful understanding that -- regardless what happens -- the ties that bind should bind.

It's a story of forgiveness, understanding and truth told with honesty and great humor, compassionately and carefully directed by the wonderful Garry Marshall.

I think women of all ages will relate to this movie -- as will men, who find women complex, but fascinating.

Georgia Rule opens throughout the country on Friday, May 11th. More information is available on The Women's Media Center website. To listen to our radio network online, go to www.greenstonemedia.net.

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