California Governor's wife refuses to be called 'The First Lady'

Oyin Balogun
Jan 09, 2019
04:21 A.M.
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Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the wife of the governor of California, mentions her lack of affinity for the term "First Lady" and would rather be referred to as “First Partner,” - says it's a more inclusive term.


The new governor Newsom was inaugurated on Monday, 7th of January, making him the 40th Governor of California - the state that had been through so much horror of recent. His wife, 44-year-old actress Jennifer Siebel, proudly introduced him as the next governor of California. The whole ceremony was in front of families, friends, and associates.


The couple started dating in 2006 and got married in 2008 while he was still the Mayor of San Francisco; they have four children together. There was a cute moment where their youngest son interrupted his father's inaugural address.


Her decision to be called the First Partner is based primarily on her disposition towards gender equality. Jennifer's work targets on promoting female representation and inclusivity. Newsom left acting behind; claimed she was often given the trophy wife role, limiting her potentials. The actress later worked on films like; Mad Men, Valley of Elah, Something’s Gotta Give.


Before her acting career, the mother of four had graduated from Stanford University and Stanford Graduate School of Business with honors. She then worked in Africa and Latin America helping female entrepreneurs create and maintain their own socially and environmentally responsible businesses.

Jennifer has always advocated for gender neutrality, while still acting Siebel wrote, directed and produced the award-winning documentary: Miss Representation. The movie channeled towards exposing the under-representation of women of power and influence in America; also the limitations women face in the society.


Her second film as a director "The Mask You Live In" was based on social pressure men faces; how America's limiting definition of masculinity is harming boys, men and the society at large. The film debuted at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. A third movie is to debut in January: The Great American Lie. A study of economic immobility through the perspective of gender.

Newsom also has a non-profit organization, The Representation Project, which uses social media and films to fight gender stereotypes in society.


Ironically, with Siebel as the First Partner of California, she is in one of the highest positions of Authority in the country. Now, her work as the first partner would compliment her husband's, as the governor of the state.

According to her, the choice to be called "first partner" is to effect cultural change. Any form of change is usually a sensitive issue especially when it questions old norms.

People on social media are split on their views on the choice to be called "First Partner," some are of the view that it makes no sense, a Twitter user wrote, “you are trying too hard.” Others have applauded the new first partner for her courage and decision to root for social change and gender equality.

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