In the Wake of Weinstein
I’m not an idiot. I’ve known since I first started getting harassed (at a ripe age of 14), that there is a power struggle between men and women. It’s unfair, and as I get older I learn to fight back in the struggle for power. Talk back, don’t let men think that they can speak to me like that. Even sometimes risking my safety to make a point. What else am I going to do?
This is easy for me. I’ve always been outspoken, almost to a fault. When I told my parents I wanted to become an actress, it made sense to them.
I went to college and studied theatre, also learning about the industry. I knew the dirty underbelly of “casting couches” and knowing that whatever role I received I would probably have to lose weight regardless.
I worked on some sets, behind and in front of the camera, and I saw firsthand that women were the minority. (For starters, I’m one of the few female writers on this blog). Thankfully, I was never put in a situation that made me uncomfortable. The people on set just wanted to create art and work hard. That’s what you assume of anyone in a creative field.
Flash forward to now, in the slew of sexual harassment cases against men in the TV/movie industry. Hundreds of strong women telling their stories in hopes that something is done. Things have changed, which is amazing, but I’m still left with worry. As a newbie in the field, I just want anything to come my way. I’m hungry for opportunity and for someone to give me a chance. We all are.
These women were in my position when these assaults happened, and it was the same song and dance. Don’t say anything, or else you’ll ruin your career. No one will want to work with you if you are “difficult”. Even Terry Crews, a black man in the industry, faced the same crossroads. Do I say anything? Do I want to work?
These actors never came forward, until now. They knew the consequences if they broke their silence before. Blacklisted. It was only till they were popular enough and felt safe in their careers to speak out.
To the naysayers of this idea that victims of sexual assault wait till it’s beneficial to them to speak out. Take a look at Aurora Perrineau, who accused “Girls” writer Murray Miller of assaulting her. She starred in small roles in projects that Miller worked on, and didn’t have enough clout to even be believed by popular self-proclaimed “feminist” Lena Dunham. If women who are proponents of women need a longer IMDB list to support these accusations, what can the lowliest of the low do?
What is to be done by newcomers in the industry? Do we speak out now that we hold the red A’s of assailant? Or do we say nothing and take our checks, creating another cycle of inappropriate men that gain power in this profession. For starters, Ellen Page came out and apologized for working with Woody Allen. Her explanation says it all:
“I had yet to find my voice and was not who I am now and felt pressured, because ‘of course you have to say yes to this Woody Allen film.’”
This is a good start, understanding that putting money in the pockets of inappropriate men only makes them think their actions are okay. It’s a start. If I can end this article with any hope, it’s that the power struggle is changing. Bit by bit. All-around badass Gal Godot refused to continue with the “Wonder Woman” franchise unless an accused crew member was taken off the film. (Honestly, just use “Wonder Woman” as a shining light in your life.) More women filmmakers and content creators are getting attention, and more women are summoning up the courage to report these crimes.
The men who are tormenting our industry are getting what they’ve earned, and that’s all we can hope for. For now.