Editorial By Alice
Did you know that when you google ‘platform for women’s voices’ the first website on display is for shoes at Macy’s? Really?! What’s it going to take for gender equality to land and stay in our society? Not that men are that much better off online; the first result for ‘platform for men’s voices’ is how to find a job and let’s be honest— a new pair of shoes beats a job any day of the week.
In the 1960s, when women were burning their bras and refusing to settle for secretarial work as their life’s dream, it must have felt like real change was coming up; just around the next bend… But in hindsight, did we gain significant ground? Women today have to work outside and in the home, and our voices are still shushed in the male-dominated arenas of big business and government.
Not that we haven’t seen progress towards equal rights in this country, it’s just that we were expecting to see far bigger strides in fifty years… For Pete’s sake we’re still waiting for the Equal Rights Amendment to be ratified. And in some states it actually feels like we’re sliding backwards instead of moving toward a platform of equality and respect. Sexual harassment is prevalent in our society because we sit back and do nothing while the president of our country brags about his unwanted sexual advances, Hollywood glorifies rape in sex scenes, and women are still shamed for their wardrobe choice after molestation.
Now –for the first time in recent memory– a producer has been stripped of his power and prestige because of his inappropriate actions; actions that were going on all along (and still are) but were never featured in the spotlight of America’s eight-second attention span. Throughout the scandal we just kept thinking: why is everyone acting so shocked? Since when is this even news? Every woman we know has had to deal with sexual harassment in one form or another, but apparently it takes a scandal of red carpet proportions to get the attention of the media beast.
A-list actors like Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek, and Angelina Jolie have come forth to make their opinions known about Harvey’s sleazy escapades, and now exposure is snowballing to other areas like the media, politics, the coffee shop on the corner… It’s not just about protesting against the Harvey Weinsteins of the world –the rich and powerful men who make and break careers by any means handy, all moral compass and respect aside. It’s about anyone anywhere who thinks it’s perfectly fine to patronize, frighten or try to control someone weaker, smaller, or poorer, for the sake of profit, fame, power, etc. More broadly, it’s about sexual slavery, it’s about child abuse, and it’s about domestic violence.
It’s about the male boss who incorrectly mansplains every detail of your project to you, and after he’s finished, without a cursory read, hands it to one of your male colleagues to “tighten up.” It’s about the male customer who believes it’s acceptable to slap his server’s ass as she walks by. It’s about the fragile, egocentric male frat boy who rapes a coed at a party because his bros are egging him on. But times are changing. Boys will not be boys; they will be held accountable for their actions. At least, it looks like that’s where we’re headed, and celebrities especially have a choice to make; use their voices to cast a wide net of equality and fairness or admit that they are just as guilty of said bad behavior.
Host Samantha Bee, during her “Full Frontal” monologue Oct. 11, 2017, noted that the liberal Democrats in Hollywood are outspoken on President Trump’s sexual misconduct, but are mum about Weinstein. There’s still hope, however. “Showbiz is finally starting to clean house,” she said. “Only a little, but it is something. So listen up creeps of Hollywood, we know who you are. Women talk to each other. It’s 2017. We don’t have to put up with this shit.”
How are women supposed to catch a break in this dick-centric repellent yet apparently growing epidemic of sexual harassment and exploitation if the men and women who find it abhorrent don’t speak up? If both sexes don’t realize that it’s a human issue, and not a gender specific issue? Forget your pride, your pocket books, and your careers. Think about your moral conscience, and creating a time when women and men are equal, when everyone is valued for his/her abilities and accomplishments, and when this behavior is no longer acceptable conduct.
Actor Lena Dunham wrote about this very topic in a New York Times editorial on Oct. 9, 2017. Lena, who has come forward to reveal her own sexual abuse, says that the solution is for other men (and women) who are aware of this Hollywood victimization to come forward as well. And finally, we raise a glass to ever-clever and classy Carrie Fisher, who knew how to stand up for herself and others- proving this world is for the worse without her. After a friend relayed her story of sexual harassment by a famous producer, Carrie took him a cow’s tongue wrapped in a Tiffany’s box with a succinct note on what kind of meat he would find in the next gift box if he didn’t leave her friend the hell alone. Boom! Lesson learned.