Tuesday, December 19, 2017

If this keeps up...

There will be four actors left in Hollywood, no producers and damn few "celebrities"

Trouble is, once something like this gets rolling, it's hard to tell who really belongs on the bandwagon and who just hitched a ride because they like the attention. 

It becomes a judgement call, about what constitutes harassment, or flirting, or affection, or accidental bumps in the hallway,  and what started out as mutual but apparently went bad quickly is now one person's way of getting revenge (and don't some people  have LONG fishing rods when it comes to revenge) 3 or 5 or even 10  years later.  I think the magic word is "perspective". 

My perception of  rape, or groping, or affection, will be vastly different than someone else's. It has to do with your age, your comfort zone, and your sense of self . 

I applaud those women who come forward, it takes a lot of courage to do that, to admit that they were treated this badly.  I just hope it doesn't become a feeding frenzy for disgruntled women who were denied movie roles, or raises, or were fired or never called back for a second interview--or were turned down if THEY made the first move.

Part of the problem is that women have been taught to be polite, to 'respect their elders' and those in a position of authority.   My mother always said,  'listen to the doctor, he knows what's best".  No, mother, not always.  We have to unlearn that kind of teaching when confronted with something that makes us queasy, or uncomfortable.  We have to learn to say "no" as if we mean it.

"No" is one of the hardest things to say, for a woman. Not "I don't THINK so..." or "not really" or "not now" or "probably not..."  all of those mean "no" to any woman, but they mean "maybe" to a man.  Saying "no" without qualifiers feels abrupt, brusque, and rude.   Saying it to someone who has the power to hire or fire you sounds like instant career suicide, and often is--he knows it, too, and uses that as a lever. 

One word. That's all it takes. No drama, no whiney sounds.  Just a good, solid "NO."  and leave. 

4 comments:

  1. Good topic Mittens! Also, in the current social climate, one that's hard to discuss without running afoul of "social justice". I'm gonna run at it anyway. Not my first go around with the overly opinionated :) First off, I'm a man, so much of what women have to deal with just being in public is beyond my experience and so in that regard I'm not really qualified to say how women should feel on the subject. I've seen the "social boundaries" evaporate over the years, I remember a time when young men didn't catcall or act unseemly toward a woman because it wasn't acceptable behavior.

    I've never in my recollection ever had to worry about being hired or promoted based on decisions I might have to make regarding my employer wanting sex. Putting subordinates in that position is just wrong. To create an environment that normalizes the idea that "business" is conducted in one's hotel room or home is pretty skeevy too.

    Here's the thing. If someone ever called me late at night to go to a non business setting, the answer would be no. Not even almost a maybe. If that means I don't get the "whatever" that's being proffered then so be it. Now there's some that would say that's victim blaming those who felt like they didn't have any choice but to put themselves in that situation. I think you'd have to be pretty naive about how the world works to not understand what's at stake there. Are the sexual predators wrong? Absolutely. Should they be punished? Every last one. All I'm wondering about is how grey is an area supposed to get before it's partially considered personal responsibility?

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    1. Some women have hides like rhinos when this sort of thing occurs, and are fully capable of walking out when it happens. And i'm sure they do.

      But most women, as I stated above, have a great deal of difficulty with saying "no" to a man in power. It's ingrained in them from birth, and men like this know it. They take advantage of that.
      Thank you for answering this, it's making me think a bit harder.

      Passivity is as much taught as inborn. Young girls need heavy schooling in learning how to say no, and mean it, and walk away. No matter who he is.

      When you learn at mother's knee that male authority figures 'always know what's best for you" and you begin to believe it, you can end up the way those women did, and traumatized in the process.

      I guess at this point it comes down to someone weighing their value as a woman, against what this man can--and will--do for her as an aspiring performer, dancer, whatever, and passively permitting this dreadfulness to happen, and live with the consequences.

      Where I lose a great deal of sympathy for a so-called abused victim is when she suddenly recalls that a famous person once held her hand "inappropriately", or touched her hair, or made a dirty joke in her presence...them's is either in it for the publicity value, or the money, or revenge because he's a man and he deserves it. No grey area there, nope.
      And one of the problems with this kind of predation, is that not everyone will admit it's happening to them. They are so busy trying to protect their own good rep, and core, that they let other women down, in the process.

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    2. Yes, there's a passivity mindset to contend with. More so from folks of my generation than say, millenials. The other big thing is how we present ourselves in the world. For many ladies it's all about being put together in public, and how they dress and act is an expression of that identity. For actresses I would imagine it's being "pretty" and "sexy". That would make them vulnerable to unrealistic expectations about their appearance and how far they might be willing to go to be "good enough" to be accepted in Hollywood. It can't be an easy needle to thread. I do hope that some good will come of this renewed attention to being treated with dignity and respect.

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    3. exactly. And you can't blame women who are expected to be beautifully appointed to dress down for an interview with a producer. Or a director. That is, after all, their job.

      My hope is that this has all made many many men rethink their previous behaviors (otherwise known as sweating into their soup)and wondering who's next on the list...and perhaps keep potential offenders from doing the same thing, just because they can.

      I think it's human nature to make a good-natured pass at a pretty lady, but when it becomes a kind of a sharp-edged bargaining tool, well, that's when it gets serious.

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