Women may hold up half the sky as Mao Zedong once said, but they do not as yet hold half the power in the working world. Thus the sexual harassment and victimisation of women continues to be prevalent and a dirty little poorly-kept secret from the office to the laboratory to the movie set. The powerful Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was recently revealed to have preyed on women for years, triggering much catharsis, angst and soul-searching in the entertainment industry.
This commentary is from writer and director Lena Dunham.
This past week, reports that Harvey Weinstein had sexually harassed women for years came to light, making it crystal clear that not every woman in Hollywood has had the chance to walk our path. Abuse, threats and coercion have been the norm for so many women trying to do business or make art. Mr. Weinstein may be the most powerful man in Hollywood to be revealed as a predator, but he’s certainly not the only one who has been allowed to run wild. His behavior, silently co-signed for decades by employees and collaborators, is a microcosm of what has been happening in Hollywood since always and of what workplace harassment looks like for women everywhere.
The use of power to possess and silence women is as likely to occur in a fast-food restaurant as it is on a movie set, and Hollywood has yet another chance to make a noisy statement about what we should and should not condone as a society. A liberal-leaning industry, we have been quick to condemn Bill O’Reilly, Roger Ailes and, yes, the president. We do not accept sexual abuse as “locker room talk.” So why the deafening silence, particularly from the industry’s men, when one of our own is outed as having a nasty taste for humiliating and traumatizing women?
Read more in the New York Times.
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