Dear Sisters, In Solidarity
January 2, 2018 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Yesterday (Jan. 1, 2018), 300 prominent actresses and female agents, writers, directors, producers and entertainment executives announced an ambitious initiative to fight systemic sexual harassment in Hollywood and in blue-collar workplaces nationwide, in part in response to the letter of support written on behalf of the approximately 700,000 women who work in the agricultural fields and packing sheds across the United States. Time's Up (Now) -- The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It's time to do something about it. There is also the related effort, 50/50 by 2020, to get networks, studios, talent agencies, unions and other industry organizations to achieve gender parity in 2 years.

Time’s Up will partner with leading advocates for equality and safety and work to improve laws, employment agreements, and corporate policies. The initiative includes a legal defense fund that has already raised almost $14 million in 13 days to help women and men protect themselves from sexual misconduct.

The goal is to reach $15 million.

Time's Up is also encouraging men and women who plan to walk the Golden Globes red carpet to wear all black. A number of women and men have said they will do so, and there are also murmurings that the black ensembles will continue throughout awards season.
posted by filthy light thief (29 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

Isn't that blue-collar fund a bit lightweight, compared to their Hollywood-based goals? I don't want to rain on their parade or anything, but it doesn't seem like the effort expanded toward the two causes are exactly... equal?
posted by svenni at 9:00 AM on January 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

So, one argument that I keep hearing against greater numbers of women in several fields is "you shouldn't expect parity." And more and more, my response is "Why not?" All other things being equal, one would expect that on average, any given field should have a makeup equivalent to society's makeup, give or take a bit of variation. But if you see some field dominated by one gender, that's a sign of distortion.
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:05 AM on January 2, 2018 [16 favorites]

Isn't that blue-collar fund a bit lightweight, compared to their Hollywood-based goals? I don't want to rain on their parade or anything, but it doesn't seem like the effort expanded toward the two causes are exactly... equal?

In the Time's Up open letter response, they call the legal fund "a first step," and the N.Y. Times article (1st link in OP) notes that Time's Up is also working on "Legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims."

In short, it's a start.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:09 AM on January 2, 2018 [13 favorites]

NoxAeternum, out of curiosity, what is the response to, "Why not?"
posted by agregoli at 9:16 AM on January 2, 2018

The majority of women in Hollywood work “above the line”, meaning they aren’t on-set, or in skilled labor crew gigs, but those who do work on set or in pre and post--production seem to have been ignored by this group. Doing hair and makeup for a cast of thousands is as hard as working in a packing shed.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:21 AM on January 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

The response is either shock/disbelief or the usual tired nostrums about how this field is "special" (read: they don't want to think to hard about the misogyny and other discrimination present.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 9:25 AM on January 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

Somewhat related, and a general sign of minor, but highly visible improvements: Movies starring women did the best at the box office in 2017. The top three spots for highest grossing domestic films featured female lead roles. (NPR, Jan. 1, 2018)

Highest-grossing movies in the U.S. and Canada:
- No. 1 "Star Wars."
- No. 2 movie was the live-action remake of "Beauty And The Beast"
- No. 3 was "Wonder Woman" starring Gal Godot
This is the first time since 1958 that so many movies led by women topped the box office in a single year. That's according to Alicia Malone, a correspondent at Fandango.

ALICIA MALONE: Hollywood seems to have amnesia when it comes to the success of women. It's a surprise every time it happens, and then quickly it fades away and they continue with male-led movies.

MCEVERS: Alicia Malone of Fandango says all these leading women driving ticket sales and critical success, this was not a coincidence.

MALONE: This shows that audiences are really hungry for seeing women in the lead roles. And I hope that Hollywood listens and this becomes more of a trend and we see more opportunities for women in the future.
One reason it's helpful to have Hollywood lead the way is that Hollywood also represents "ideal" norms, so more women starring in blockbuster movies could be considered a positive thing on a much broader level.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:28 AM on January 2, 2018 [19 favorites]

The majority of women in Hollywood work “above the line”, meaning they aren’t on-set, or in skilled labor crew gigs, but those who do work on set or in pre and post--production seem to have been ignored by this group.

I don't see anything that indicates this is the case at all. Their mission clearly states that it's aimed at workplaces, not sets.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:29 AM on January 2, 2018 [4 favorites]

So, one argument that I keep hearing against greater numbers of women in several fields is "you shouldn't expect parity." And more and more, my response is "Why not?"

Well, of course you shouldn't normally expect parity. Women are a majority; they should outnumber men in most fields.

More practically, I'm very open to the idea that, for many fields, there won't reasonably be parity. Firefighters require a certain amount of physical strength that's rare enough among women that I'd expect men in the field to substantially outnumber them--maybe 3 to 1, maybe 5 to 1. (It's currently almost 22 to 1.) Some jobs would be very difficult or risky to do while pregnant; I'd expect fewer women in those fields, too. None of those jobs, however, are "business hours in an office" jobs, and these discussions don't usually center around acrobats or toxic-chemical lab workers.

For anyone who says, "you shouldn't expect parity," the followup to "why not" after they've raised those points is, "what percentage should we expect, and how did you decide on that number?"
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 9:37 AM on January 2, 2018 [11 favorites]

I still want Ruth's answer to become reality in a multitude of situations.
posted by agregoli at 9:42 AM on January 2, 2018 [13 favorites]

Hence my point. The actresses, agents and producers are not very concerned about the blue-collar women workers in their own industry.
I sure didn’t see this kind of action and public outrage when stuntwoman Joi Harris was killed on Deadpool2.
posted by Ideefixe at 9:52 AM on January 2, 2018 [6 favorites]

Respectfully, you're basing your certainty that they're not concerned around a single webpage and limited reporting from industry rags that's all of a day old. The AMPTP, including IATSE and the Teamsters, have spoken strongly about the issue before, and are directly involved in the Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace that's being chaired by Anita Hill (and which is part of the Time's Up movement).

Also, qualifying jobs like "doing hair and makeup for a cast of thousands" as somehow outside the skilled labor category is rather insulting. In fact, the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild is a member of IATSE and would therefore be affiliated with Time's Up as well.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:37 AM on January 2, 2018 [25 favorites]

Right now it's so close to $14 million that I am constantly refreshing the donation page.
posted by Duffington at 12:28 PM on January 2, 2018 [2 favorites]

I felt hopeful seeing actresses' statement come across my instagram feed again and again. A famous actress speaking out about harassment will get attention in a way that a farm worker who can't use her name for fear of retaliation never will. I'm sure there are flaws but as a launch, I think it is a good start and an instance of privileged women using their power for the good of all of us. I hope this only grows.
posted by Emmy Rae at 12:41 PM on January 2, 2018 [8 favorites]

Hair and makeup is indeed a skilled trade but the rote work for extras is tedious and repetitive, and thus, not unlike assembly line or stoop labor. Metafilter really does not understand show business/film making.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:37 PM on January 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have... mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, I fully fully support any actions that stand up for women and against harassment. On the other hand, the thing that really stood out to me is that there is ZERO mention of disabled or ill women. It's like they tried to hit every marginalized group (which I often don't see immigrants specifically called out as a marginalized group as they do here) but TOTALLY left out disabled women / chronically ill / mentally ill.

There's a HUGE lack of jobs and representation already in media/movies from disabled / ill people. (Plus horrible ableism messages in storylines about sick people.) Not to mention a higher instance of violence and sexual violence against disabled women when compared to able-bodied women. Plus disabled or chronically ill women are often more affected by assault, violence, discrimination, sexism, ableism and have even more trouble seeking help than able bodied peers.

I tweeted at them, asking if they support disabled women too.

It just feels like it's highlighted the gap of most people in Hollywood supporting this never being around disabled people. It also is frustrating because a simple google search of "marginalized groups" could have lead then to a better list to include.

As a disabled woman I can imagine even more fear of losing your job if they already have to "make accommodations" for you. Many places just flat out won't hire you. If they do, they act as if it's a favor. How are disabled women supposed to combat those feelings and report abuse, sexims, ablism, etc if they aren't being recognized as an at-risk group too?
posted by Crystalinne at 3:05 PM on January 2, 2018 [10 favorites]

I'm going to assume they support all women who are dealing with these issues and not nitpick a good thing to death. And even if it doesn't support my particular brand of womanhood quite as much as some other brand, I'm totally OK with that.

These are some powerful women who are used to getting things done their way. Reese Witherspoon, in particular, does not strike me as someone who let's things go. This should be interesting.
posted by fshgrl at 10:19 PM on January 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

Metafilter really does not understand show business/film making.

You know that you're not the only person on Metafilter who works in the film industry, right?
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 11:53 PM on January 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

Not even mentioning disabled women is pretty egregious in this day and age. I wouldn't call it nitpicking to bring it up.
posted by agregoli at 5:27 AM on January 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

Duffington: Right now it's so close to $14 million that I am constantly refreshing the donation page.

Their GoFundMe page is trending, and is now approaching their $15 million mark.

Meanwhile, Dana Goodyear asks on The New Yorker "Can Hollywood Change It's Ways?", discussing this "post-Weinstein era."
In a historically male-dominated business, the burden of earning acceptance has shifted with fearful speed. “Everyone’s tiptoeing,” a male comedy producer told me. “ ‘You know I’m one of the good guys, right? You’ll put in a good word with the matriarchy for me?’—as we gloriously flip into the reverse ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ society.” Every phone meeting includes a mandatory detour into conscientious talk about what repulsive lowlifes the perpetrators are and how it’s about time, and if there’s some collateral damage so be it, it’s just a fraction of what women have endured, et cetera. The assistants—young and often female, the presumed inheritors—are listening on the line. No one wants to get caught on the wrong side of history.
In that article, Dana Goodyear briefly documents the long, truly awful history of misogyny in Hollywood. Maybe, just maybe, things will actually change this time.

And if you're wondering if a new show or movie is still supporting a person who has been accused of sexual misconduct, The Rotten Apples is a searchable database for just this. There's no public-facing master list of the database, so you have to search title by title.

But back to the topic of the OP, Goodyear's article gets into that, too:
Wary of appearing unenlightened, companies are scrambling to put women in leadership roles. Amazon is reportedly looking at a number of female candidates to replace Roy Price. But, while it’s one thing to celebrate women moving into a few positions vacated by disgraced men, actual progress will require a change in policy at the studios and at the networks. Katherine Pope, a television executive in her forties, who insists on interviewing women and people of color when she hires directors, said that the situation is dire. Even at companies where women hold impressive titles, there are layers of white men with veto power above them. “The studios and networks have got to get more meaningful about the makeup,” she said. “It’s like a patient’s flatlining and you’ve got to shock it back. It’s going to take extreme measures.”

Changing century-old norms will require overcoming deep unconscious biases. “The women have to be the most qualified, brilliant, perfect people in the world, and men get to grow into the job,” Pope said. “You hear code—‘You have to mature. You’re still learning.’ Or ‘I know she’s a great development executive, but does she know the business?’ ” Aside from applying reactive zero-tolerance policies and adding a few hotlines, studios and the networks have yet to make decisive moves. The former studio head told me that he has urged old colleagues to implement some quick fixes—say, no more meetings in hotel rooms, on pain of firing—but they have ignored him. For the time being, he says, it’s a “bunker mentality.” Perhaps the companies are wary of claiming a moral high ground they can’t defend.

Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, who specializes in gender parity in the entertainment industry. For years, she has been pressing Hollywood to adopt a gender-based version of the Rooney Rule—the N.F.L.’s pledge to interview diverse candidates for head-coach jobs. In her research, she has looked at inequities in onscreen speaking roles (66.5 per cent male), characters over the age of forty (74.3 per cent male), and sexualization (more nudity, suggestive clothing, and references to attractiveness for female characters). More than seventy per cent of writers in the industry are male, as are nearly eighty-five per cent of directors. She has also found that, when women direct, all these numbers become more representative.

“The number of women onscreen is unchanged from the nineteen-forties,” Smith told me. “Onscreen and behind the camera, many of these cultures are very similar. Hollywood perpetuates the view of women as marginalized and unimportant, and that’s mirrored throughout top film markets globally. Hollywood is also the place that can address and change this.” Women in Film, which commissioned Smith to examine pipeline problems for female directors, has started pitching studios and agencies on the idea of adding an inclusion clause to their contracts, with an accompanying stamp to signify “gender parity in decision-making.”
Emphasis mine.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:40 AM on January 4, 2018 [3 favorites]

Human Rights Watch: A Chinese #MeToo Movement? Not Yet
posted by XMLicious at 5:12 PM on January 4, 2018

Sentiments like "Hush, they might not have mentioned [group] explicitly but of course they have good intentions and mean to include everyone affected" have never been true when I've encountered them so far and I have no reason to think it's true in this case. For examples, see the histories of abolitionism, and feminism, and gay rights, just to start. And thanks for dismissing legitimate, experience-based concerns as "nitpicking".

As has been said above, in this day and age people's failure to even mention disability is worth noting.
posted by Lexica at 5:34 PM on January 4, 2018 [4 favorites]

Update from America Ferrera on Twitter: Thank you @depalm for this correction. Disabled women have not been forgotten by #TIMESUP . #TIMESUP stands for ALL women, including disabled women, and the language should and will reflect that.
posted by Lexica at 1:01 PM on January 6, 2018 [10 favorites]

Thanx Lexica!

Also, they have in fact updated it to included disable women. Of course it will need to be seen in action, but I am very happy that they listened to those that spoke up.

Obviously, I'm not the only one to point it out. And even in my very small group on social media I saw similar disappointment when it wasn't included. When I posted about the change today a friend replied with joyful crying emojis. So yes, it is important to know if we are acknowledged as a group in large movements like this.

I do hope it can push forward with change!
posted by Crystalinne at 12:14 AM on January 7, 2018 [5 favorites]

Activism Hits The Red Carpet And Oprah Hits A Home Run At The Golden Globes (NPR runs an opinion piece by MetaFilter's own Linda Holmes)
Only a few minutes into Sunday night's Golden Globes red-carpet broadcast on E!, Debra Messing explained to host Giuliana Rancic why nearly all the women were wearing black. (The men were, too, but they always do that.) Messing explained that it was part of the Time's Up initiative, which supports women who suffer from sexual harassment and assault — and not just in Hollywood. She went on to call out the recent departure from E! News of host Catt Sadler, who says she left after discovering she was making nowhere near the money her male co-host was making. Other actresses followed Messing's lead, repeatedly dunking on the very network hosting the broadcast, turning its ubiquity on awards day against it. That's a peculiar power, but they had it, and they used it well.

Awards shows can make famous people seem obsequious and grasping. It was unusual to see one that often found them using their time on stage to make demands, or to be angry, or simply to have the conversations they chose to have.

The red-carpet activism went beyond black dresses. Actresses brought up the money the Time's Up initiative has raised. They talked about the importance of standards for the representation of women of color particularly — and they did it using the word "intersectionality." Perhaps most significantly, a number of actresses walked the red carpet accompanied by experienced activists who work on behalf of women outside the entertainment industry. Michelle Williams was joined, for instance, by Tarana Burke, who began using the phrase "Me Too" years ago in her advocacy for women of color who'd been sexually abused. And E!, which normally inquires about dresses and asks women to pose for photos of their shoes and nails, broadcast interview after interview in which these activists were introduced and their organizations named.

When the show started, the focus stayed where it was, as host Seth Meyers made harassment the focus of most of his monologue, including a brutal and direct Harvey Weinstein joke. Weinstein — a longtime awards fixture and, many groused, fixer — wasn't present, Meyers said, but he'd be back in 20 years as "the first person ever booed at the In Memoriam." Meyers further poked at Kevin Spacey and Woody Allen by name.
I didn't even think about the Golden Globes, so I appreciate the recap.

(Also, how often is it that NPR labels such articles as "opinion"? Seems shady in this instance, as a way to distance themselves from criticism while being able to publish it.)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM on January 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Also from the Golden Globes: Oprah Calls For Day When No One Has To Say ‘Me Too’ During Golden Globes Speech (Taryn Finley for HuffPo)
posted by filthy light thief at 8:29 AM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anna North, Vox: "The Reckoning"
Vox has compiled — and will continue to update — a running list of influential people from a variety of industries who have had new public accusations of sexual misconduct since O’Reilly earlier this year. So far, 33 people have been added to the list since it was first published in December 2017.
Emphasis theirs. 138 individuals so far.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:13 AM on January 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Speier invites lawmakers to wear black to Trump's State of the Union (Jacqueline Thomsen for The Hill, Jan. 9, 2018)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said she and other female House members are inviting lawmakers -- both male and female -- to wear black to President Trump's State of the Union address later this month in solidarity with the anti-sexual harassment "Me Too" and "Times Up" movements.

"This is a culture change that is sweeping the country and Congress is embracing it," Speier told The Hill in a statement.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:15 AM on January 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

In response to Harper's planned publication of Katie Roiphe's outing of the creator of the Shitty Media Men list (which forced her to out herself in response), former Toast editor Nicole Cliffe is offering cash to writers to pull their pieces from the magazine.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:00 AM on January 11, 2018

« Older Who knows when Buffalo’s Comet will visit us again...   |   continuation or escalation of gaming despite... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments