by Simonne Stellenboom
We all have that one actress we are looking up to, the one we aspire to be and our girl crushes – for whom we will watch any show for, as long as they are in it. Women in Hollywood have brought us powerful roles, yet they are robbed of their personal power when they face gender inequalities, sexual harassment and assault. Fortunately, women, with the support of society are standing up for themselves and talking about their experiences in Hollywood.
One of the major instances where we saw women take their power back is when actresses Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan made very specific allegations against Harvey Weinstein. They were not alone, Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie came forward and said that they too have suffered harassment from Harvey Weinstein. The multiple allegations against Harvey Weinstein birthed a societal shift and females started tapping into their inner strength and stood tall together, saying #MeToo.
The ‘Me Too’ movement was founded in 2006 with the vision of helping survivors of sexual violence find pathways to healing. In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, celebrities have banned with other women and joined the #MeToo movement, showing the magnitude of sexual harassment and assault and once again, highlighting that sadly no woman is safe, not even celebrities. Alyssa Milano was the first celebrity to stand by victims and called out to others to join the movement as well. Both America Ferrera and Lady Gaga amongst others showed their support on their Instagram and Twitter accounts.
A group of celebrities are standing firm and shouting #TimesUp! Oprah, Reese Witherspoon and others are all saying the clock has run out on gender inequality, sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. As a collective, these women are embodying female empowerment and decided that it’s time to do something about the inequalities, sexual assault and harassment women have suffered in Hollywood. The Time’s Up movement is essentially a legal defence team focussed on eliminating the threat of sexual assault and protecting women in the process. One of the most powerful moments took place at the 2018 Golden Globes Awards when all women wore black and the men wore black suits with a Time’s Up pin. This was done to show their support for the movement and for female empowerment in Hollywood.
At the very same Golden Globes, Debra Messing addressed the topic of gender pay inequality in Hollywood. During an interview with E! on the red, Debra Messing took E! network to task for its alleged gender pay disparity by bringing up the then-recent departure of long-time E! host Catt Sadler. Catt Sadler quit the network the previous month after learning she was being paid half of what the network paid her male equivalent. Another such example was Mark Wahlberg getting paid $5 million for All the Money in the World, while his co-star Michelle Williams was paid, less than 1% of that, equalling $625,000. After the backlash, the combination of pressure and public outcry Mark Wahlberg donated $1.5 million to the Time’s Up initiative.
These are great examples of how females are currently pushing back against gender inequalities, sexual assault and harassment. The fight is far from over, we are still in the midst of the R. Kelly sexual assault allegations. Women are taking charge of female empowerment in Hollywood and they are not giving up.
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