IIt was always much more than a hashtag. Tarana Burke should be the first person mentioned in any article about #MeToo, the movement that has amplified a network of whispers and has caused rivals in the media industry that were very backward. Burke, a civil rights activist, began using the phrase "Me Too" on Myspace in 2006 as a campaign to "empower through empathy" after talking with a 13-year-old girl who had been assaulted.
A year ago, when the accusations against Harvey Weinstein began to appear, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted: "If all women who have been harassed or sexually assaulted wrote" Me too "as a state, we could give people an idea of the The magnitude of the problem. "Since then, #MeToo has been used as a statement of solidarity in social networks, or has been attached to the heartrending accounts of harassment and abuse recorded by men and women, especially in the film industry, and The most prominent voices belong to famous actors, Burke told Ebony: "The celebrities who popularized the hashtag did not take a moment to see if they were already working, but they were also trying to make a bigger point."
The simplicity of the form of the words has probably been very useful for people trying to discuss a subject that is not only painful, but has been hidden or actively discarded for years. Generations of women were told not to talk about this, even without the abusers allegedly silencing their victims with non-disclosure agreements. Now, with #MeToo and its international variations (#BalanceTonPorc in France, #QuellaVoltaChe in Italy, #YoTambien in Spanish speaking countries, #TystnadTagning in Sweden), the conversation is inescapable. As Zoe Saldana told Cosmopolitan, the rules have changed: "The high road for a woman for centuries was silence … The new road is talking."
That conversation is vital, but a year later, can we begin to assess whether the #MeToo movement has achieved more than just talking? Obviously, some men have disappeared from the industry. Bill Cosby is in jail, Weinstein is awaiting trial. Kevin Spacey was expelled from House of Cards and replaced by Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World. Brett Ratner has chosen to "get away" from Warner Bros. Roman Polanski and Cosby were expelled from the Academy. Although some changes are not permanent: Louis CK is already acting again; Polanski is working on a new movie. Surprisingly, Les Moonves, the CBS executive director who helped found the Commission for the Elimination of Sexual Harassment and Promoting Equality in the Workplace last December, is now being investigated.
The practical wing of #MeToo is Time's Up, an organization founded in Hollywood to end sexual abuse in the industry, with victories in the United Kingdom and Europe. This organization has raised millions for legal funds and has accumulated volunteer lawyers, in addition to making donations to women's organizations and sharing support lines and tips for filming sex scenes. Time's Up has also referred to both visibility and action, as the actors promote the campaign at the awards ceremonies, for example, by bringing activists like their red carpet to the Golden Globes.
With the help of Time's Up, Producers & # 39; s Guild of America developed and issued guidelines against sexual harassment, which should be unnecessary, since it is illegal in the first place. Similar advice has been drafted in the United Kingdom and Europe with relevant unions. The guidelines include the training of all the members of the cast and crew and the designation of people that workers can approach to report any incident. With much fanfare, the first production that adopted the plan was the sequel of superheroes Wonder Woman 1984. Other unions, including the Screen Actors Guild, have issued their own guidelines and policies, before the critics for which they also defended Largos or were part of the problem itself
In the United Kingdom, the Equity actors union founded a working group last November and joined other entertainment unions to request anti-harassment clauses in the contracts. A British actor I spoke with while investigating this piece told me that she was recently harassed by a casting director during an audition. While his agents rejected his complaint, Equity took his report seriously and returned it to the casting director, who at least issued an apology. Other women in the industry tell me that they now feel that more people hear them at meetings when they talk about inclusion or harassment, concerns that had previously been dismissed.
Kate Muir, scriptwriter and activist of the subsidiary of Time's Up in the United Kingdom, says: "Part of Time Up is harassment and intimidation, but another is diversity, the roles of women, equality. Both parties are as important as the other, because equality and diversity will bring sanity, hope. " Gender parity in the film industry, in which bodies such as Women and Hollywood have been working for years, should create more inclusive and safer workplaces. – As well as better jobs for women and people of color. Director Carol Morley mentioned a strange consequence in which the usual rules are reversed: "I receive messages from unknown producers who wish to attach a 'female director' to a project for the sole reason that they seem to think it will mark a and they will help, they got their project done. "
Stacy Smith, of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, devised the "inclusion corridor" in 2016, although many people first heard about it when Frances McDormand delivered it in her Oscar speech. "You can ask or demand at least 50% diversity, not just in the casting and the crew," he explained behind the scenes. "I just learned that after 35 years in the movie business, we will not go back." While many actors supported the concept vocally, it would be more effective for the studios to adopt a diverse hiring policy, which is what Warner Bros. announced it would do in March, starting with Just Mercy, starring Michael B Jordan.
With the diverse hiring comes the question of equal pay. Famous, when Mark Wahlberg and Michelle Williams were returned to shoot again after Spacey was eliminated from All the Money in the World, Wahlberg was paid much more than Williams, and has since donated the money to Time's Up Williams says he only accepted such a low rate because he felt that the re-engagements were a powerful statement against the culture of harassment. Even in a later #MeToo world, he risked paying a price for opposing abuses. On the other hand, Jessica Chastain led by example, negotiating the fees of co-star Octavia Spencer to match her in an upcoming film, but this kind of equality should not be left to individual actors to negotiate.
Film festivals have also been urged to change their ways. The Cannes and Venice lineups this year were remarkably masculine, a pair of aching thumbs in a year dominated by talk of parity. That being said, Cannes was the first among its colleagues to commit to gender-balanced programming by 2020. In Toronto, in the second year of the Share Her Journey initiative, more film critics were invited to cover the festival and more commitment of support. female filmmakers. At a rally, Mia Kirshner described her ambitious #AfterMeToo plan to support people who denounce sexual harassment, while others, including Geena Davis and Stacy Smith, talked about increasing diversity on and off the screen.
While the red carpets at the awards ceremonies were dominated by gestures of solidarity, little has changed beyond the speeches. This year's Oscars saw the first film nomination for a woman (she did not win), while at the Golden Globes, Natalie Portman grabbed attention simply by entering a category with the words: "And here are the male nominees."
Much of the first year of #MeToo has been dominated by the comparatively privileged voices of white Hollywood actors, by the guidelines and plans announced but not necessarily put to the test, and by a focus on individual rather than collective action. However, Muir is optimistic about what can be achieved: "Yes, it was horrible, but it has driven this incredible positive action," he says. "I think that people's consciousness has completely changed."
Now we face life not only after # MeToo, but as a consequence of the bold audiences of Brett Kavanaugh, movement is increasingly important. While certain voices are better than others to attract media attention, as it continues, the movement must ensure that it does not perpetuate the kind of culture that allows one type of voice to silence others for so long. Arriving just this week, Time's Up's new CEO, Lisa Borders, began her term with a call to inclusion in the movement: "She's here for everyone, this is not a club," she told Vanity Fair. "He would simply offer the invitation to all, here and now … join us on this trip." Or as actress Amanda Brugel put it at the Toronto rally: "We're going to need a bigger boat, everyone. So I invite people of all genders and identifications to jump and fight for your fucking lives. "