THE ACTIVIST CARTEL
a written challenge to a duel
ACTION LETTER #20: October 11th, 2017
Dear Activist Cartel,
A lot of our Activist Cartel members work in the entertainment industry, and the Harvey Weinstein news hit very close to home for me. I have countless friends who have suffered from men's abuse of power, and it needs to stop.
Considered one of the most powerful people in Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein is now facing sexual harassment and rape allegations from over 20 women that include Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, and Rosanna Arquette. For almost 3 decades, the industry has hushed this secret. Women had everything to lose by coming forward. But with their bravery, we can now inspire critical conversation and action.
Almost 1 in 3 women have experienced sexual harassment and 1 in 4 people have witnessed harassment of a coworker. I'm sadly not surprised, considering our country has a sexual predator for a president. Why are actions and comments like "grab them by the pussy" brushed aside and elected to positions of power?
I hope this Hollywood scandal marks the beginning of the end. Specifically, I look to men to help make that happen. I want to focus on the good men who can step up and become women's allies. The action items below are infused with ways to educate ourselves and create empathy that speaks loudly against the status quo.
1.) Read & Share The New Yorker article on Weinstein's abuse:
--Ronan Farrow's article details the horrifying situations that Weinstein put women in, including recorded audio of him refusing "no" for an answer. It gives perspective on the complexities of harassment and how women fall prey to it.
2.) Have a conversation with at least 1 man and ask him to speak up the next time that he witnesses harassment or sexism:
--A lot of men don't believe that harassment is their problem if they aren't the perpetrator. This Variety op-ed demands that men in Hollywood choose what culture they support. Lena Dunham aptly notes in her NYT op-ed on male silence: "Men have the least to lose and the most power to shift the narrative."
--Women don't speak up because they often don't think they will be believed and supported. There is common mythology around women "over-reacting" or needing to "calm down," which is sharply critiqued in Yashar Ali's famous essay on gaslighting.
--Whether you are a man or a woman, ask your male friends or family members to read some of these articles. Creating empathy is the starting point.
3.) Report sexual harassment and know your rights.
--Here is an excellent legal resource.
--Simultaneously, we must create a safe environment for victims to come forward.
Let's all be allies for victims and speak up loudly!