Watching actress (she plays Kenna on the TV shoe Reign) Caitlin Stasey’s confessional about sexism in Hollywood, we’re reminded that just because someone’s life seems blessed, it doesn’t mean they don’t experience the same challenges and BS as anyone else.
The BS that is sexism
After she wore high-waisted jeans to a casting, one director called Stasey’s manager to say he doesn’t think she’s sexy anymore… just a mouthy girl next door.
We’ve heard of Hollywood’s casting couch for years, but these subtler microaggressions aimed at a fairly successful actress makes you wonder, Who do these f*cking people think they are?
And if someone at that level experiences harassment, can you imagine what a more junior actress, office worker, intern or dishwasher experiences.
Many professional women (and a few men) still deal with this type of behavior. Few talk about it. Few are willing or can afford to. There are no rule books telling us how to lean into our sisterhood to fight misogyny and other isms in the workplace, and in 2016 when women (and young professionals) lead the most profitable companies in the world, women still feel they have to be accommodating to men.
Why women remain silent
If you find the courage to speak about your experience, you can’t expect the world or even most of your sisters to have your back. Not everyone will applaud your opennesses, and doing so might affect your career. So I get the impulse to stay silent, but you know who the silence helps? Not the women and the victims, that’s for sure.
So when a Caitlin Stasey shares her experience, I hope that if not today, but when you eventually find the courage, that you do the same. Today you may just be a junior marketing assistant but as you climb the ladder, start looking out for younger women. By looking out, they will feel comfortable confiding in you. The best way I think women can do that is by being mentors. Become one if you’re in a position to.
For now, we have at least one simple takeaway from Stasey’s story: no one’s life is perfect, even when it seems #blessed.