Watching actress Caitlin Stasey (she plays Kenna on the TV show, Reign)‘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 new or lesser-known actress has to put up with? How about office workers, interns, and dishwashers?
Many professional women (and a few men) still deal with this type of behavior; few will talk about it. Not many 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 that they have to be accommodating to men.
Why women remain silent
If a woman finds the courage to speak about her experience, she can’t rely on the world or even most in the “sisterhood” to have her back. Not everyone will applaud her courage, and coming forward might hurt her career.
So when a Caitlin Stasey shares her experience, I hope that we’re listening. And when you have the power and make it up the career ladder, I hope you listen to the younger women who confide in you. Today you may just be a junior marketing assistant but as you climb the ladder, start looking out for younger women. They need women (and men) who they can confide in because one of the biggest secrets out there, is how toxic the workplace is for women. Still… in 2016.
One of the best ways women can support other women 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.