Watching the actress Caitlin Stasey who plays Kenna on the TV show, Reign talk 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
We’ve been hearing of Hollywood’s casting couch for years, but these days, subtler microaggressions are more common. Specifically, sexist behavior. Even fairly successful actresses don’t escape it. In Stasey’s case, after she wore high-waisted jeans to a casting, the director called her manager to say he doesn’t think she’s sexy anymore… just a mouthy girl next door.
If someone with her resume and success still experiences this type of harassment, can you imagine what a new or lesser-known actress must deal with?
How about office workers, interns, and dishwashers? After all, much of male masculinity is about power—or rather, perceived power.
Sexism is everywhere, not just in Hollywood, and we really need to talk about it. I get that not many women can afford to. I get that there are no rule books letting us know how to lean into our sisterhood and come together to fight misogyny and other isms in the workplace. But we have to start somewhere and that somewhere is by sharing these stories with each other. Because one of the ways we keep this stuff alive is to remain silent.
Why women remain silent
If a woman finds the courage to speak about her experience, she can’t rely on the world or even the “sisterhood” to have her back. Not everyone will applaud her courage. And coming forward could very well hurt her career. Women have good reasons to be silent but we have to keep in mind that that is what the perpetrators count on.
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.
Christine is a Life Strategist and Emotional Health Coach living in Los Angeles. She's big on meditation and believes in systems and routines, and in personalizing everything you do to help you get where you want to be.