times up

#TimesUp- the new ‘it’ slogan for sexual harassment in not only Hollywood, but for the sexual harassment and mistreatment of women in the workplace and in general. Dozens of celebrities- both men and women- donned stunning black designer attire as they hit the red carpet at the Golden Globes. They voiced their opinions, saying enough is enough in Hollywood with the mistreatment and disrespect of women in the industry. It has sparked a new movement in women’s rights, and not going to lie, it’s about flippin’ time and I’m just praying, hoping, doing my best to ensure, that it is one that sticks and isn’t just a tokenistic occurrence that’s currently trending.

With the plethora of revelations coming out last year against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and co- by both men and women- there’s no wonder that Time’s Up has been formed. Some may argue why people care the second celebrities are involved? As much as this does irritate me as it can be interpreted that celebrities are more important than the average person, these people who have been affected are still human. These are people that have been idolised for years and they’re using their platform to allow others to come out and voice their truths. There’s something reassuring and comforting in being able to relate to someone who seems to have the perfect life, and then realising they have experienced similar things to you. Personally, thank God, I have not suffered anything remotely similar to what these men and women have, but I know people who have. Even if I didn’t know anyone who had been affected, as a decent human being, I’d be just as passionate.

Usually, there’s the argument that these ‘it’ issues seen in Hollywood only affect a certain number of women, or the focus is on a said group of women. The thing with this particular issue is that it’s a global one, that women around the world experience, in all sorts of occupations. I could sit here and write thousands of facts and examples of sexual harassment in the workplace, but I won’t because I’d be here for about 10 years. Let’s just say that in 2009-2010, 21% of complaints made to the Australian Human Rights Commission were for sexual harassment and 88% of these cases occurred in the workplace. It’s evident that positions of power have constantly been abused and people, in particular women, have suffered for it. On top of that, women in male-dominated workplaces are more likely to experience sexual harassment and sexism than those in female dominated or equal workplaces. Yabba-dabba-doo! Although the legal defense fund is only in the US at the moment, it’s essential that we need to do something to set up similar legal support organisations around the world.

A concern that I have with this movement is that it’s just a trend and the media and its followers will just get swept up in the hysteria and forget about it as soon as it dies down. This sort of thing just doesn’t go away as soon as celebrities see fit, it stays with the millions of women around the world. Sure, it provides closure for some. The key word being ‘some’. It will still be an issue for so many and despite having a bit of coverage at the moment, chances are that it’ll eventually die down and minimal changes will be made. And movements like these have died down in the past, leaving only the original activists and a loyal band of supporters to continue to fight for what is right. Take Kony 2012 for example- honestly, I heard it was a bit of a scam, but still, there are hundreds of thousands of children that are child soldiers. Where’s the media coverage of that? Where’s our will to help these kids have a childhood? Then there’s Make Poverty History, which is obviously so 2005. Yes, there are countless people working behind the scenes and continuing the extraordinary work to help these causes, but how many more could be helping if it was broadcasted and maintained in the media. It could be argued that I’m naive in saying this as we all know that news cycles only last a remarkably short amount of time, and yes, I do agree. However, I’m just making the point regarding trends and the media’s ability to control them. I’m hoping more than anything that this movement doesn’t fall down the same abyss that past movements have and I believe it’s our job as people and decent human beings to keep it going. Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to keep these issues circling around and ensuring that people are made aware of them.

Another concern I have is that the interpretation of the message by some could lead to further tensions between men and women and the wrong message being sent across to people. The generalisation of men in particular as being sleazy, disrespectful and just straight out don’t genuinely care for women is ridiculous. The response to when males say “but not all men” is partially warranted (as quite a few guys who do say this, do actually fit that generalisation), but it’s also partially not warranted. There are so many respectful and kind men out there who genuinely care about women’s rights that are being thrown into this generalisation and it’s disgustingly disrespectful. I know a lot of people are going to disagree with that, but honestly, if we want change, we need to respect everybody. Nothing is going to happen if we disrespect and downgrade groups of people. In fact, it’s hypocritical. We complain about the way we are being treated, yet treat others the same? Two wrongs do not make a right in this instance and if we want a change, we truly need to treat everyone as an equal.

That being said, my concerns should not override the point of #TimesUp. It’s a spectacular cause that I am so grateful is finally gaining momentum and attention. Bringing up the startling facts and demanding change is necessary in making people around the world realise the ordeals so many have to go through on a daily basis. As long as we ensure that all people are accounted for, no matter who or what they identify as or what they do, it’s a positive and essential step in the right direction.