Gifts of Time, Laughter and Love for the Holiday Season
“I Am Woman Hear Me Roar” —Helen Reddy 1971
The Director’s Couch
Over the years, it has been widely known and accepted that part of many Hollywood auditions included the “director’s couch.” The rich and powerful wield their positions over men and women who are striving for movie roles, advancement, or executive positions.
As a woman now in the “senior” category who has worked in corporations, I often thought this behavior was part of playing the game to get ahead, as long as no one complained or got hurt. Because who would listen when we felt the uncomfortable squeezes at Christmas parties, the occasional hand brushed across the chest, the off-color sexual jokes and suggestive comments. You learned to hold folders across your chest and stick your hand straight in front when the office predator came to visit.
When I became an office manager of 17 women and one man, one day the man asked if he could have his desk moved. I inquired as to why. He said the two older women who sat next to him teased him about his tight pants and came a little too close to sniff his cologne. So yes, sexual harassment happens to men, too.
The whistle blowers, who recently came forth to report Hollywood Producer Harvey Weinstein and his abusive behaviors, are not new. However, the fact that people listened and took action is. Sponsors canceled big money advertisement contracts and popular television series ended.
Now, politicians, filmmakers, actors, news commentators and senior executives are being disclosed almost on a daily basis for their inappropriate behavior, or using their celebrity to threaten job security or advancement. A female comedian said it bluntly to the males in the audience, “Hey guys, a little advice: If the woman is fully clothed your penis should not be out of your pants.”
This month’s Reel Corner column is dedicated to the brave women (and men) who stood tall, risked embarrassment and their careers, and found their voices to roar.
Movies like 9 to 5, Norma Rae, Thelma and Louise and Network are good to revisit. Perhaps with this movement of confident, courageous voices things will change.
Kindness and Respect are two attributes that should be part of everyone’s New Year’s resolutions. These are reflected in a movie in theaters currently. Although it is a coming of age story and not an office one, it is a must if you have not already seen it.
Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, Jacob Tremblay
Directed by Stephen Chbosky
WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman, a boy with genetic facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. Auggie meets both cruel bullies and good friends. His supportive family, including his parents, played by Roberts and Wilson, is always there for him even when he tries to push them away. The movie has clear positive messages about choosing kindness, appreciating everyone for who they are (rather than what they look like), and true friendship; empathy and perseverance are also strong themes. Bring tissues.
“Cheers to a New Year and another chance for us to get it right.” —Oprah Winfrey
Sources: www.rottentomatoes.com, www.imbd.com