The sleaze goes beyond the screen

By Gopika Nair, Editor-in-Chief

A woman who wants to make it in the film industry is expected to schmooze by letting men have their way with them.

Then, they have to remain silent because speaking out against prominent Hollywood figures would be detrimental to their careers. That’s just Hollywood, babe.

Except it’s time to denounce that attitude. It’s time to wholly obliterate the very idea that those who want to make a name of themselves, in Hollywood or otherwise, have to put up with a sleazy man or two.

Harvey Weinstein is a Hollywood mogul. Regardless of whether you’re a frequent moviegoer or not, you’ve heard of his movies, perhaps even loved them. They range from cult favorites such as “Pulp Fiction” and “Sing Street” to Academy favorites such as “The King’s Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”

Nearly 50 actresses and others who work in the film industry have made sexual assault allegations against Weinstein so far, from A-listers such as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow to international stars such as Asia Argento and Léa Seydoux.

Because of Weinstein’s alleged actions, lesser-known women intent on pursuing a career in the film industry gave it up altogether, according to Vanity Fair.

It’s no wonder these sexual assault allegations only just came to light, even though their occurrences allegedly spanned decades.

These actresses were expected to remain silent. Because Weinstein had the power to essentially make or break these women’s careers, they had no choice. Because it’s Hollywood, babe.

But as demonstrated by the #MeToo campaign that came to fruition in the aftermath of these allegations, most of us know a Weinstein and most of us aren’t looking to make it big in Hollywood or seeking an Academy win.

Our clothes aren’t custom-made for us by Chanel and we probably don’t have a shot of being featured on The Ellen Show or The Tonight Show. We’re people who live private, low-profile lives no one follows, but we’re still plagued by Weinsteins.

Sure, maybe it’s not a facsimile; maybe it’s just fragments of a Weinstein-like character. Maybe we know them through the fortunate shield of someone else’s experience; maybe we know them because of our own bad luck.

Seeing as people like Weinstein aren’t a rarity in the world, it’s baffling that “no means no” still isn’t a universally acknowledged concept. It’s horrifying that people’s bodies are being violated against their will, by people in power, by authoritative figures, by neighbors, friends,  significant others and perhaps worst of all, by family members.

But how and where does all this end?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 54-member board decided to expel Weinstein from the academy, according to Vogue. Following the allegations, Weinstein’s studio fired him.

There might be more repercussions, but none of them are going to undo his actions. But at the very least, with the number of prominent figures who have condemned Weinstein and his actions since the allegations against him came to light, some semblance of hope remains that this situation has at least proven that silence is no longer the only option, that speaking out can actually achieve some good and some justice in the grand scheme of things.

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