It’s safe to say that 2017 was an eye-opening time, particularly when it came to sexual harassment in Hollywood and in workplaces seemingly everywhere. And from the ashes of all the horrific stories we’ve heard from women over the last few months, a beast rises, ready to take on the system.
Women in the industry, actresses and directors, writers and producers, agents and executives, have united for an initiative called Time’s Up. Launched on January 1, the group of 300 — which include Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, America Ferrera, Ashley Judd, Emma Stone, Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria, Rashida Jones and many, many more — took to social media, as well as wrote an open letter that ran as an ad in the New York Times, pledging support to working-class women.
“The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly,” read the letter.
The action plan is what many women in Hollywood have been hinting at in recent weeks. But Time’s Up isn’t just about Hollywood; it’s about any and all women who have suffered.
“It’s very hard for us to speak righteously about the rest of anything if we haven’t cleaned our own house,” Rhimes told the Times. “If this group of women can’t fight for a model for other women who don’t have as much power and privilege, then who can?”
According to The Times, the initiative includes a “legal defense fund to help less privileged women protect themselves from sexual misconduct and the fallout from reporting it, legislation to penalize companies that tolerate persistent harassment, and to discourage the use of nondisclosure agreements to silence victims, a drive to reach gender parity at studios and talent agencies that has already begun making headway, and a request that women walking the red carpet at the Golden Globes speak out and raise awareness by wearing black.”
“This is a moment of solidarity, not a fashion moment,” said Longoria. “For years, we’ve sold these awards shows as women, with our gowns and colors and our beautiful faces and our glamour. This time the industry can’t expect us to go up and twirl around. That’s not what this moment is about.”
In addition to the women spearheading Time’s Up, there are many putting their money where their mouths are and making sizable donations to the initiative’s legal defense fund, including Taylor Swift, Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Chastain.
According to The Times, Time’s Up was formed in October, soon after the first accusations against Harvey Weinstein had come to light (and has since been accused of sexual misconduct by over 50 women).
“We have been siloed off from each other,” Witherspoon told the paper. “We’re finally hearing each other, and seeing each other, and now locking arms in solidarity with each other, and in solidarity for every woman who doesn’t feel seen, to be finally heard.”
Well, looks like 2018 is off to a marvelous start. Bring it on.