Hollywood always seems from afar to be a seedy, dirty place, full of self-absorbed people pushing their own agenda. Most of the inhabitants of this false reality world love a bandwagon to jump on and like the proverbial lemming, many will follow. It is a shallow, superficial world that promotes the ridiculous and untalented to “superstar” status. We are all now expected to believe that people who have chosen to be part of that system, are shocked and angry about some of the things allegedly going on there. The latest chance to show how shocked Hollywood is came at the recent Golden Globes with the so-called Time’s Up, Dress in Black movement, all followed by most of the leading ladies in the industry. Time is up for sexual predators was the seemingly functional message. All of them had their few minutes in front of the camera to express their horror at what has recently happened and the winners of awards made bold statements about how women are being oppressed and victimized. I wonder how many of them woke up the next morning and continued that thought? The Me Too hashtag gave normal women the opportunity to talk about their experiences of sexual assault and there were many sad stories presented. However, it also gave anyone who wanted to push their agenda a chance to do that. One story, I read was of an “aspiring actress” (what does that even mean?) who claimed she was sexually harassed because a man stared at her in a restaurant. The article was, as you might expect, embellished with pictures of said “aspiring actress” writhing seductively on a beach in a bikini. You cannot help thinking that a good cause has again been hijacked by people who have no idea what they are talking about and takes away from the very good work done by crisis centers and organisations promoting rights for women. All this recent activity suggests is that the “casting couch” mentality is alive and well in the film and television industry. Dame Joan Collins recently said that many women (and men) in Hollywood have been presented with a choice, that is sexual favors for roles. It is then a question of choice. Are we now being asked to believe that this stopped with the current crop? I don’t think so. While it is very sure that there are powerful men taking advantage, it would be safe to also suggest that there are others taking advantage of that. Now let’s talk about the real world!
As I write this, there is a woman being raped, sexually assaulted, harassed or oppressed somewhere in the world. Whether it is in the workplace or elsewhere, it is happening, right now. It is not happening to pampered Hollywood types who have the resources to live behind high walls and employ 24 hour security. It is happening to normal women, all day, every day. It is happening to someone’s daughter, sister, mother, aunt, etc, etc. There are, unfortunately some places in the world where it happens more frequently and women have less rights to deal with it. In many parts of Africa, the Middle East, Asia and South America, women have very few rights. Those they have are usually not worth much when it comes to human dignity. They live in male dominated environments where the most educated woman is seen as inferior to any level of man. Many women in these environments face the choice between being a maid or a prostitute. Sexual assault, harassment and even rape are daily occurrences that many women have to accept. Even walking the street in broad daylight brings its dangers from being talked to, touched or harassed. In many of these countries, women and women’s bodies are seen as a commodity to be sold or handled. Feminism and women’s rights are mostly an alien concept.
In many of these areas, religion has been interpreted by men in order to oppress women in the way they dress, act and behave. In cases of rape that do come to court, a way is found to blame the woman in some way for the attack or it is brushed under the carpet and forgotten. This is where a woman’s life can be truly hell with no recourse or protection from the law at all. Even worse is that these situations take away all hope of changing a situation. Many women born into poverty stay in poverty and face the same dangers and limited choices their mothers did. It is no surprise when viewing the news concerning migrants coming from poor parts of the world, that the vast majority are men. Where are the women? Are they safe or forgotten?
Spending time in the Middle East and Africa, I have seen this situation first hand. Men truly believe they are superior and it comes generally as a great surprise to a woman to be treated as an equal. This is where women truly need help and all available resources need to be given to bring about change. Unfortunately, while the attention is mostly on out of touch millionaires playing in a millionaires playground, very little will be done. Let’s see some of those people donating instead of talking, or donating without taking the spotlight away from real women’s issues.