2018: The Year of the Woman
It is a new year and it has started with a boom. In the wake of that ever-inspirational speech given by Oprah at the Golden Globes, one thing is certain – 2018 is the year of change; for our industry and for women. The truth of so many women, like a bear in the wintertime, has come out of hibernation and is ready to make its mark on the world. But will the truth gather enough stock to last the seasons, or be forced back into hibernation empty handed?
In the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein debacle, which has subsequently brought the morals of many famous names into question, including our very own Geoffrey Rush, both parties of the opposite sex have been affected evermore. For the females, the momentum behind the #metoo movement and #timesup campaign proves that this culture of abuse is being dismantled. As predicted, we are now seeing the flow on affect this shift is having on other cultural and social areas of concern including equal opportunity and pay between sexes and race. Meanwhile, men are no longer dominating in an industry that tolerates sexual misconduct where the sinners previously had a ‘bro-code’ laced power curtain to hide behind.
Females don’t just tolerate sexual, emotional and verbal abuse in the workforce, we cop it day in and day out socially. Let’s just take Cheryl Maitland from the last season of ‘Married at First Site’ as an example. If you watched that season, you would have witnessed a classic case of obsequious ‘bro-code’, which is a cousin of what we know professionally as workplace ‘politics’. In the past, fear of retaliation has caused many innocent bystanders to sit on the sidelines for too long. Finally men and women from all over the world are standing up to put an end to unacceptable behaviour in the workforce which we hope will also transcend into social circles where chivalry is almost lost. Females will no longer tolerate being treated as the inferior of the sexes. Like the civil rights movement and woman suffrage, we are making a change in history.
But how do we as women make this movement stick? First, we must not play victim but use this lesson as a chance to grow. Secondly, we must continue to embrace the many men who have also stood with us.
Powerful are the women who don’t let their past get in the way of their future. Take Maniba Mazari for example, a Pakistani model and singer who lost the use of her legs at twenty-one years of age from a car accident but does not portray herself as a victim of circumstances. She is Pakistani’s first wheelchair-using model and a National Ambassador for UN Women Pakistan. However, if we play the victim card and keep blaming the perpetrators for actions of the past, even our male supporters may stop listening. I’m not saying we are at that point, but a rubber band can only be stretched so far. We do not want to have our efforts overshadowed by a tip in the wrong direction of the female/male power equilibrium. We have done enough blaming, now it’s time to start doing.
In a perfect world, two things should happen moving forward. Firstly, women will come into their own power and feel confident in saying no when put in compromising positions, expecting to be heard and respected immediately. We should not have to pre-identify and avoid potentially threatening situations to keep ourselves out of harms way, however at current we are still not out of the woods completely.
Secondly, men will finally realize they can no longer hide behind a false veil of power or pack pride mentality and refrain from using their prey instincts to target women.
Either way, the #metoo and #timesup crescendo will reach a peak, possibly when an innocent man is denounced, inadvertently shifting the equilibrium of power closer into the men’s corner. By then, I hope we will no longer look at powerful men with skepticism, having weeded our industry of abusive debauchee while a greater version of our industry rises from the ashes, an industry where the truth never has to hibernate again.
Shuang Hu (Shu Hu) is an actress based in Sydney, Australia. She was born in Tianjin, China and moved to Australia when she was 5 years old. Since joining the industry in 2010, she has appeared in several commercials (Sony, Sizzler and QLD Gov), short films (The Deposit, Shardes and Tripwire), documentaries (Singapore 1942) and feature films (Nice Package). She will make her TV debut on the upcoming SBS TV Series ‘The Family Law’ (2016) as Candy Law.