The Fall of Time’s Up Wasn’t the Fall of the Fight for Equality – The Hollywood Reporter

I wish I was more surprised that there were no women in the best director category in the Academy Awards nominations announced on January 24. Again: only seven women have ever been nominated. nominated for best director (Jane Campion has been nominated twice), and three took home the award, the first being Kathryn Bigelow for damaged locker in 2010. So it’s disappointing to not see any of the top female directors in their industry, it’s not really shocking.

My initiative, Women and Hollywood, has been at the forefront of the fight for gender equality and inclusion in Hollywood and the global film industry for the past 15 years. In the early days, I went around the world with a simple PowerPoint criticizing the ridiculous antics that were fundamental in Hollywood – women couldn’t direct big-budget movies, teenage male audiences dominated, Women’s stories are not common. All the information available later showed that those stories were false. I’ve talked to people all over the world, many of whom have been in this war for decades longer than I have. The push for more opportunity for women and people of color has been around long before Time’s Up — and it will endure long after the demise of the highly publicized organization that just announced its closure. The Women in Cinema movement is 50 years old in the US, but surprisingly there are countries that are still just joining the movement.

Don’t get me wrong, Time’s Up had its moment. It used its superpowers – movie stars – to shed light on a topic that had never received the attention it deserved. Powerful women stand up for those who can’t and say, very simply, Time’s up. And finally, global audiences face the inequalities and unsafe environments that actresses and others have had to go through in order to work in their chosen professions. What was once talked about has become news.

When Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey pressed the button for the first time New York Times Harvey Weinstein’s predation piece on October 5, 2017, leading with the story of Ashley Judd (if you want to see the bravery on screen, watch Judd play YOURSELF in the movie version of the movie). She speaks) it has caused a rift in the foundation of an industry so notorious for the exploitation of women that there is even a term for it – the molded couch, which makes us all say as if it were a normal thing. That we all happen to describe a concept that has become so popular that anyone who hears about it gets sick of it. None of us can even begin to imagine how many women have to endure the “molded chair”.

But that rift continues to widen. Immediately following the Weinstein stories, the sound that pervaded the industry was a primal scream that had been suppressed for too long. The boom of Me Too allows women across the country and globally, not just in the industry, to remind us all that sexual harassment and assault are ubiquitous in every industry.

Time’s Up begins with the best of intentions, with women willing to pledge their money to stop predation. It’s growing so fast and means a lot to all of us fighting for change. The name – brilliant! — has become a call to rally together an industry that has consistently undervalued women. But Time’s Up, like Icarus, flew too close to the sun, and while it burned brightly for a while, it broke its own wings and fell catastrophically to the ground. It’s sad what could have happened, but the fact that millions of people have raised money for Time’s Up Legal Defense at the National Women’s Law Center helps countless women outside the industry fight for equality and justice. will be a reminder of its legacy.

Although Time’s Up in the US is now gone — a separate UK branch still exists — what Time’s Up brought to us will remain. I’ve been to a number of Time’s Up meetings in both the US and UK and have witnessed first-hand how it can bring women in the industry together in ways never before possible. It won’t come as a surprise to learn that the US branch is celebrity-focused and very protective of its members, but if it wants the women at the top of the Hollywood food chain to join it, it has to be. safe for them. Unfortunately, they never found a way to fit in with the rest of the people working on the issue who weren’t on the covers of the magazines. They had to figure out how to control the plane while still building it. Not an easy thing to do, especially with a global audience watching. Time’s Up has become a catchphrase and a place for all possibilities and can never navigate the desperate need that comes from all sides.

But the war continues and evolves. After Black Lives Matter, an alternate approach to this work involving race and gender has taken its place precisely at the front of the conversation.

The legacy of all our work will be the normalization of women’s stories and women’s storytellers. There are many women — not just one, two or seven, not just white, but women of all races and ethnicities, so many women, who have the power to change everything. Young people entering the industry today don’t think about gender the same way, and I look forward to a world where all different types of stories and storytellers are embraced.

But there’s no doubt, after 15 years in this job, the conversation has changed so much and is now so deeply ingrained in our culture that when no woman or person of color has been nominated. for anything, there will be outcry everywhere. , because of the lack of black women nominated for lead actress for this year’s Oscars. The world is finally seeing things we couldn’t see before, and there’s no way back, only forward. Time is still there.

Melissa Silverstein is the Founder of Women and Hollywood, and Co-Founder and Artist of the Athena Film Festival at Barnard University.

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