Below are excerpts from my personal essay which will be featured on cinemafemme.com on December 13th. This is to avoid spoilers and get people excited about seeing the film. December 13th “Bombshell” premieres in the US, nationwide.
Being interviewed by my soon to be boss, I could tell he thought I was good looking, that he thought I was sexy. Maybe it was the dress I was wearing, or the makeup I had on my face- these were actual thoughts that were in my head at the time. I went through the interview as I was ogled talking about my professional skills and experience. I pushed that feeling aside that was telling me this is kind of shady. I just needed a job at that time, and wanted to get on with it. Nothing pressed beyond that after I got the position, although the looks were still there. But there’s no crime in looking, right? Now with the era that we are in, it’s the first time I’ve really thought back about that in a different way. Watching films like “Bombshell” makes me grateful that women are now speaking up, onscreen and off.
What Roger Ailes did to these women at Fox News was at an egregious level of sexual harassment that should not be accepted or tolerated. What he did should have sent him to jail, yet he was merely asked to leave the network and was rewarded for his time there through a very high severance package. Power gave him a predator mentality, similar to Harvey Weinstein. And like we hope with Weinstein, he should have been prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
I wrote about the film “9 to 5” and the #MeToo movement. “9 to 5” premiered in 1980, way before hashtags were even a thing, but the film touched radically on the inequality of the workplace. I wanted to highlight a scene that I did not include in my essay that I feel connects well to this film. The scene is where Dolly Parton’s character Doralee fantasizes of giving her boss, Franklin Hart, a taste of his own sexual harassment medicine. The boss, Franklin Hart, comes into now Doralee’s office. Doralee, the boss in her fantasy, asks him to turn around so she can get a good look at him, objectifying him. She tells him to wear tighter pants so his bulge can be shown more. It’s so foreign to me to see a woman treat a man in that way, onscreen, as it is so commonplace to see it the other way around. This is because what we see onscreen can normalize what’s going on in our society. Think what would have happened if we had more scenes like the fantasy scene between Doralee and Hart in other films. Just think about that.
“Bombshell”, takes place in 2016. #MeToo wouldn’t become a social media phenomenon until 2017, yet in 2016 with a woman running for president and an opponent that symbolized everything that is disgusting and wrong with the male gender, women are starting to realize and embrace they can flip the script of what is expected of them. Women are starting to look around at other women as unified and individuals.
I do remember when Megyn was coming out against Trump and Ailes, I looked at her differently, not as Fox News, but as an individual who had her own thoughts and feelings. I suddenly had respect for a woman who worked on a channel I despised.
It isn’t until you meet someone, learn about them as an individual and a person, that you can create some kind of understanding of who they are beyond the stereotype. After viewing this film I have reassessed my understanding of these women, and how I look at women I don’t initially understand. What we learn more through “Bombshell” is empathy.
Knowing the context of the time shows us in the past couple years how far we’ve come in the #MeToo era, and how far we’ve got to go. Since the Trump election and the start of Trump’s presidency, we’ve been uncovering the injustices of gender inequality in the workplace. A lot has been revealed through the impact of social media. Female stories have been elevated through the hashtag and now on the screen.
The point is both of these women dealt with things differently, but they ended up supporting one another as people, and women. Because they both are just trying to figure out their world beyond Fox News.
Read full personal essay and analysis of “Bombshell” on December 13th when “Bombshell” premieres in the US, nationwide.