the Sexual Revolution was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships. Our ancestors probably felt so encaged by the rules that religion & society were imposing them that they felt that they needed more freedom of sexual expression.
Cut to: 2018
After decades of sex scandals and sex-driven advertising campaigns, the name of the oppressors are being uncovered and the victims are finally finding their voice through the #Metoo and #TimesUP movements.
Which makes me think:
What made us go from the ideals of the sexual revolution to the abuse of sexual power? and is it enough to merely point our finger against the sexual offenders or should we (and I intend WE as part of this society and of the human race) take our part of responsibility in everything that is happening?
Sexual harassment looks like the new trend on social media as if some fashion designers had determined on a runway show that everyone is going to wear it wear next season. The voices of many women (mainly) and men that have been silent and never had the courage to denounce abuses are finally speaking out loud and shining a light on a reality that far too long has been hidden and ignored. It was about time, that’s great, Amen!
However, allow me to play the Devil’s advocate for a minute because I think the real issue is not only the way these women and men have been wrongly exploited. I think the issue is much more profound than it seems and from my personal perspective, if we believe that things are going to change only because we put the hashtags #timesup or #metoo on our social media, we are only scratching the surface. I think we have to dig deeper and eradicate the roots of this problem.
I have worked in the fashion and entertainment industry for 20 years and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of unpleasant “Behind the scenes”. I experienced a #metoo moment when I was in theater and the director of the company was that type of man that would brainwash his pretty female students because his intention was clearly to take advantage of them. The weaker ones felt into the trap. I was strong and I said NO and he gave me a very hard time. One day, I was playing a mentally ill character in a play, he made me sit on his lap and he started touching me, almost fingering me in front of the audience. It wasn’t scripted anywhere and he caught me off guard. I was chewing a piece of chocolate at that moment and I violently spit it on his face and started laughing at him. Hey, my character was insane, right? That was a perfect and realistic reaction within the context of play! A few weeks later my time with that theater company was over and it sucked because I loved acting.
There have been other episodes when my NO closed important doors. I’m that kind of woman for whom sex comes as a result of chemistry, attraction or infatuation and not as a way to obtain career improvements or to get favors. I earned my way to where I am and it’s not been easy. I’ve witnessed friends and colleagues that have made a conscious choice to voluntarily sleep with powerful people so that they could become successful or have a better career and I don’t judge them. They have made their choice and I made mine, but if one of them came back to me and said: “I was sexually exploited” I’d probably reply “That was your choice”. Some people are born in a society where they do NOT have a choice (later on on the blog you’ll read about the story of a prostitute I met in Cuba) but these ones did. May it be that the aftermath of their decision made them realize that they gave away their dignity instead of their bodies?
I think that in-between black and white – or in other terms the evil ones and the good ones – there’s a whole range of shades of gray and I think it is fair to differentiate the real victims from the repentants. The names of people that have abused their power to get sexual favors and of the women and men that are claiming to have been abused are popping out like mushrooms after a rainy day in the fall season and I can’t help asking myself: are they all real or is it also true that a lot of the ones that are coming out are only seeking for their fifteen minutes of fame?
Let’s take the James Franco case for example. Ok, He is a bad boy and I do not excuse his behavior, but when I read the Violet Paley story I wondered: when you are in a romantic relationship with a man, you are into him and you consciously and voluntarily had sex with him several times, isn’t it quite normal that he asks you to give him a blow job? I don’t see anything wrong with that. We’re the sons of the sexual revolution remember? I would give my boyfriend a blow job if we had that type of sexual chemistry and the vibe is good.
Whether it is with James Franco or not, I think that any type of love story takes a different perspective when the things we were expecting to receive from the relationship didn’t happen. Suddenly the other person becomes the bad one, we all have gone through that, haven’t we? I think Catherine Deneuve made a point when she said that the way this matter is treated is escalating to a level that kills seduction and romance. I’m Italian, in my country men are passionate, they flirt, they enjoy seducing women, I love that and I wouldn’t want it to change.
I believe the real problem belongs to the alliance named Power, Greed, and Fame which, in the wrong hands, can become very evil. There are people abusing their power in the name of this alliance, every day, in every field and in every society. Harassment can be verbal and psychological as much as sexual and it can affect anyone who finds themselves in a position where they don’t have enough authority.
Which brings me to: Why do I feel we all have a part of responsibility into this and what can we do if we really want things to change?
To me, it starts with sending a different message out there and re-educating our society and the future generations on the things that really matter. For example, we have to disengage from the idea that we need to show a 5 stars life to be successful and happy. Instagram is not the Bible. Fame is not going to make us better or more loved human beings, it’s only going to put the spotlight on us for a very short amount of time until the next “cool story” comes out. Greed is not going to make us feel more worthy and here’s the news: one day we’re all going to die and those material things will be left behind.
The old messages that the fashion and the entertainment industries have been putting out there for decades are obsolete and it’s about time these two powerful industries change those messages and plant the seeds for a different future. We need more quality and less quantity. We need more authenticity and less virtuality. We need more human connection and less dating apps. We need more nature and fewer artifacts. We have to give more attention to the way we relate to one another. We have to appreciate more the people that work hard and tirelessly to build communities that co-operate to the creation of a better planet. I dream of a better world and I do my best to spread a different message in the stories that I write and in the things that I create.
So here I shout my own “Time’s up”, towards the fuckedupness of a society that still believes and sustains all of that madness. But times are changing so let’s get together and rebuild a world where we can enjoy being human.
‘Till the next one