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Opinion | #MeToo is more than a Hollywood problem. It needs more than a Hollywood fix.


-Many people who I know
who were farm workers, even people
in my own family, had experienced sexual
harassment and violence. There just were no services to
help people with that problem. -Wake of the “Me Too”
movement, some prominent women
in Hollywood are joining forces now
to say, “Time’s up”. -That is the name
of a new coalition formed to address
sexual harassment issues in the entertainment
industry, and actually
in workplaces nationwide. -So, I’d never done a live
interview like that one before, and I was definitely scared. There was a point
in the interview when the reporter
said something — I think it was well-intentioned, but it just came out
the wrong way. -That Hollywood actresses
in that industry, which you think of
as a high-profile industry, and women who do have
a lot of power, and yet the focus here, now,
through this Time’s Up campaign, is for women who don’t have
that pow– Women just working — -And even though
I was completely terrified of that interview,
like, that comment just, like, struck me in a way,
it just didn’t sit well, because I feel like
that’s been part of the — the misconception about
farm worker women and other low-paid women. People think that farm
worker women are not powerful? Farm worker women
are very powerful and have been organizing for
a long time around this issue, and we have the experience, not just of having suffered
from this problem, but we also have the experience
of years of organizing that we wanted
to bring forward to support the women
in Hollywood. To some people,
the movement in their eyes began on January 1, 2018,
when Time’s Up was announced, or maybe some think
that the movement began on October 15 of 2017, when the Me Too
breakthrough moment happened. But the truth is that
there have been many people who have been working
across the country on anti-sexual violence
measures for many, many years. Tarana Burke started
her project in 2006, long before
the breakthrough moment. Farm worker women
as a movement have been organizing
around that issue for more than
three decades. There are also women
in hotels and janitors and so many other industries that have been mobilizing
to try to combat the problem, because it’s something
they experience every day. And I actually believe that
it was the long track record and the foundation that was set
on this work years and years ago that made it possible for us
to really take advantage of the breakthrough moments
when they happened. There’s a misconception that,
in movements, all the work happens
at the national level. And that you see sort of,
you know, maybe one or two leaders
who are speaking for thousands and thousands of people
as national representatives. But what you don’t see is
the groups of five and ten people who are gathering
in their local coffee shop, or who, you know, are pulling
people together to, you know, carpool to go to a bigger city
to go to a march, et cetera. And the work that we’re doing
locally, we’re connecting it with the work
that we’re doing nationally. It’s the small groups of people, it’s the five and ten people
who are like-minded who come together
and get behind a cause, that are really the heart of the
movements that we’re leading. We can make the biggest change
by building coalitions and building power
in the local communities where we live
and where we work. Si, se puede! Si, se puede!
Si, se puede! Si, se puede!
Si, se puede! Si, se puede! And if we can make change
at the local level, then we can help drive change
at the national level.

7 Comments

  1. Team LA Author

    i have to add my voice for an industry that I used to work in – restaurants / hospitality. The sexual harassment there is appalling. not to take away from the farm workers featured here – just to add my experience to their voices as well. Women who need their money the most tend to be targeted the most. I definitely experienced owners / managers who acted like I had no choice, so they were going to get what they wanted from me. Funny thing though – you can go right down the street and get another waitressing job. I was a good waitress so I made money no matter where I went. I still relish the look of shock on these pervy managers when I would give notice – if I even bothered.

    This makes me wonder how it is for farm workers. Can they just hop from job to job like I did when the sexual pressure was on, or does their industry make that difficult? Is there only one game in town, so to speak, only one farm close to where you live where you can get work? Can management / owners put the word out on you so that you can work nowhere if you rock the boat or refuse to grant sexual favors?

    These are details that I would like to know.

    Also – women in subsidized housing also face horrific sexual harassment by owners, maintenance men, etc. The problem is massive. Thank you for reading.

    Reply
  2. steve119md Author

    When I worked security at foxwoods every weekend drunk girls would grab me and touch me inappropriately right on the gaming floor, I brought this up and they laughed at me, I had to leave my job and lost my appartment…no one cares because I'm a male.

    Reply

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