One hundred and twenty four Italian actresses have spoken out against sexual harassment, doing the unusual by signing a joint declaration.
It was the first major reaction by the women, since the Weinstein scandal blew open.
La Stampa said the women have taken the line of action because they believed they can speak out on behalf of other women who live the same condition at their workplace”.
The actresses called sexual harassment “a system”, and called for various measures against men who harass the women.
Full statement below:
Starting with the Weinstein case, for a few months now, in many countries, actresses and showgirls have taken the floor and begun to reveal a truth that is so ordinary it is dreadful. This statement is not only an act of solidarity with all the actresses who, in Italy have had the courage to speak and who, for this reason have been attacked, harassed and sued, but also a due act of witness… We thank you because we know that what each of you says is true and we know this because it happened to all of us in different ways. We support you, and will support you and all those who choose to tell their experiences.
When speaking of harassment, there is first an attempt to limit the problem around a single harasser who is then pathologized and acts as a scapegoat. Along comes a momentary wave of indignation concerning a single director, producer, judge, doctor, in short, one single man of power. As soon as the tide of indignation comes to a halt, our common sense begins to question the truthfulness of what the “harassed” have said and we begin to ask questions about who they are, how they behave, what interest have brought them to speak. The shared common sense begins to wonder about the free and healthy game of seduction and the clear artistic, professional or commercial merits of the harasser who, in the long run will end being reintegrated into the system. In doing so, this “attitude to removal” would like to keep us silent and make us think twice before talking, especially if certain things have happened in the past and are therefore no longer worthwhile.
In short, let us not waste any more time wondering about the truth of the words of those harassed: let us put them immediately in jail, if not in jail let us outcast them, if not outcast then let us place them in convent, if not in convent, let us at least keep them locked at home. This, and only this will stop them from talking! But talking is revealing how sexual harassment is reproduced by an institution. How it becomes culture, common sense, a set of practices that we should accept because this is the way things have always been, and will always be. The choice before which every woman is placed at her workplace is: “Get used to it or leave”. We are not interested in media pillory. Ours is not and will never be a moralist speech. Sexual harassment has nothing to do with the “game of seduction”. We know our pleasure, the boundary between desire and abuse, freedom and violence.
Why cinema? Why actresses? For two reasons. First, is that the body of an actress embodies collective desire, and since in this system, collective desire equals male desire, shared common sense perceives them as narcissistic creatures, fickle and vain, willing to use their body as a bargain chip in order to appear. As they are publicly exhibited bodies, actresses unmask a system that goes beyond our specific world but concerns all women in the workplace and not only.
The second reason why this act of accusation starts from the actresses, is because we have the strength to speak, our visibility is our sounding box. Actresses have the merit and duty to act as spokespersons for this battle for all those women who live the same condition at their workplace and whose word do not have the same voice or strength.
Sexual harassment is a cross-cutting phenomenon. It is a system. It is part of an arrangement that is before everyone’s eyes, a system which contemplates the absolute male majority in the places of power, the gender gap, the constant and permanent sexualization of working spaces. Gender inequality in workspaces makes women, all women, at risk of harassment because they are always subjected to implicit blackmail. It happens to the secretary, worker, immigrant, student, intern, domestic helper… It happens to us all. To name sexual harassment as a system, and not as pathology of a single individual, is to threaten the reputation of this culture. We shall not be the victims of this system. We are the ones who now have the strength to unmask and overturn it. We are not pointing the finger just at one single “harasser”. We are challenging the whole system.
This is the time when we stop being afraid.
20.Maria Pia Calzone
36.Piera De Tassis
38.Matilda De angelis
39.Orsetta De Rossi
67.Francesca Lo Schiavo