Is #MeToo an answer to the question of sexual harassment?

New Delhi, Avina Vidyadharan | Updated : 03 October 2018, 11:50 PM
Is #MeToo an answer to the question of harassment?
Is #MeToo an answer to the question of harassment?

Sexual harassment. Gender disparity. These are to name a few problems that have been haunting women across the globe. The oh-so-dazzling world that allures every person into thinking, ‘I wish I could be as famous as these superstars!’ ‘I wish my life was as easy and glamorous as theirs!’ There might be gender discrimination prevailing in the showbiz industry, but sexual harassment is prevalent in Hollywood as well as Bollywood. But, Cometh the hour, cometh the man! The adversities have chained many individuals and their emotions together, to bring out an optimistic ray of hope. The #MeToo movement has been a torchbearer against these hideous offenses and imparted a light of confidence.

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The Marvelous Mrs Maisel star Rachel Brosnahan points to the fact that women have always been fighting for equality. However, she expresses that the #MeToo movement has given the cause a much-needed push. “This is not the first time that #MeToo has come up, the movement (has always) existed. The conversations and the balance for which women have been fighting forever, weren't new then and they are not new now," Brosnahan said in a group interview at Prime Video Presents 2018 event in London. The 27-year-old actor believes it is too soon to call the #MeToo movement a success but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

The preeminent MeToo movement which has garnered much popularity recently had begun more than a decade ago. Although the movement came to limelight when American actress Alyssa Milano used it as a phrase to fight the alleged sexual harassment against the multiple Oscar-winner and Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, it was initiated by an American social activist Tarana Burke as early as 2006. The movement soon started spreading like the forest fire and many celebrities, including Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette and Rose McGowan came forward to speak out against the once all-powerful 65-year-old producer.

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The flame of this movement that began in Hollywood soon gave the heat of confidence to many celebrities in Bollywood as well. Not that, Bollywood is spared by the appalling controversies of sexual harassment cases, but #MeToo movement has been trying to overcome the situation by naming the culprits.

Tanushree Dutta’s allegations of sexual harassment against veteran actor Nana Patekar and director Vivek Agnihotri, which surfaced recently, are just the tip of the iceberg. In 2015, an Indian actress Divya Unny flew into Kerala thinking that she was there for a business meeting with an award-winning director about a role in an upcoming film. Little did she knew that this trip was going to be the dent of compromise on her side which marked the dark side of this glam industry. She was called to the director’s hotel room, where the man asked her for a sexual favour in return for a role in the film industry. However, Divya rejected the offer and left the place without a role in the movie.

Bollywood actor Swara Bhasker, who made headlines for her bold roles, too faced a flack of sexual harassment. In a series of shocking revelations, Swara even said that she had been subjected to "catcalls during shoots and eve-teasing" while on the sets. Calling to mind an incident from her early days in the industry, she said that she had been "groped by a mob during promotions and during a 56-day outdoor at a remote location." Without naming a director, she revealed that she was harassed with irrelevant texts and dinner invites.

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According to a BBC report, every year thousands of young men and women head to India's film capital Mumbai, in search of their own Bollywood dream. But for many the experience shifts to being a nightmare. The report suggests that there are many names in the Bollywood fraternity who are hiding behind the camouflage of decency in a fear of revealing their names to larger masses and thus inviting more harassment.

The controversies have hit the Show Biz industry a lot more time than it came into public notice. Reports of sexual assault are not unheard of in India’s film industry. The #MeToo movement has finally imparted the much-needed courage to the leading ladies of entertainment industries, be it Hollywood or Bollywood, to fight for justice and drive movements like “Time’s Up”.

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First Published: Wednesday, October 03, 2018 07:17 PM
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