With the daily reports of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, those in the industry have begun to examine why it is such a pervasive problem. Susan Sarandon is the latest to speak out against Harvey Weinstein and others who have been accused of sexual assault, harassment, and rape. In her opinion, the problem stems from an imbalance of power, and it's a problem that will be fixed as more women take charge in Hollywood.
In an interview with The Guardian, Sarandon talked about the questions she has since so many women have come out, specifically against Harvey Weinstein. At this time, that number has reached at least 80 accusers.
“There are a lot of people who did say no,” Sarandon said of Weinstein's alleged advances, but added that many just shrugged away his behavior saying, "Well, that’s just Harvey’ and it wasn’t a big deal – those are the people who are perpetuating it, too."
Part of the reason why people didn't speak out against Weinstein or director James Toback, who has been accused by more than 300 women of sexual misconduct, was the power they had in Hollywood. It's why Sarandon believes the solution to truly solving the sexual misconduct problem in Hollywood is to give more women the power to direct and "greenlight their own projects" like "the Reese Witherspoons, who are getting books, putting together projects, telling women’s stories."
Sarandon also called out the culture itself, saying it's a "tricky thing because you are selling yourself using sex, and your looks, for the most part. And I think that when you have these men in positions of power, they assume that [sex] goes along with it."
If women in Hollywood are given more economic freedom, though, they can have more control over all aspects of their career. "When people see themselves as having their own power base," Sarandon said. "It becomes imaginable that you could turn somebody down and still survive.”
Sarandon told The Guardian she was lucky and hadn't had the harrowing experiences like the ones many women have described. While Sarandon was one of the lucky ones, luck can't be the reason why someone isn't sexually harassed or assaulted at work. It's these revelations of how men used their power to take advantage of less powerful women and men that can break the cycle of abuse.
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