Film, television, music, and books. These are just a few forms of media that make up popular culture. They are also some of most powerful vehicles for influential people to change the way women are treated around the globe.
Since I started this blog, three major Hollywood influencers have been outed as men who sexually harass or abuse women. The allegations against other individuals are increasing rapidly.
Harvey Weinstein, a wealthy producer, has had his career put on hold and headed into rehab for an addiction to sex. Kevin Spacey, an award-winning actor, has been removed from multiple projects and hounded for an apology. Louis CK, a successful comedian, has had his career come to a complete halt and issued a partial apology afterwards.
Sexual assault us not exclusive to the Hollywood industry.
An estimated 17.7 million women have been reported by the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) as victims of rape since 1998. Every year rape costs victims $127 billion dollars. The amount of perpetrators who walk away unpunished? About 99 percent.
Will these stats change anytime soon? I don't know enough to make an accurate claim. But I am confident that the current shift in the entertainment industry will have a radically positive impact on culture at large.
It has been made clear by companies like Warner Brothers, Amazon, Netflix, CBS, and others that they will not stand by industry leaders who are also perpetrators of sexual assault.
While this will not completely eradicate the issue, it sends a message to people who will censor their actions better. It allows for women to feel safer in the industry and not shudder at the thought of losing creative opportunities because of harassment. It sets a tone that will make media more sensitive to the issues and create a shift in production that will permeate in the homes of audience members.
It wouldn't surprise me if over half of television and a sixth of Hollywood film productions better represented women in more empowering roles produced by women about women for women by 2020. The industry demands change. Audiences demand change. We're about to hit a new golden age for women and popular culture. Society is ready.