Don't call me for that sexist job
© Angèle shot by Charlotte Abramow
I’ve wrote an article about the objectification of the woman’s body recently and I said that I wanted to explore the sexism inside the entertaining and advertising industry.
At this same time I was working on an advertising project leaded by a female marketing team. Yet this project was one of the most sexist project I ever worked on and I felt terrible about it.
During my previous work experiences I regularly had the opportunity to see sexist things happening. Most of the time these oppressive behaviors were headed toward actresses and models. First I was always a bit confused on how to react in order to not be an accomplice of the oppression. Until I realized that the misogyny was so pervasive that most of the actresses/models I have met have internalized it and didn’t necessarily want to openly fight against it (not acknowledging them were the most often chosen answer).
I’ve always though that this sexism thing was inherent of working in a male-dominated industry. I was going through these projects thinking that one day I’ll be able to choose to work on projects leaded by women and everything would get better…
But my last experience showed me that oppression can also come from the oppressed ones so choosing to only work with women would not necessarily mean that I would work in a misogyny-free environment.
It’s been a couple of weeks now that I have been thinking about it and I still don’t really know how to express this challenge. I feel deeply guilty to participate to any kind of oppressive project that corroborate clichés (could be about race, gender or culture) and a certain idea of how a woman should look or behave in order to sell a product.
In 2018 I would like to be more aware of my responsibility as a stylist/designer when I work on a production that doesn’t have the values I’m aligned with. I believe that a good project / commercial / film can’t be good if it feeds all kind of oppressive behaviors.
- I want to be better at saying that “dressing a woman in order to make her beautiful” doesn’t necessarily means alienating her by treating her body as an object.
- I want to be able to work on commercials that goes beyond the beauty standards and to shush alienating comments I hear about an actress’s body behind the monitor.
- I want to be able to challenge a production that hires a twenty-something woman to play the role of a forty-something mother.
- I want to speak up when someone tells me I’m over-reacting about these things.
In a world were the biggest films are featuring only-white female leads and 80% or the female stars are under forty, what good will it do to say no to a sexist project ?
In an industry where sex predators can earn millions of dollars and have long careers without being scared of the laws, what change could it make to speak up for ourselves ?
Why do assaulted women artists prefer to be quiet (or get 100 000$ to keep their heads down) for dozens of years instead of raising their voices in order to protect each others ?
What does it mean for an actress to accept the pressure of doing aesthetic surgery in order to keep her career going ?
How long will we accept those internal oppressive behaviors and agree to shut up unless we are backed up by the mainstream media ?
Will I ever have a successful career if I refuse to work for famous brands that are making profit out of women’s low self-esteem ?