It was a long time ago.
I was still working in live action film, working on set. I was building a set for a shitty TV show, or a shitty TV movie, or shitty music video. It doesn’t matter, this story has played out many times during different productions in my life. It was always the same.
I was hired because some production designer or art director had a crew of art school graduates and he needed someone to guide them to build the things he’d drawn pictures of. Or more likely, pictures he’d just clipped out of various trendy design magazines. He had bodies but they needed instruction.
A few of those bodies were always women, and those particular bodies were always young and pretty.
I’d take those women, like the rest of the bodies, and I’d show them how to use a jig saw. I show them how it worked. I’d show them what to do and what not to do. I show them how they could use it to make things, and how they could also cut off their fingers if they weren’t careful.
Sometimes it wasn’t a jig saw. Sometimes it was a nail gun or a circular saw. It didn’t matter, the lesson was the same. Here’s how this thing works, here’s how you can make something with it, here’s how it can hurt you if you aren’t careful.
Then I would let them work.
I’d keep an eye on them, that’s essential when you teach anyone to use something that’s potentially dangerous, but it was never a problem because I had taught them. They were capable and able to learn given the instruction.
Eventually the designer would come up to me.
“Why is she using that? She’s going to hurt herself”
I’ve never heard that sentence with the other pronoun.
“No she isn’t. She’s smart and I taught her. If I was worried I’d have given her a different job”
There were plenty of times I didn’t let people use tools I thought they weren’t ready for.
“It would be better if she were on the paint crew” he’d say. They always want the women to paint.
I always disagreed. I gave each person a job I knew they could do, and then I let them do it.
I didn’t get upset when I heard the news about Harvey Weinstein. Not because I’m ok with any of it, but because it’s Harvey fucking Weinstein and it was completely unsurprising. I can’t “get” upset about something that is already upsetting. I can’t “get” upset about racial inequality, slave labor or human rights violations. Those things already have me upset.
What got me upset was learning that in light of this news people and companies have started being afraid to mentor women because they are worried it might become a problem. People are worried that by giving women the opportunity to succeed they might face sexual assault or harassment allegations in the future. People have been denying others the opportunity to succeed simply because they are women.
If you are one of those people, here’s a life hack for you. Don’t sexually assault or harass people. It’s really that fucking simple.
Here’s another piece of advice, women aren’t dangerous.
Stop acting like they are the danger. They aren’t. The danger is people who can’t treat them like people simply because they are attractive, or because they aren’t considered attractive enough. That’s bullshit.
Don’t be bullshit.