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Amber Tamblyn: We Must Believe Women

Actress, director, and writer Amber Tamblyn has come forth to speak publicly, in a recent New York Times op-ed, about the struggles that women in the entertainment industry, and in society overall, must face. The crux of these issues, according to Tamblyn, is not being believed because of one’s gender.

In her urgent and powerful op-ed, Tamblyn recounts her own personal experience with reporting harassment by a crew member to the producer of a show – both were men. Shaken by the crew member’s habit of following her home and occupying her empty trailer on set, Tamblyn, who was then 21-years-old, decided to tell the producer. After sharing her discomfort, Tamblyn was essentially discredited on the spot.

“Well, there are two sides to every story,” said the producer in response.

Tamblyn argues that such attitudes explain why women are afraid to report incidents of sexual assault or harassment, and why 65 percent of sexual assaults and rapes went unreported between 2006 and 2010. Women are constantly held in doubt when they bring up any possible wrongdoing by men, and women are often blamed for their own actions. Women are even forced to question their own credibility.

Tamblyn recounts another, more recent incident when she attacked actor James Woods’ attitude about adults dating minors online. Though Woods had apparently criticized a film for depicting a 24-year-old man in a relationship with a 17-year-old boy, Woods himself has a history of dating younger women.

Armie Hammer, a friend of Tamblyn and an actor in the aforementioned movie, had gotten into a Twitter fight with Woods over his hypocrisy. In support of Hammer, Tamblyn took to Twitter herself to point out that Woods had once tried to take Tamblyn and her friend to Vegas when she was younger. Allegedly, when Tamblyn informed Woods that she was only 16-years-old, Woods had said, “Even better.”

Woods immediately called Tamblyn’s story a lie. Addressing such an accusation in her op-ed, Tamblyn essentially laughs at the idea: “What would I get out of accusing this person of such an action, almost 20 years after the fact?” she says. “Notoriety, power or respect? I am more than confident with my quota of all three.”

She reminds readers that rehashing past memories of harassment or worse are painful enough for women – and being questioned and disbelieved afterwards is only worse.

The disbelief from men permeates women’s beliefs about themselves. In her final example, Tamblyn mentions a girlfriend in the business who was at first hesitant to ask for a directing job, then unsure of her own abilities once she received it. As men in power continually crush and discredit women for their words, more and more women doubt their own capacity to not only speak, but also to achieve.

In our culture, and especially in the film and TV industry, women must put an end to men silencing them. Amber Tamblyn is unafraid to raise her voice, and she says that you shouldn’t be afraid either.

Featured Image by perzon seo on Flickr

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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