The day after Oprah’s instantly iconic Golden Globes speech, that got people talking about President Oprah, she sat down with Reese Witherspoon, America Ferrera, Natalie Portman, Shonda Rhimes, and Tracee Ellis Ross to talk about the Time’s Up movement for CBS Sunday Morning.
Specifically, Oprah wanted these women of Hollywood, which also included Shonda Rhimes, Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy, and attorney Nina Shaw to speak about the effect Time’s Up is having on women everywhere.
Witherspoon said that having so many women standing together to tackle sexual misconduct is making it safe for everyone to open up about their own Me Too moments. It even encouraged Witherspoon to speak out about being sexually assaulted at 16 years old by a director.
“There are moments that you have to evaluate whether silence is going to be your only option,” Witherspoon said. “And certain times that was our only option. But now is not that time.” Especially for Witherspoon and the other women who sat down with Oprah.
“You know, we have public voices. We have resources,” Witherspoon said. “But women who are workers in this country have nothing to gain in certain times by coming forward. But we want to help. It gives me strength to hopefully help other women.”
To gain momentum, Ross said women would have to keep speaking up for one another. That’s why she wanted to make it clear the Time’s Up is a campaign without a hierarchy. “We’re all sort of workers among workers and women among women,” she said, “sort of rolling up our sleeves and doing whatever sort of comes to the forefront.”
Ross said there’s a “constructive fury that has resulted in a resolute pursuit of equity,” that has empowered people to stand together. “We’re all like, this is not just my hurt, this is more than my hurt, this is not just my anger, this is our anger,” she said. “And instead of it just being a feeling, it’s becoming an action.”
Ferrera thought there was “a tectonic shift underneath our feet” that was encouraging people to come forward. That includes Ferrera, who shared the story of her sexual assault, which started when she was nine years old at the hands of someone she knew last year. “Women and men are feeling like we can no longer not say the truth,” Ferrera said. “And when the truth is said, there is maybe a ripple in our culture right now that is going to allow for there to be a change.”
That change will take time, though, and Oprah wondered how “nuanced conversation” can happen when it’s about a subject like sexual misconduct, which makes both women and men uncomfortable. According to Portman, it starts by admitting that we all deserve to be treated with the same respect, no matter our gender.
“We’re humans. We’re all humans,” Portman said. “And I think it’s treating people as fellow humans and – and it’s not because you have a daughter that you respect a woman, it’s not because you have a wife or a sister, it’s because we’re human beings, whether we’re related to a man or not. We deserve the same respect.”
Oprah might have just found her Vice President for a ticket that, unlike the list of directors at the Golden Globes, is not just all-male nominees.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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