“What’s the point, if you won’t be believed?” actress Amber Tamblyn wrote in an op-ed published in the New York Times on Saturday. In it, she talks about the sexism she’s faced as a young woman in Hollywood, which (not surprisingly) is mirroring the sexism any girl or woman is faced with in any part of society — yes, even still, in 2017. After all, what comes out of Hollywood is mostly a reflection of what comes out of the world at the moment, and, as is being made more than visible by Tamblyn, we sadly still live in a man’s world: where men will tell a woman, no matter how accurate (and, in many cases, proof-stacked) her truth, accusation, or court case is, that “there are always two sides to every story.”
By recounting her own experiences, Tamblyn makes it clear that while men will always get the benefit of the doubt, women will be left with an over-pouring stockpot of insecurity, shame, and even disbelief in their own truths and memories.
Tamblyn recounts a recent Twitter debate she engaged in with the actor James Woods. Woods was criticizing Armie Hammer’s upcoming movie, Call Me By Your Name, which depicts a story of a 24-year old in a relationship with a 17-year-old. Hammer called out Woods’ criticism and pointed to the double-standard of it — Woods himself is known for dating women who are significantly younger than he is. When this happened, Tamblyn tweeted that she remembered Woods trying to pick herself and a friend up from an LA diner when she was 16, and when she had reminded him of her age, he had told her that “it was even better.” Woods was 52 at the time. Shortly after Tamblyn tweeted this, Woods tweeted back, saying, “the first is illegal. The second is a lie.”
Amber Tamblyn is far from the first woman with a story like this, she won’t be the last. Her op-ed is incredibly important as it brings attention and gives a voice to so many of us who have been similarly shut down, silenced and disbelieved by the men and the system we tell them to. Something that, when it keeps reoccurring (which it almost always does) eventually makes us all start to disbelieve in ourselves, too. Because, as Tamblyn so eloquently states, what is the point if you won’t be believed? Well, there might not be one. But the more we are, the louder we become, the harder it will be to shut us up and tell us we are wrong. A sexist and misogynist world might be able to silence one of us, but it won’t be able to silence us all.
I have been afraid of speaking out or asking things of men in positions of power for years. What I have experienced as an actress working in a business whose business is to objectify women is frightening. It is the deep end of a pool where I cannot swim. It is a famous man telling you that you are a liar for what you have remembered. For what you must have misremembered, unless you have proof.
The women I know, myself included, are done, though, playing the credentials game. We are learning that the more we open our mouths, the more we become a choir. And the more we are a choir, the more the tune is forced to change.
Read the full essay at the New York Times.
Top photo of Amber Tamblyn by Michael Levine for BUST.
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