The Wide Open Secret: Sexual Harassment in a Post-Weinstein World

One emerging fashion model. One professional photographer. Two feisty bloggers/business owners/feminists. Here are our thoughts on the recent surge of sexual harassment allegations in the aftermath of Harvey Weinstein.

 

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As a fresh face in the modeling scene, I am currently experiencing many of the challenges that come with this profession. You have to have the right connections and live in the right location, but most importantly, you have to have ‘the look.’ In the fashion and entertainment industry, looking a certain way can propel you pretty far. However, many people do not realize that there is a lot more to modeling than having desirable physical qualities. Succeeding as a model requires persistence, practice, and risk, and one of the biggest risks involves potentially putting your physical, emotional, and spiritual safety in harm’s way.

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I am lucky in that I have yet to face any abuses of power myself, but the research I have discovered while working on my senior thesis regarding the sexual harassment and mistreatment of models is rather shocking. As young women try to enter into the fashion world, they often do it with little experience or know-how, which leaves them unguarded and vulnerable to predators, which can be their photographers, agents, clients, or bookers. Sexual harassment has been widely tolerated by the fashion and entertainment industries for many years, and things are just now starting to change. As a model, I would recommend to others to always do their research before agreeing to participate in a new project. Talk to other women who have worked with those photographers or agents, and take what they say seriously to keep yourself safe.

Sofiya Stasiv, Fashion Model

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Photographers have a lot of power in this industry.

Particularly in the portraiture scene, it’s no secret that the vast majority of photographers are male and the vast majority of models are female. There is a power dynamic there that spans centuries and yet, I often see photographers write off that dynamic as unimportant or even nonexistent simply because of the ‘age we live in.’ So, I think it’s important to first establish that–in case there was any doubt–there is still a lot of inequality between men and women. Our society has not magically pushed past it; we have only made some progress. Of course, sexual harassment is not limited to just male photographers encroaching on the space of female models. It exists across the gender spectrum and throughout various other jobs in the industry. Yet, I certainly won’t pretend that the former is not particularly potent in its presence.

I approach my own work with this understanding. Many of the people I work with are female models, and a big part of their work involves being vulnerable for someone they often don’t know very well. That alone is an immensely difficult thing to do, but it is further compounded upon when the industry is so full of photographers taking advantage of that vulnerability. I don’t really wish to make a case for photographers on this issue since, as a whole, we truly aren’t the victims of the situation.

We have to do better. That starts with educating ourselves on the nature of consent, listening to women’s experiences instead of silencing them with our own preconceived notions, and understanding that the label of ‘creative vision’ does not give free reign to treat people as objects or sexual tokens.

Most importantly, we have to understand the power we wield as photographers in a male-centric industry with a male gaze. We can either be boons to the improvement of our societal standards or maintain the status quo, subsequently furthering the justified feeling of fear people may have when working with us.

Errick Jackson, Fashion & Portraiture Photographer

 

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Until fairly recently, men could abuse their power and sexually harass or assault women without much fear of repercussion. It was even written into some of their contracts. Frequent sexual harassment was an ‘open secret’ in Hollywood and across the country. Women were often pressured to keep their mouths shut or risk losing their careers. Those who did come forward were often vilified or called liars who were looking for money or attention. And considering 99% of rapists never serve jail time, it’s no wonder that many of these women chose to keep these incidents to themselves.

But something broke after the allegations about Harvey Weinstein came to light. New allegations are coming forward every day against men in entertainment, politics, and business, and they are actually being taken seriously. For the first time in history, powerful men are facing consequences for their actions. Some call it a witch hunt and think that because there are so many men being accused, it cannot possibly be true. But ask any woman alive if she has ever faced sexual harassment, and the answer will almost assuredly be yes.

We still have a long way to go in changing our culture, but we have made a lot of progress in the span of just a month or two. No longer do women have to fear losing their careers by coming forward and ousting their bosses or directors. In a post-Weinstein world, any man who has ever abused his power to sexually harass/assault women (or men), will have to spend every damn day living in fear that one of his victims will come forward and his career will be ruined. And that is one of the biggest victories. It is difficult to stomach that many of these men will never be brought to justice in the eyes of the law because the statute of limitations has passed, but at least we can rest easy knowing now that they are the ones who cannot sleep at night.

-S & H

 

 

Hannah’s Wearing:

| H&M Statement Sleeve Blouse | Goodwill Blue High-Waisted Trousers (similar) | Target Embroidered Ankle Boots | Amazon Fishnet Socks | Amazon Yellow Circle Sunglasses | Zara Black Quilted Crossbody Bag with Lion Detail |

Sofiya’s Wearing:

| TJ Maxx Floral Wrap Dress (similar) | Goodwill Leather Jacket with Fur Collar (similar) | Marc Fisher Buckle Ankle Boots | Goodwill Quilted Leather Purse (similar) |

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| Zara Chunky Beige Sweater (similar) | Express Flared Trousers (similar) | Amazon Embroidered Heels | Lulu’s Faux Fur Snood (similar) | Amazon Statement Strap Purse | Kohl’s Blue Sunglasses (similar) |

 

Photos by: Errick Jackson

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The Fashion, Friendship, and Feminism of The Bold Type

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, for which we will receive a small commission if you click on our link and buy a clothing or accessory item. Our opinions on those pieces are always our own! ❤ 

 

We love The Bold Type  because it doesn’t hide its femininity.

Unlike a lot of other shows and movies, this one does not portray liking fashion and makeup and manicures as a weakness.

Rather, The Bold Type uses classically feminine ideas as a vessel to show that badassery can come cloaked in Givenchy.

Despite the somewhat predictable plotlines and borderline cheesiness, this show passes with flying colors when it comes to the three F’s:

Fashion, Friendship, and Feminism.

(Like seriously, is that our perfect slogan or is that our perfect slogan?)

 

The Fashion

Sometimes we have to ask ourselves: does Scarlet have hallways or runways? With Jane, Kat, and Sutton strutting down them in leather pants and thigh-high boots, we sometimes feel as though we’re in the front row at a fashion show rather than a high-rise Manhattan office building.

We were hooked on The Bold Type as soon as we saw this trio dressed to the nines, holding hands, and screaming into the passing subway train in the opening scene. We were confused, but we were hooked.

Online Fashion: Off-The-Shoulder Top and Earrings

J, K & S are bold in their love lives, their careers, and their fashion. And obviously it helps that they don’t exactly have to follow an “office dress code.” We will never forget when Sutton walked into work wearing a plunging, form-fitting jumpsuit; it gave us goosebumps (and near heart attacks).

When we were putting together our own outfits for this post, we constantly asked ourselves if we were being “bold enough.” These three are always ahead of the fashion curve, so we did not want to settle for anything less.

 

The Friendship

The always-have-your-back brand of friendship in this show feels like a breath of fresh air after decades of being fed stereotypes about selfish, backstabbing female friends.

No matter what life throws their way, Jane, Sutton, and Kat always show up for each other.

 

Fashion Ideas: Black Floppy Hat, Gray Tee, and Layered Necklaces

 

When Sutton was afraid to take a position as an underpaid assistant to further her dream of having a career in fashion, Kat offered up her own apartment where she could live rent-free to put her financial worries at ease.

When Jane faced her fears and got tested for the BRCA gene mutation, Kat and Sutton dropped everything to come with her and hold her hand, both while she got tested and while she learned her results.

And when Kat started to question her feelings towards Adena and own sexuality, Jane and Sutton helped her accept herself as she was, even if she didn’t fully understand it.

 

The Feminism

We could write an entire post about the feminism in this show (and we probably will eventually), but for now we will focus on one facet: Jacqueline Carlyle.

Jacqueline is the Editor-In-Chief of Scarlet magazine, and she turns the “Miranda Priestly” character on its head by coupling her authority with compassion and vulnerability, particularly in the season finale.

(We won’t ruin it for you, but it is a must watch).

Online Fashion: Off The Shoulder Top and Statement Earrings

Women in power are often portrayed as “bitchy” or “unlikable,” but Jacqueline is neither. She knows what she wants and how to get it, but what sets her apart is that she pays as much attention to the means as she does to the ends. She listens, she apologizes when she makes mistakes, and she welcomes fresh ideas, even if they are not her own.

Jacqueline demonstrates exactly how the ability to empathize is a competitive edge.

We want a boss like Jacqueline. We each want to be a boss like Jacqueline. And so, we will leave you with one of our favorite quotes from her, which perfectly captures what many of us see as the essence of the female experience:

 

“I expect you to have adventures. I expect you to fall in love, to get your hearts broken. I expect you to have sex with the wrong people. To have sex with the right people, to make mistakes and make amends, take a leap and make a splash. And I expect you to unleash holy hell on anybody who tries to hold you back.”

New Fashion: The Bold Type

Sabrina’s Wearing:

| H&M Dotted Mesh Top | H&M Leather Pants | Zara Gray Flats (similar) |Amazon Velvet Statement Strap Purse |Amazon Birdcage Earrings |

Hannah’s Wearing:

| Goodwill Gray T-Shirt (similar)| Goodwill Pinstriped Wide Leg Pants (similar)| Vince Camuto Strappy Heels (similar) | Target Black Felt Hat | Daisy Chain Layered Necklaces (similar)| Goodwill White Clutch (similar)|

 

 

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