I am disturbed, yet hopeful about this current unveiling of powerful sex offenders in Hollywood. I hope this will continue to give strength to silenced voices.
I was an actress in television and film for 23 years. I worked a lot, but as I became a woman I worked less and felt more and more like a misfit. From my teens on, literally most of the auditions I went on called for an "edgy, and sexually vulnerable" woman. I would put on black eyeliner like the other women, wear clothes to reveal my shape, bring the tears, feel the pain in the scenes... I never got cast in those parts. And those were often the career making roles. I was told I looked "too young," "too amiable," one director actually told me my face looked "inexperienced." I am so fortunate to say that I have never once been sexually assaulted in anyway. But I actually felt that was a major detriment to my career. I was sexually active, but only in healthy consensual relationships. I felt like my career was facing a stand still because I wasn't damaged. I became jealous of fellow actresses who were. I felt like I wasn't sexy in the way Hollywood wanted me to be. I was dismayed that most films had maybe one or two female characters while having many many males. There were so few chances to get at a meaty role. And when they were meaty it was often because of sexual assault in the story or character background. These may have been extremely powerful and meaningful stories to tell, but there seemed to be little room for me and my inexperienced face.
The role of women in Hollywood is changing and yet there is quite a long way to go. I thank my feminist friends (like the incredible @avabogle ) for working their asses off to make the difference. I myself left it all behind to begin telling myself a new personal story. One where my health IS sexy. Where my sexual experience DOES count, even it is just consensual. And thanks to my experience, I now have a son, who I am excited to raise as a feminist, who is taught to respect his body and those of others. Photo by @authenticasheville