The morning of February 24th marked a day of victory, amongst women all across the world. After a very long wait, and a seven week trial in New York, Harvey Weinstein was finally convicted on two charges: rape in the third degree, and criminal sexual assault in the first degree. He is now facing anywhere between five to twenty five years in prison, and will be sentenced on March 11.
Weinstein has been accused of sexual harassment since 2015, when Ambra Battilana Gutierrez came forward. However, it wasn’t until 2017, that Weinstein’s sexual harassment cases started gaining attention from the media. That’s also around the same time that the #Metoo movement gained awareness and popularity.
The movement was originally started in 2006, by social activist, Tarana Burke. Burke intended for the #MeToo movement to spread awareness around the issue of sexual abuse in women. It accomplished that goal, when celebrities began to hashtag MeToo on social media platforms, in solidarity with women who have been forced into silence by the men in power.
Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan District Attorney, made a public statement after the jury found Weinstein guilty. A video was released by The New York Times, in which Vance states, “The women who came forward courageously and at great risk made that happen.” He continues on to say, “Dawn Dunning, Miriam Haley, Jessica Mann, Annabella Sciorra, Tarale Wulff, Lauren Young. Meghan Hast, Joan Illuzzi-Orbon. Eight women who have changed the course of history in the fight against sexual violence.”
Although the victims of Weinstein will never be able to undo what happened, they can now have a piece of mind, knowing that the system didn’t let another rapist run free.
Earlier today, a video posted by @girls.girls.girls.magazine on Instagram went viral, amassing almost half a million views. The video is titled, Be A Lady, and features advocate and actress, Cynthia Nixon. In the video, Nixon’s voice is laid over a series of clips and images of women, talking about the pressures of what it’s like to be a woman in society. “Be a lady, they said. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Eat up. Slim down.” That’s just five seconds of the issues that are talked about, throughout this 2 minute video. The premise of it was to show what women go through on a day to day basis, and that no matter what they do, how they look, or how they portray themselves, they’re always going to be judged and ridiculed.
Celebrities such as Vanessa Hudgens and Cara Delevingne reposted the video on Instagram. Other celebrities, such as Lili Reinhart and Lizzo, have spoken honestly about body image. In 2018, during the Glamour Women of the Year Summitt, Reinhart delivered a beautiful speech about how women perceive their bodies, and how the media influences the many insecurities that women possess. Reinhart goes on to say that, “we can’t rely on those who profit from our perceived flaws to change their ways… So, that leaves us with one option, which is changing it ourselves. Showing what’s real with no filter, and certainly no shame.”
In May of 2019, Lizzo did an interview with Entertainment City, and talked about body positivity, individuality, and being a role model to young women everywhere. When asked what advice she would give to young teens, she responded by saying, “high school ends, and thank god it does… When you are free to be you, it is the best feeling in the world.”
Another celebrity known for their active stance in making women the voice of power, is none other than female pop icon, Taylor Swift. In 2019, she released her album, Lover. There was one song that made its presence known, however, and that was The Man: a feminist anthem, about the inequality and injustice between men and women.
In November of last year, Swift stood her ground against well known talent manager, Scooter Braun. Braun bought the record label that Swift was signed to, and took ownership of her first six albums without her knowledge. She found out at the same time that the public found out, and it turned into a huge scandal. Celebrities, such as Selena Gomez, Fletcher, and GiGi Hadid stood by Swift, as she fought for the rights to her own songs. She refused to give up, and that in itself portrays such a positive message to her young fans.
Women have always had a voice, but today was a huge step in making their voices heard. We stand with the victims of Harvey Weinstein, and we stand with any victim of sexual abuse/assault.