Hollywood ‘casting couch’ often lends self to racial stereotypes

Black actresses address issue

Gregg Reese OW Contributor | 11/22/2017, midnight
By now the issue of female subjugation in the motion picture industry has pre-empted..

 Her reaction to the Weinstein outrage was a resounding “me too!”—an affirmation of the two-word social media hashtag that became a rallying cry for women in and outside of showbiz.  

A clinical overview

A compelling component of these proceedings lays in the fact that it encompasses the over arching issue of hierarchy, and gender in the workplace. 

Far from the glamour of entertainment, women struggle with the problem of surviving (and thriving) in male dominated bastions. As an unnamed clinician and therapist practicing for 10 years in east Texas notes, these concerns occur every day, in myriad professions all over the country. As for the Weinstein situation, she (like most of the individuals who responded for interviews) was not surprised by the revelations. Women toiling in dissimilar jobs in industries far from the blinding glare of Hollywood suffer “similar intimidation,” often in situations wherein those who perpetrate the offenses are oblivious to the damage sown. 

 “There’s a fine line between the understanding of what is flirtatious and what harassment is,” she says. 

 Race and ethnicity are, of course, problematic issues in the contemporary quest for diversity in the workplace, but she is adamant that there is a distinct dividing line here.

 “It’s more of a gender issue,” she says firmly.

 Establishing clear cut definitions is difficult (if not impossible) since perceptions of appropriateness vary among cultures and ethnic groups.

A culture of fear

 The responses given confirm the reality that power remains firmly in the grasp of a few (possibly elderly) wealthy White men at the apex of the industry (much like the country in general).

 This is by no means relegated to Hollywood. An unnamed actress from the United Kingdom remembers a “sleazy casting director” who used the pretext of an audition to engage in a make out session and feel her up at the age of 16. Since moving to the United States, she allows that she’s gained roles due to sexual chemistry between herself and the powers that be, well before the prospect of sleeping with some higher up.