By: Tanjeen Twinkle
The Me Too movement was founded in 2006 by Tarana Burke, an activist from Harlem to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly black women and girls, and other young women of color from low wealth communities. The movement was started to help them find ways to heal, according to Me Too Movement website.
Then, the #MeToo movement virally spread across the United States around October 2017. That’s when more people have gotten aware of the movement and what the movement is about.
There were allegations of abuse in the film industry as well. The most famous, or should I say infamous, being noted producer Harvey Weinstein.
The movement spread virally as a hashtag on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread terrible situations of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. Also, scores of celebrities such as Alyssa Milano, Lady Gaga, Debra Messing, Sophia Bush, and many other female and even male stars joined this movement as well. That’s how the #MeToo movement reached the Hollywood Industry- because many actresses in the industry went through this problem.
Milano even encouraged victims of sexual harassment to tweet about it, so that people understand and sense the magnitude of the problem a little bit better.
As the #MeToo movement blazed across America, it’s impact extended around the world. Recently, one of the largest Asian countries (with some of the worst conditions for women) began its own #MeToo movement: India
Recently, more Bollywood actresses have started speaking out about sexual abuse and harassment in the Indian film industry, which has been going on for a long time- unbeknownst to anyone outside the industry.
The movement started when former actress and former Miss Universe Tanushree Dutta, while on a trip to India spoke about this incident to a few journalists. She also did an interview with BBC news to talk about what happened to her and why she stayed away from movies after the incident took place decades ago*.
Her interview went viral and helped launch the #MeToo movement in India. Dutta said she was harassed in a movie set by a famous Bollywood actor, who has done around 70 films, Nana Patekar. Patekar still denies this allegation, whenever reporters try to talk to him about it.
After Dutta shared her stories, many Bollywood high-profile actresses spoke about this movement and also shared their personal accounts. Famous actresses, from 1970s superstar Zeenat Aman to 1994 Miss World and high profile actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. These two high-profile actresses shared their personal stories as well, and these accounts happened before Dutta.
It shows that sexual abuse and harassment in the workplace, especially in the biggest film industry is going on for a long time. Ever since the movement started, more actresses and actors like Aamir Khan has been speaking out about it and taking a stand. Even actresses who wanted to work in Bollywood, but never did because they were harassed by someone in the film industry.
After Nana Patekar’s allegations, a lot more male celebrities names have been mentioned as well, such as director and actor Sajid Khan, casting director Mukesh Chhabra, actor Alok Nath, and many more.
Women are being treated wrongly and their stories are undervalued. It’s sad to see some actresses to stop acting, or not even act because of this. This shouldn’t have happened to them, nor should it happen to anyone. This has to change.
Dutta is encouraging more people to speak up about it because if everyone unites together, then they can make a difference. Also, many women in Bollywood are speaking out about this issue and sharing their stories.
Hopefully, India’s government will start creating more laws so women can feel safe anywhere they go. It is sad to think that you have to tell a government to create laws to keep women safe when they should’ve been safe in the first place.
Men shouldn’t behave like this. No one should behave like this. More people *need* to speak out during this movement. More people need to call out men that believe men should act this way- because they shouldn’t. Boys will be boys? Whose stupid idea was that statement? Learn how to treat women properly with respect and kindness.
The Hollywood industry is speaking out about the #MeToo Movement, and thankfully the Bollywood industry is speaking out and doing something about the movement too. It’s about time.