“For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dare speak the truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up.” (Oprah Winfrey)
The 2018 Golden Globes Awards had what many are saying a “new vibe.” It was a night full of actors and actresses dressed in all black to support the Time’s Up campaign, talking of the dawn of a new day for women who have not been able to speak the truth about the abuses they have suffered.
This year has been riddled with sexual harassment allegations, #MeToo, and the over throwing of incredibly powerful men in Hollywood, but there is a new wave of change that goes well beyond the entertainment industry, addressing an issue that “transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics, or workplace” (Oprah Winfrey).
Many actors and actresses at the Golden Globes spoke out against the sexual harassment that has come to light over the past year, and Oprah delivered a compelling speech when she received the Cecil B DeMille award, a speech that brought the room to their feet. Oprah concluded her speech with these compelling final lines:
“And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say ‘me too’ again.”
There are new campaigns being spearheaded by celebrities to help all women, especially those who are underprivileged, to stand up and get the help they need to overcome any form of abuse. Your daughters and sons have likely heard a lot about these issues, movements, and hashtags. What does this all mean for them? Regardless of the politics, the opinions behind these movements or the Golden Globe Awards, what can you do to help your teens better understand these current issues?
The Time’s Up campaign calls them, and all of us, to a higher standard in the way we treat one another, what we put up with, and when we choose to take a stand. This issue transcends all religions, but it also reminds us of our long standing Catholic tradition of upholding the dignity of the human person, echoing the words of Christ, “love one another as I have loved you” and “love your neighbor as yourself” (John 13:34-35, Mark 12:31).
Here are a few things to think about or talk to your teens about in light of the popularity of these issues and campaigns:
- Do your teens have a trusted adult (maybe you, or maybe not) who they feel comfortable talking to about serious issues in their lives?
- Have you talked to your teens about their experiences at school and if they ever see their friends or classmates being harassed?
- What sort of things would your teens consider to be abuse or harassment? Do they have a large enough scope of what types of interactions should be considered inappropriate?
- What do your teens see on social media? Do they feel comfortable flagging posts as inappropriate content, or do they feel comfortable confronting friends or unfollowing people who post that type of content?
- Is your teen aware of the severity of spreading false rumors on social media?
- Do you have clear steps in place with your teen so he or she knows what to do if he or she feels uncomfortable in any sort of situation?
- Have you had conversations with your teen about the importance of telling you (or the trusted adult) if he or she ever encounters abuse or harassment, no matter the threats of the abuser?
- Do you empower your teen to be a leader among his or her peers to not tolerate any type of derogatory behavior and show people the dignity and respect they deserve?
- Has your teen ever taken advantage of someone else, or misused social media in a way that could be considered harassment? Do you have consequences in place for such actions?
While these are not always easy conversations to have, they are incredibly important. These issues will only continue to come up as the entertainment industry continues to lead the way in popular culture. Now more than ever is the time to remind your teens of the dignity of the human person and the respect we all deserve and to continually remind them of their own worth. Help your teen see his or her own voice and the power that he or she has to to be a leader, to reveal the truth and right the wrongs that have been committed against them or people they know.