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Times up: The Talk of the Taboo to Begin?
The #TimesUp campaign was started on 1st January 2018, in response to Weinstein and #MeToo
Taboo subjects: we all know what they are. Why is it that speaking out about domestic violence and sexual assault counts as a taboo? Why has it taken the Times Up movement so long to form within Hollywood? And why is it that, even with campaigns all around the world, everyone feels scared to speak out – especially the victims?
For a topic labelled for decades as such a taboo subject, it is portrayed fairly adequately in television shows, soaps and dramas alike. However, it hardly ever tells the full truth: the death of many victims at the hands of their abusers. An estimated 36 women a week are murdered by people they once thought loved them, so why is this rarely the case in television shows?
The 23 year long running show, Hollyoaks, has recently featured domestic abuse as a central focus of the programme and has successfully kept many watchers of the show fascinated over what would happen. As a weekly worried watcher of the show, I found myself on the edge of my seat, always waiting, wondering and wishing that someone would do something to help. But what the show didn't reveal was an ending that is realistic to those in this harrowing situation.
The soap, with a staggering 2 million viewers a week, featured on and off couple of two years Patrick and Maxine. The producers made sure they were the sole focus of the television show to keep watchers intrigued and as the wedding came, it seemed that the story would end when Maxine accidentally exposed her new husband. Spoiler alert: he managed to convince multiple people that she was lying and they, unfortunately, continued their relationship. After a lot of events over the course of multiple months, Maxine was scared back into a relationship with him, looking after him after his Motor Neurone disease diagnosis.
Of course a multitude of fans took to the internet to express their opinions – as teenagers do when something moves them – and the story line was voted the best in 2015. The show made it compelling and convincing for an audience through the abuse during Maxine's pregnancy, the continued abuse and the so called blindness of Maxine as she went back after he sent her to jail. To say that the story line was a roller coaster of emotions would be an understatement, but was it really a true portrayal?
Television isn't the only thing that has gotten people talking. The controversy between Chris Brown and Rihanna - an assault in 2009 that still haunts the award-winning singer - sparked conversations about how celebrities aren't immune to hurt and pain; celebrities are human too. A happier ending was achieved here as she managed to break free of the relationship and now is continuing her career as a Grammy nominated star. As for Chris Brown, the American singer, songwriter and actor, was sentenced to serve five years probation and to spend a lousy 1,400 hours in labour oriented service. In all areas of opinion, you have to think: did the punishment fit the crime? Or has it added to the abuse being downtrodden and suppressed?
As a society, we look for people to place blame onto and in this instance people in charge are not exactly using their power and influence to help solve the issue. Instead, America has voted in a misogynistic, racist and sexist celebrity into a position of great power. If the President of the United States of America, one of the most powerful and therefore influential countries in the world, cannot respect women, how do we expect the public to talk about the atrocities of domestic violence?
Furthermore, America has once again been rocked, but this time, by the allegations against Weinstein - a name that everyone knows thanks to the exposure by strong women and apologetic men in the film industry. Kate Beckinsale, Rose McGowan and Gwyneth Paltrow are amongst nearly 90 women who have accused Weinstein of crimes ranging from harassment to rape. Weinstein has denied all the allegations which has caused uproar within Hollywood and around the entire globe. A positive to come out of this is the Times Up movement: it has prompted change, enabled people in the public to talk about sexual assault, domestic abuse and rape. But why should it take the exposure of the Weinstein wrongdoing to begin the talk of the taboo?
A silver lining (so to speak) is the courage women now have to speak out as a result of the #TimesUp campaign. The campaign has inflamed conversations and has ignited a flame within victims to finally try and speak up. Despite the huge steps made in recent years towards speaking up, men and women are still struggling to speak. So, only as a community can we: speak out, spark conversations and eradicate the taboo.
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© 2018 Amber Louise