A Woman’s Lot

Gillian Anderson had to fight to get equal pay for co-starring in ‘X-Files' with David Duchovny AP PHOTO

Gillian Anderson had to fight to get equal pay for co-starring in ‘X-Files’ with David Duchovny AP PHOTO

Misogyny seems like the kind of thing that we should’ve left behind in older, less enlightened times. And yet we daily receive reminders that we haven’t gotten so very far after all.

There’s the case of Brock Turner, the Stanford swimmer caught raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster — sentenced to only six months in prison, a sentence universally derided as too little (for such a crime) and also too much (for such a bright, talented young man with so much potential). There is no further solace for his victim.

There’s the implosion at Baylor University, where high-level administrators have resigned in disgrace after revelations that the school was systemically suppressing and ignoring sexual assault allegations against its football players.

There is, as I mentioned last week, actress Amber Heard, who has accused husband Johnny Depp of domestic violence, and who is, in turn, accused of lying about it and faking all her evidence, bruises and all.

You cannot escape it, wherever you go. It is easy to retreat into fiction, and yet:

– During this year’s X-Files revival, Gillian Anderson was offered half the pay co-star David Duchovny was, though she eventually fought back and received equal pay. As if one could value Mulder twice as much as Scully.

– The only woman who has headlined a Marvel movie adaptation — since 1986! — is Jennifer Garner as Elektra back in 2005, and the next one, Ant-Man and the Wasp (starring Evangeline Lily alongside top-billed Paul Rudd), isn’t expected until 2018.

– On that note, it didn’t occur to anyone that a billboard of Oscar Isaac choking Jennifer Lawrence with the tagline “Only the strong will survive” to promote X-Men: Apocalypse was pretty damn sexist.

– A future Quentin Tarantino film project recently put out a casting call for (young, thin, all-natural, Caucasian) “whores” that asked aspiring actresses to email photos with the subject line “Whore” for consideration.

– The all-woman Ghostbusters has already claimed the dubious honor of being the most disliked movie trailer of all time on YouTube.

I could go on. Certainly all of these incidents are immensely troubling in different ways, but the one miserable fact they all have in common is that they happen in some small way every single day, and we accept it as inevitable.

But how many times do they need to keep happening until things start to change? How can we make them change? Are we doomed to take baby steps forever? Are we supposed to be content that suffrage was received in the United States of America just 96 years ago? In maybe 50 more, women might be taken seriously at rape trials, is that it?

There is no easy way to change the system, but the first step is recognizing that there is a system, and that it is biased. No, we cannot go out and change a judge’s mind. But we can make it clear in our own actions that we will not stand for this. We can change our own language, our own viewpoints, our own attitudes.

Because if we do not stand up for ourselves, who will?