North Country: A Movie That Will Anger You

In my business ethics class, we were assigned to watch a movie called, “North Country”. North Country is a film that explains how workplaces have changed forever. It is based on the Lois Jenson vs Eveleth Taconite case, which was the first ever class-action sexual harassment lawsuit. This film explained, through visuals, what it was like to be a woman working in a “male-dominant” workplace. Josey Aimes, who was played by the lovely Charlize Theron, is the main character of this film. Her story is that she left her abusive husband, and moved back with her parents. She had brought her kids, Sammy and Karen. Josey is not on good terms with her father, Hank, because of how Josey got pregnant at a young age. It was also due to the fact that she did not know who the father was. While she was adjusting and working at a hair salon, she reunites with her friend Glory. Glory happened to work at the iron mine, and suggested the job to her. It was the same iron mine that Hank, Josey’s father, worked at. Josey and her kids end up moving in with Glory and her husband. Josey then starts working at the iron mine and gets herself acquainted with the other women workers. In this film, it shows how very few women workers there were compared to male workers at this mine.

Another thing that was noticeable, not only to the film audience, but to Josey, was how there were multiple acts of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior from the male workers. In this film there were many ethical issues shown. In fact, this whole film seemed to be just one big ethical issue. Women were mistreated in the iron mines. Sherri dealt with “inappropriate toys” in her lunch box, finding semen on her clothes, and being pushed around in a port-a-potty. And it was not just her that suffered through this. It was all the women. The women workers came into their locker room one day with vulgar/explicit language written on the walls. When accused of their doing, the male workers simply reply with “but we are not hurting them, are we?”. Josey also had to deal with her ex-boyfriend from high school. He happened to work at the mine as well. He would mess around with Josey by cornering her and “caressing” her. It got to the point where he got aggressively “physical” with Josey, which left her in tears. There should never be a workplace where any of these acts are allowed, nor are they considered morally right.

This movie has opened my eyes to how our world has changed. It’s hard to believe how mistreated women were back then. We have been told about these events, as well as reading about them in our textbooks. However, to watch a film about it really sets the message in your head. Women today are still fighting for equality. And after watching this film, it feels like it’s time for everyone to understand the hard work, and unfortunate events, that has got us where we are today.

 

 

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