My Takeaway From Bombshell

Over winter break, my entire family went to see Bombshell, the new drama depicting Gretchen Carlson’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News founder Roger Ailes. It was amazing to see a movie that talks about this prominent issue, especially seeing that the events portrayed on screen only occurred four years ago. With the rise of the Me Too movement and other causes, it often feels as though the world assumes that all women’s rights issues have been addressed. This film served as a reminder that despite the progress women have made, sexual harassment is still a prominent aspect of everyday life and work environments.

Driving home from the film, my parents saw the opportunity to use this film as a teaching moment for my teenage brother. The phrase “that is why you have to be very careful with what you say” has since become ingrained in my mind. My brother has no filter and we often need to remind him to think about the implications of what he is saying. However, in this moment I found myself thinking, why are we focusing on the repercussion’s men can face for sexual harassment? We just saw a film the exhibited disgusting behavior and our big takeaway is that men need to be careful with what they say because of the possible repercussions?

Now my parents do not condone sexual harassment and have taught my brothers to respect women as their equals, but this discussion made me think about a larger societal issue. Too often, women are accused of being overly sensitive and blamed for ruining a man's life by coming out with their story. This was clearly depicted in the movie, when Gretchen Carlson was shunned by her coworkers. Boys are being taught to fear women and to not sexually harass them because of the possible repercussions. We should be teaching young men not to abuse and harass women because it is wrong. Also, men harassing women is not the only scenario that exists. Women can harass men or individuals of the same gender can harass each other. Sexual harassment is an issue of respect that can be faced by anyone. Why does society perpetuate this fear of being caught, rather than teach the importance of mutual respect?

I had some issues with the portrayal of characters in Bombshell, particularly that they chose to portray Megan Kelly as the hero who stands up for sexual assault victims. Her testimony against Roger Ailes was important, but a lot of other women are pushed aside, and she becomes the film's focus. Megan Kelly has even come out since the movie's release, claiming that the portrayal of her is not completely accurate. Despite my own criticism of the film’s depiction of events, it serves as an important reminder to all of us. Sexual harassment occurs every day; be aware of it and do not excuse disrespectful behavior.