Women Seek Justice: One Side and an Interrogation to Every Story

In Sunday’s New York Times on September 24th, actress Amber Tamblyn wrote an op-ed on women and how their voices, opinions, recollections, and decisions are always questioned. Initially, this just sounds like another women’s rights piece, but honestly, how many pieces have to be written before a change actually occurs?

Now I know this is a big topic that can‘t be changed in an instant, because it’s not like all women would be treated equally with the flick of a new law. Technically, we as women were given this right in 1972 with the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment. Women are also allowed to make their own abortion decisions, breastfeed in public, not be discriminated at their workplace if they are/become pregnant, and have equal employment opportunities.

These are important issues that make a difference in women’s everyday lives, yet, it isn’t enough. Women are still paid at lower rates for jobs they are more than qualified for. Women are being intimidated into feeling incompetent to apply for a higher position or file a complaint. Women are still being accused of being the culprit when they are the victim by pointing out minor matters.

I stand by Tamblyn’s article as she speaks of her own experiences. Reading through the comments while also re-reading the op-ed gives me strong support/evidence as to why her opinion matters/should be justified.

Initially, this Op-Ed was inspired by an issue she came across on Twitter concerning a Sundance movie with Armie Hammer who plays a 24 year old man in Italy eventually falling in love with a 19 year old boy. James Woods, a long time actor known for movies like Casino or maybe you’re more familiar with his multiple appearances in Family Guy, took to the internet to speak against such concept and the illegality of it all. Hammer called him out as a hypocrite, recalling the fact that not too long ago Woods himself dated a 20 year old while he was 66. Enter in Amber, who tweeted about a time when Woods asked her and her friend to go to Las Vegas with him, telling him that she was 16 and him replying “Even better.” Woods, of course, denies such story and said it was a lie, adding that he doesn’t care what liberals think.

I guess in this instant we shouldn’t care about Woods’ thoughts if his credibility in opinion (in my eyes, at least) is invalid when considering the hypocrisy. But Tamblyn’s point in her Op-Ed wasn’t to create more of an argument against Woods, but to point out, once again, how a woman’s voice can be put down so easily.

Tamblyn herself recalls an experience in which she had on set when she was 21 with a crew member who was a little more than evasive. She says at first she did like him and flirted a bit even though she was in a relationship, but she started to feel so unsafe that she went to the producers to tell them about it. Their response: “Well, there’s two sides to every story.”

A 63 year old woman who is a critic of Tamblyn’s and had made multiple posts, commented:

“She [Amber] does not assert that she told him [the crew member] to leave her alone, but that she told the boss. The reason for the boss’s comment may very well have been that he had observed her behavior with the crew member and it appeared she was encouraging him.”

Although it may be easy to accuse Tamblyn, if she was truly feeling unsafe in this situation–where he was entering her trailer in her absence, showing up at her apartment unannounced, being aware his actions were inappropriate while she had a boyfriend–would he really resist any attempt to pursue her with her simply asking him to stop? That very well could have been the case and an easy solution, but from her account, it didn’t seem like that is what would have happened.

Reading this piece reminded me of singer Kesha’s court case against music producer Dr. Luke, where she took him to court because she was refusing to make music with him on account of him raping her years prior, but due to her contract with the company she couldn’t legally make music anywhere else. Though she has made an album after 3 years of being in a legal battle, there is a continuation to go to court over defamation accusations. Dr. Luke will also still profit from the album in certain ways due to labeling, but why did Kesha have to suffer from physical and, mainly, mental instabilities in order to be heard and do what she loves? Women shouldn’t have to suffer in order to live life safely and confidently.

Overall, while both men and women were for and against Tamblyn’s article, I believe commenter Peadubs from Michigan said it best:

You misunderstand what she wrote. She didn’t say that men shouldn’t get to tell their side to the story. She didn’t say that we should assume that men are guilty based on the accusations of women.

She wrote,‘Women do not get to have a side. They get to have an interrogation.’ Every woman who’s come forward about harassment, abuse, and violation and who has encountered someone who says,‘There are two sides to every story,’ knows that there is only one side that will be believed, and that side isn’t that of the woman who is making the complaint.

Tamblyn isn’t advocating for taking anything away from men who are accused; she’s advocating for giving voice to women who come forward.”