Allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against Harvey Weinstein in recent days have pulled back a horrifying curtain on just how prevalent that sort of behavior is, in Hollywood and in the lives of women everywhere. Many actresses in the industry are now speaking out about sexual abuse and harassment they've faced in their careers, and unfortunately, Jennifer Lawrence is among those voices. On Monday, Jennifer Lawrence said she was made to participate in a "naked line-up" of women early on in her career, and her recollection of the event should horrify anyone who hears about it.
While speaking at Elle's Women in Hollywood event Monday night, Lawrence recalled a time in her career when she was told by film producers to "lose 15 pounds in two weeks," according to Buzzfeed. Lawrence stated that another actress had already been fired from the same role she was trying to get for not losing weight quickly enough.
Lawrence said she then had to participate in a line-up of naked women, as "inspiration for her diet". At the event, Lawrence said, according to Buzzfeed:
During this time a female producer had me do a nude line-up with about five women who were much, much, thinner than me. We are stood side-by-side with only tape on covering our privates. After that degrading and humiliating line-up, the female producer told me I should use the naked photos of myself as inspiration for my diet.
The account is obviously horrifying, degrading, and completely inappropriate. But Lawrence recalled that she felt she had to put up with that sort of thing when she was younger, "because I felt I had to for my career," according to People.
Lawrence reportedly refused to follow that directive and lose the weight, and even went one step further when she told a male producer that the demands were inappropriate. To make the whole thing even worse, she said, “he responded by telling me he didn't know why everyone thought I was so fat; he thought I was perfectly ‘fuckable,'" according to Vanity Fair.
So not only did Lawrence have to put up with a completely humiliating experience, but she was further invalidated when she alerted someone to the situation and was treated inappropriately yet again. And that was just one incident she dealt with.
Sadly, this isn't the first time Lawrence has spoken out about feeling violated in an intimate way. In 2014, nude photographs of her were leaked to the public, in one of the biggest scandals (and invasions of privacy of Hollywood's biggest names) of the year, according to Vogue. And that event still affects her today. In the September issue, she told Vogue:
I think people saw [the hacking] for what it was, which was a sex crime, but that feeling, I haven't been able to get rid of it. Having your privacy violated constantly isn't a problem if you're perfect. But if you're human, it's terrifying. When my publicist calls me, I'm like, 'Oh, my God, what is it?' even when it's nothing. I'm always waiting to get blindsided again. It's scary when you feel the whole world judges you.
Other celebrity women, such as Kate Upton, Kirsten Dunst, Cara Delevingne, Mary-Kate Olsen, Amber Heard, Kim Kardashian West, and Rihanna were caught up in the release of private photos as well.
Lawrence's experience of dealing with sexual misconduct is not unfamiliar to other women in her industry. And it really should come as no surprise that many other women in Hollywood have their own, similar stories of harassment and abuse.
Actresses Reese Witherspoon and America Ferrara both said on Monday that they, too, are survivors of sexual assaults committed against them when they were younger, according to CNN. At the same Elle Women in Hollywood event, Witherspoon reportedly said of the recent Weinstein scandal's impact on her:
I have my own experiences that have come back to me very vividly and I have found it hard to sleep, hard to think, hard to communicate. A lot of the feelings I've been having about anxiety, about being honest, the guilt for not speaking up earlier or taking action.
Which likely sounds very familiar for any woman who has dealt with sexual abuse or harassment.
And the sort of intense body scrutiny and judgment that Lawrence faced is something most women — no matter if they're actresses or accountants, single women or mothers — have experienced as well. Just looking at one age demographic, a study by Proud2Bme found 94 percent of teenage girls have been body shamed, according to WCNC. Those teenage girls grow into women, who deal with size-based discrimination in everything from every day life to the workplace.
Lawrence's experience, while horrifying and completely unacceptable, is probably not a total shock to many women (which is heartbreaking in itself). And in the wake of the Weinstein allegations, the whole world is hearing that she's not alone. But women don't need to be told about this sort of inappropriate behavior — they live with it all their lives. It's about time somebody listens to us.
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