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Commentary. This manifesto, signed by 124 Italian actresses, expresses the common dissent of all women united against the system of power and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Common dissent

From the women of the entertainment business to all women. We are united for rewriting the rules for the workplace, and for a society that reflects a new balance between women and men.

For some months now, ever since the Weinstein case, in many countries, actresses, the working women of the entertainment industry, have spoken up and have begun to reveal a truth that is so commonplace as to be chilling.

This document is not only an act of solidarity with all the actresses who have had the courage to speak up in Italy—and, because of this, have been attacked, harassed, even sued—but also a necessary act of bearing witness.

We thank you, because we know that what each of you is saying is true, and we know this because it happened to all of us, in different ways and taking different forms.

We support you and we will support you in the future, as well as all the others who will choose to tell their own experience.

When it comes to sexual harassment, the current tendency is, first of all, to try to isolate the problem to a single offender, who is pathologized and serves as a scapegoat. This creates a momentary wave of indignation against a single director, producer, judge, doctor—in short, one man in power.

As soon as the wave of indignation subsides, the representatives of “common sense” begin to wonder about the truth of what the “victims of harassment” said, and start asking questions about who they are, how they behave, what ulterior motive has led them to speak out.

“Common sense” also begins to ask itself questions about what will become of the free and healthy game of seduction, and about the clear artistic, professional or commercial merits of the perpetrator, who, in the long run, will be allowed back into the system.

In this way, this veritable “name-clearing machine” is aimed at keeping us quiet and making us think twice before we open our mouth, especially if certain things happened in the distant past and therefore are not considered to be of interest.

In short, the message is that no more time should be wasted in asking about the truthfulness of the accounts of the harassed women: instead, let’s put the women in jail, or under house arrest, or in a convent, or at least keep them locked away inside the house. Only if we do that they will finally just stop talking!

But their talking reveals the way in which sexual harassment is preserved and reproduced by institutions, how it becomes part of culture itself and of common sense, a set of practices that we have to accept because this is the way things have always been, and always will be.

The choice that every woman has to make in the workplace is “get used to it, or get out of the system.”

We are not interested in the accused being pilloried in the media. Ours is not, and never will be, a moralistic discourse.

Sexual harassment has nothing to do with the “game of seduction.” We know our own pleasure, and what the line is between desire and abuse, freedom and violence.

Why the cinema? Why actresses? For two reasons.

The first is that the body of the actress embodies collective desire, and since in the current system collective desire is the same as male desire, “common sense” sees actresses as narcissistic creatures, fickle and vain, willing to use their bodies as a bargaining chip in order to be showcased.

The actresses, as bodies that are exposed publicly, expose in turn a system that goes beyond the world of the entertainment business, and applies to all women, whether in the workplace or outside it.

The second reason why this indictment has started with actresses is because they have the strength to speak, their visibility amplifying all our voices.

The actresses have the merit and duty of becoming the voice in this battle for all the women who live in the same situation, in jobs in which their words do not have the same visibility or force.

Sexual harassment cuts from top to bottom. It is a system in itself. It is part of a societal structure that is there for everyone to see, involving men being the absolute majority of those in positions of power, the gender-based differences in pay for the same job, and the constant and ongoing sexualization of the workplace.

Gender inequality in the workplace puts women—all women—at risk of harassment, as they are always subject to an implicit blackmail. It happens to the secretary, the laborer, the immigrant, the student, the intern, the maid.

It happens to all women.

Calling sexual harassment a system—not the pathology of any single individual—means threatening the reputation of this culture as a whole.

We are not the “victims” of this system—we are the ones who now have the strength to unmask it and fight back.

We don’t point the finger only at some particular “harasser.” We are challenging the whole system.

This is the time when we have stopped being afraid.

  1. Alessandra Acciai
  2. Elisa Amoruso
  3. Francesca Andreoli
  4. Michela Andreozzi
  5. Ambra Angiolini
  6. Alessia Barela
  7. Chiara Barzini
  8. Valentina Bellè
  9. Sonia Bergamasco
  10. Ilaria Bernardini
  11. Giulia Bevilacqua
  12. Nicoletta Billi
  13. Laura Bispuri
  14. Barbora Bobulova
  15. Anna Bonaiuto
  16. Donatella Botti
  17. Laura Buffoni
  18. Giulia Calenda
  19. Francesca Calvelli
  20. Maria Pia Calzone
  21. Antonella Cannarozzi
  22. Cristiana Capotondi
  23. Anita Caprioli
  24. Valentina Carnelutti
  25. Sara Casani
  26. Manuela Cavallari
  27. Michela Cescon
  28. Carlotta Cerquetti
  29. Valentina Cervi
  30. Cristina Comencini
  31. Francesca Comencini
  32. Paola Cortellesi
  33. Geppi Cucciari
  34. Francesca D’Aloja
  35. Caterina D’Amico
  36. Piera De Tassis
  37. Cecilia Dazzi
  38. Matilda De angelis
  39. Orsetta De Rossi
  40. Cristina Donadio
  41. Marta Donzelli
  42. Ginevra Elkann
  43. Esther Elisha
  44. Nicoletta Ercole
  45. Tea Falco
  46. Giorgia Farina
  47. Sarah Felberbaum
  48. Isabella Ferrari
  49. Anna Ferzetti
  50. Francesca Figus
  51. Camilla Filippi
  52. Liliana Fiorelli
  53. Anna Foglietta
  54. Iaia Forte
  55. Ilaria Fraioli
  56. Elisa Fuksas
  57. Valeria Golino
  58. Lucrezia Guidone
  59. Sabrina Impacciatore
  60. Lorenza Indovina
  61. Wilma Labate
  62. Rosabell Laurenti
  63. Antonella Lattanzi
  64. Doriana Leondeff
  65. Miriam Leone
  66. Carolina Levi
  67. Francesca Lo Schiavo
  68. Valentina Lodovini
  69. Ivana Lotito
  70. Federica Lucisano
  71. Gloria Malatesta
  72. Francesca Manieri
  73. Francesca Marciano
  74. Alina Marazzi
  75. Cristiana Massaro
  76. Lucia Mascino
  77. Giovanna Mezzogiorno
  78. Paola Minaccioni
  79. Laura Muccino
  80. Laura Muscardin
  81. Olivia Musini
  82. Carlotta Natoli
  83. Anna Negri
  84. Camilla Nesbitt
  85. Susanna Nicchiarelli
  86. Laura Paolucci
  87. Valeria Parrella
  88. Camilla Paternò
  89. Valentina Pedicini
  90. Gabriella Pescucci
  91. Vanessa Picciarelli
  92. Federica Pontremoli
  93. Benedetta Porcaroli
  94. Daniela Piperno
  95. Vittoria Puccini
  96. Ondina Quadri
  97. Costanza Quatriglio
  98. Isabella Ragonese
  99. Monica Rametta
  100. Paola Randi
  101. Maddalena Ravagli
  102. Rita Rognoni
  103. Alba Rohrwacher
  104. Alice Rohrwacher
  105. Federica Rosellini
  106. Fabrizia Sacchi
  107. Maya Sansa
  108. Valia Santella
  109. Lunetta Savino
  110. Greta Scarano
  111. Daphne Scoccia
  112. Kasia Smutniak
  113. Valeria Solarino
  114. Serena Sostegni
  115. Daniela Staffa
  116. Giulia Steigerwalt
  117. Fiorenza Tessari
  118. Sole Tognazzi
  119. Chiara Tomarelli
  120. Roberta Torre
  121. Tiziana Triana
  122. Jasmine Trinca
  123. Adele Tulli
  124. Alessandra Vanzi
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