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It was "just what you had to do"

What have you put up with that, with hindsight, you wish you hadn't?

Sharon Stone laughing at sexism, because what else you gonna do?

I’ve been thinking a lot about the things Gen-Xers put up with that younger women simply would not tolerate. It’s something that takes up a lot of my headspace, but this particular time was prompted by a video of Sharon Stone (Opens in a new window) that’s been doing the rounds recently. The clip was a couple of years old so I don’t know why it’s suddenly resurfaced (strangely it seems to be unconnected to the shameful slurring of Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner) other than that it’s as relevant today as it was then, and sadly probably will be in five years time. In fact, the way we’re going, possibly more so.

In it, a journalist asks Sharon if she has ever experienced sexual harassment. I know, right? She gives him a wry look and then she bursts out laughing. And laughs. And laughs. For ten seconds. Which might not sound like long, but is very long indeed if you’re an interviewer being laughed at by a guest on national television. The interviewer (White. Male. Middle-aged. Because, of course) truly does not know why Stone is laughing. “Why are you laughing?” he asks plaintively. “Is it because it would never happen or is it because of course you have?” Sharon just laughs harder and then, eventually taking pity on him (like nobody ever took pity on her), says, “I’ve been in this business for 40 years. Can you imagine the business I stepped into? Looking like I look. From nowhere Pennsylvania. I didn’t come here with any protection. I’ve seen it all.”

That came hot on the heels of an interview I did recently with the actor Minnie Driver for an upcoming episode of The Shift with Sam Baker podcast (dropping May 17) where she spoke about the expectation that as a young actress she would sit on Harvey Weinstein’s knee. Whilst it was utterly repugnant, it wasn’t shocking – at the time – it was “just what you had to do”.

Just what you had to do.

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