More

Cameron Russell asked models about sexual harassment. Here are 3 must-read responses.

The model and activist shines a light on an important issue.

Cameron Russell at the COP 21 United Nations conference on climate change in 2015. Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images.

It's been more than five years since model and activist Cameron Russell filmed her breakthrough TED Talk, "Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model."

Russell is a model who has consistently used her platform to advocate for topics she's passionate about, such as gender, race, and climate change. She's also one of the founders of Model Mafia, an ever-growing network of models fighting for more equitable and less exploitative working conditions.

In the wake of the ongoing assault and harassment scandal surrounding Harvey Weinstein, and the ever-present issue of sexual harassment in the workforce — which, according to a 2015 survey, 1 in 3 women in the U.S. workforce have experienced — Russell decided to once again use her following and position to call attention to an important, if unpleasant, topic.


Russell launched the #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse campaign on social media, asking for stories about sexual harassment in the modeling world. The responses were eye-opening.

Similar to how actress Alyssa Milano's viral "Me Too" tweet and the internet's powerful response put a spotlight on just how widespread assault and harassment are, Russell's campaign put the focus on how rampant this is within the world of modeling, specifically. Models sent Russell their all-too-common horror stories, and she shared them on her Instagram profile.

Stories of young women, some of whom were underage, being coerced into situations beyond their comfort zones filled the page.

Trigger warning ⚠️ #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse

A post shared by Cameron Russell (@cameronrussell) on

Stories of photographers asking inappropriate questions about the models' sex lives popped up multiple times.

Trigger warning ⚠️ #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse

A post shared by Cameron Russell (@cameronrussell) on

There were even some stories that demonstrated how models were made to fear for their physical safety while at work.

Trigger warning ⚠️ #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse

A post shared by Cameron Russell (@cameronrussell) on

How and why does this happen? For one, harassment is often normalized in the workspace, allowing predators to continue the behaviors without punishment.

A personal story from Russell shows how that happens. On Instagram, Russell explains the time she saw the definition of sexual harassment on a labor law poster, saying that it looked "like [her] job description." (emphasis added.)

"When I got home and looked up the definition online, it was so spot on it felt like someone who knew us ... and of course they did. Sexual harassment is unacceptably commonplace. I sat down to try to make a list of my own experiences. Non consensual kisses, spanks, gropes, and pinches. Failing to provide adequate changing space, shaming in response to requests for adequate changing space. Bullying by editors, photographers, stylists, and clients to go topless or nude. Publishing nudity after contractually agreeing not to. Non consensual massage. Inappropriate emails, text messages, and phone calls. Pressure while underage to consume alcohol. Being directed to 'pretend like I'm your boyfriend.' Being forced to sleep at the photographer's home rather than provided a hotel. Having my job threatened if I don't participate. Being called difficult, feminist, virgin, diva when speaking up or saying no. Being unclear about boundaries because so many boundaries have been crossed. I lose count. And this is only what's easy to share, what's as commonplace as 9am call times, fittings, and lunch."

Photo by Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for H&M.

No job should include abuse. No matter the industry. And it's past time to start taking claims of workplace harassment seriously.

Highlighting acts of normalized harassment, such as those shared by Russell, is a great start. It helps us all understand the devastating effects of these  actions that go excused on a much-too-regular basis.

Setting firm boundaries and letting other people who've been harassed or assaulted understand that they're not alone is a step toward stopping it in the future. It's a step toward a culture that will no longer tolerate these actions.

For more stories from the #MyJobShouldNotIncludeAbuse campaign, visit Russell's Instagram page or check out the hashtag directly on Twitter and Instagram.

True

Thank you to these #Tokyo2020 hopefuls who have shown that they are more than just good at their sport, but also good to their communities. Let's follow their lead.

Join P&G Good Everyday to do more good together.

Throughout his basketball career Michael Jordan has been criticized for not letting his voice be heard when it came to political change. That does not appear to be the case anymore. In the month of June alone, Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand have donated $100 million dollars to organizations committed to race equality. A portion of the funds will be allocated to organizations helping to protect black voting rights.

In the latest announcement, Jordan himself and his Jordan Brand are investing $2.5 in organizations to help combat Black voter suppression. In a statement from the Jordan Brand, it was announced: $1 million dollars is being donated to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund Inc. and $1 million to the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People and Families Movement. The Black Voters Matter organization will receive $500,000 in the statement which was first reported by CNN.


Keep Reading Show less
True

The United Nations is marking its 75th anniversary at a time of great challenge, including the worst global health crisis in its history. Will it bring the world closer together? Or will it lead to greater divides and mistrust?

Share your vision for shaping the future: take this 1-minute survey. Your responses to this survey will inform global priorities now and going forward.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is a badass in the movies, but he's increasingly building a reputation as a heroic "action star" in real life. Only, instead of dropping ungodly amounts of fake bullets into his enemies, Schwarzenegger has been dropping rhetorical bombs against his political opponents while building intellectual and emotional bridges to those who disagree with him but still have open hearts and minds.

The most recent example found Arnold responding to a comment someone made on Facebook. On the surface, that may sound like just about the least unique or original jumping off point for a story.




Keep Reading Show less

Those of us who grew up in the Alanis Morissette angst era and followed her through her transformation into a more enlightened version of herself may be thrilled to know she has a new album out. Such Pretty Forks in the Road is her first album in eight years—and the first since two of her three children were born.

Anyone who's been working from home with kids knows that we're all in the same frequently interrupted boat. Such is the pandemic life. But we've also seen how those very human moments when kids insert themselves into life are some of the most real and precious. And that reality comes shining through in Morissette's Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon performance of her new song, "Ablaze," which is, not so ironically, a song about her children. As she sings, it's clear that she's still got the chops that made her famous. It's also clear that her 4-year-old daughter, Onyx, just sees her mommy as mommy and not as the iconic pop star that she is. The performance is lovely and sweet, and hearing Onyx's little voice and seeing her put her hand over her mom's mouth as she sings is just too adorably real.

Keep Reading Show less