March 22, 2019

This week on To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe, our panelists discuss the progress of the #MeToo Movement, the Warner Bros. Scandal, and the Suffragists final battle for the right to vote in Tennessee.

On the panel this week joining host Bonnie Erbe is: Representative for the District of Columbia, Eleanor Holmes Norton; Megan Beyer, Wilson Center, Women In Public Service; Commentary writer for the Washington Examiner, Tiana Lowe; and Republican Strategist, Rina Shah.

Click read more to see what they had to say!

Hollywood and #MeToo

Warner Brothers CEO steps down after allegations of sexual impropriety. What's next for the #MeToo Movement and Hollywood?

  • Del. Norton: ”The notion of the ‘casting couch’ is all about power, and power in this industry, as in most, is in the hands of men. Since they got so much power and since they got something that women want, they have simply traded on it.”

  • Megan Beyer: “Geena Davis has been a leader in this. I’m on the advisory board of her Geena Davis Institute for Gender and Media and she’s talked with the producers, talked with all the studios about how do we nurture women? How do we give them a path to power? And how do we develop these women in a way that has nothing to do  with the ‘casting couch.’”

  • Tiana Lowe: “With regards to the college admissions fraud metaphor, both systems sort of inculcated this culture of looking away and corruption. And it just breeds. So in this specific case, you obviously have a woman who is complicit in her own manipulation because she was very aware it was tit for tat, but that does negatively affect every other woman who doesn’t want to sleep her way to the top.”

  • Rina Shah: “Power is intoxicating, isn’t it? And I think that’s really what it boils down to. Men have enjoyed power in Hollywood for such a long time and therefore when they do these things to women who are sort of green, they don’t think about the repercussions.” (3:05)

  • Bonnie Erbe: “But hasn’t technology changed a lot of that? I mean, you would think people would know not to send text messages or emails about topics. My test is if you don’t want to see it on the front headlines of all the news shows, don’t text it.”

How Women Won the Vote

Tennessee was the key for the suffragist movement to secure the right to vote for women. Journalist and author Elaine Weiss discusses this battle in her book, The Woman’s Hour.

  • Elaine Weiss: “It was sort of a cross between a political meeting and a circus. So you have fist fights, you have screaming matches, there’s reports of a kidnapping. Kidnapping the legislators so that they can't vote. Of course, they're being plied with liquor so a lot of them are drunk. And there’s scenes where they have to be thrown into a shower to sober up. The suffragist patrol the railroad station so that the legislators can't slip away and and go home to skip the vote”

  • Megan Beyer:”I think it’s good that it was a southern state. These rights of basic equality have dogged us since the beginning of our country. There’s this wonderful book by Jill Lepore called These Truths, [that says] gender and race issues have really been intrinsically tied together since the very founding of our nation.”

  • Tiana Lowe: “I think that we’ll obviously never fully atone for our nation’s original sin. But the fact that it was a southern state to push it over the edge, it’s a part of that healing process.”

  • Del. Norton: “Here is a very different kind of battle. It’s one half of the population against the other half of the population. And at some point, when you get that close, that state knew that the finger of history was going to be pointed at it.”

  • Bonnie Erbe: “We know, for example, that the Western states gave us the first female member of the House and they gave women the vote way quicker than the eastern states. But Tennessee? It’s also where the Ku Klux Klan was founded.”

Be sure to tune in this week for more discussion! Click here to check your local listings.