Check out Kerry Washington as Anita Hill in the upcoming HBO biopic Confirmation about Clarence Thomas’s Supreme Court senate hearings. This was almost 25 years ago. I was 17, in my last year of high school. It was all over the TV. It would be another year before I went to university, took a Women’s Studies course, and started – just started – thinking about systemic inequality, and how that affected the people around me, how it might one day affect me.
There were no women on the Senate Judiciary Committee that confirmed Clarence Thomas. They were all dudes – including Joe Biden, by the way. You think any of those men ever tossed off a titty joke in the presence of female staffers, made a woman feel insignificant by the size of her ass, held her back because of her biology? You think they could relate to Justice Thomas’s position? These bitches coming at us and getting in the way? Would it be any different today? These conversations are still happening today. In Washington, in Hollywood, in publishing. Click here and click here to get caught up on recent discussions about how book prizes are dominated by one sex. And click here if you missed when I linked to it the first time for an article about how the entertainment industry keeps women on the outside. A few weeks ago a friend of mine, who works in banking in Toronto, not exactly a small town, told me that he’d had a recruitment meeting with some executives and, when they were considering candidates, one of the top guys actually said, “I don’t want to hire a woman just so she can leave and have babies in a year or two”. Another friend of mine, who’s just returned from maternity leave early, told a story of how a partner at her firm said to her that “maybe you came back too soon, none of our clients are going to want to look at you after labour”.
HBO’s Confirmation, then, is as timely as ever. Can’t wait to see Kerry’s performance.