Why Be A Jerk?

Earlier this week, as I strolled through a production office offering a box of salted caramels to everyone, a 50ish woman in costumes, who was working on a jacket for my character, piped up “Don’t eat any of those! You won’t fit in your costume…haha”…trailing off in a kind of universal-don’t-we-all-know-it-and-agree-laugh. As I felt a swell of defensive, hurt, offended, righteous comments gurgling up, I chose a gentle “I don’t abide or live by those kind of rules” with a smile as I exited the room.

The experience has had me thinking…

What is wrong with us? Why have we allowed body shaming to become so common that a perfect stranger would say something so unkind, without even recognizing that it IS unkind. To be clear, I don’t say this because I took it personally. The fact is, I started to take it personally, and within .05 seconds I recalibrated to recognize that her statement had nothing to do with me (a distinction that is the result of a helluvah lot of work on my part).

I simply cannot get behind body shaming. It may be the single most pervasive & socially acceptable tactics that undermines women’s self worth and value in our society. I made a very conscious decision about 10 years ago to not be a part of the problem. I won’t tell you that you ‘look’ beautiful, I’ll tell you that you ‘are’ beautiful. You will never, ever hear me compliment someone’s weight loss. Ever. I will note how healthy someone is looking, regardless of size. Or perhaps that I’m concerned about the health of someone close to me, on both ends of the scale, always from a place of love…and never a joke. These are some very specific and intentional distinctions…because those little comments, they accumulate. Then they can become exponentially more damaging to someone whose self worth is deeply tied in with body image.  Furthermore, I couldn’t give a shit if something is ‘flattering’ on me. I’m not trying to look skinny. I want to be healthy, and I work really hard to achieve said health for my heart, energy level & life.

I encourage the people in my life to shed such confining terms and standards. I beg you to think about the effect these comments can have…before you say them. Ask yourself if what you have to offer will be helpful or make a person feel better about themselves. If it doesn’t, maybe ponder why you would say such a thing? What’s going on for you that would make you be unintentionally cruel?

This is the tip of the iceberg. But it matters. And for the record, I reeeeally enjoyed a dark chocolate salted caramel before my fitting.

sea-salt-dark-chocolate-caramels

There’s Only One Victim

One young man removed this girl’s shirt “so she wouldn’t puke on it” and left her half naked in the middle of the street.

A young football player then offered 3$ to anyone who would urinate on a semi conscious teenager “as a joke.”

Next, the two rapists fondled the then passed out a 16 year old girl while filming it on their phones.

They then chose to shoot a porn starring this unconscious teenager.

They took the rest of her clothes off.

They laid eyes and hands and fingers on the most intimate & private corners of her body.

They drove her from party to party, documenting every step of her violation and humiliation.

Took photographs and video of her passed out and naked while violently pushing their fingers inside her vagina.

They slapped their penises on her body while she was unconscious.

They photographed & filmed that too.

They treated her as an inanimate object. Not a human being.

THAT is what changed their futures. Maybe for the better. Because had they not been caught by posting the photographs and video on the internet, they may have continued on in life thinking women are objects that they are entitled to violently rape and ridicule and discard. Perhaps a minuscule sentence of a combined 3 years will change their lives for the better.

So don’t fucking talk to me about how this conviction has ruined their lives. Their lives were ruined when they adopted the belief that it was OKAY to rip the soul out of a 16 year old girl. A girl who’s entitled to assert her life IS actually ruined by their choices. She found out she was raped by seeing it on social media. Over and over and over.

What if they did this to a 16 year old boy? What if they did it to a grown man? Found him passed out, took his clothes off, forced their fingers into his anus, slapped their penises on his hips, took pictures, video taped it, posted them on Facebook & Youtube and bragged about it. Would we be talking about how sad it is that the conviction has ruined their lives?

And why in hell’s bells do we have to use ANY other examples to humanize this young woman and demonstrate that there is NOTHING that justifies this?

Their parents, their football team, their town’s culture have all been said to have contributed to this outcome. And should they choose to feel responsible, as reported, that is for them to deal with and reconcile. But under no circumstances does that make the rapists the victims in this situation.

There is one victim. And she bears NO responsibility for this violent act done upon her.

Tax Incentives & Cookies

This has been a helluvah week.

As you may recall, last week I posted a video that was intended to explain, in super simple, easy to understand terms, how the BC Film Tax Incentive program works. The trouble is, I was wrong. Of course, at the time, I truly, truly believed that I understood it and that the info put out there was correct.  I pulled the video after 45 minutes, upon being notified of my errors. Errors I made after doing lots of homework (albeit, flawed homework) and running my numbers by people who ought to know. To be clear, the buck stops with me, as I’m the one who put my face on it….so I’ll not drag anyone under the bus with me. But I bring the point up for a very specific reason:
814 people watched that video in 45 minutes. 3 of them pointed out I was wrong. Maybe the broader teaching moment is that we all need to stop learning the math from status updates and actually go to source material with no preconceived notions of how the program works. One of the most profound realizations for me has been how little most of us truly understand.

A whole separate issue has been dealing with internet trolls.
In the 45 minutes my video was up on Vimeo, it was grabbed and uploaded on Youtube by an anti-tax-incentive activist from California. Because of my erroneous numbers, he has used the video to further his cause of undermining the Save BC Film movement.
**An aside: It occurs to me that I need to make clear that I did this video without any affiliation or approval of the ‘Save BC Film’ organizers. In fact, they were 1 of the 3 to immediately point out my error. Further, I was unaware that ‘Save BC Film’ had become a brand of sorts, by which a video like mine ought to be run/approved…I used the title in the spirit of a hashtag, or in the way that the title ‘Occupy’ was used for an overall general movement. It was not intended to imply endorsement, or ultimately, implicate them in my mistakes.**
I contacted the person who reposted my video and politely requested that he remove it, as it potentially served to further confuse the issue and leave people with a deeper seated false belief as to how tax incentives work. He refused. Now, this is a guy who lost his job when it was moved from California to BC. I have compassion for him. Losing your job sucks. We can all relate to that. I do not, however, support his methods of fighting his battle. He plays dirty, in my opinion, in an effort to promote his own blog. Using aliases, trolling sites, etc.
I had the video removed by Youtube after 24 hours by filing a copyright claim. He then re-posted it 3 more times. I had those 3 removed. It was brought to my attention last night that it is up again. It has started to feel a bit like Whack-A-Mole & is exhausting, quite frankly. I’m not sure how far i’m willing to chase him down.

After a solid tutorial from tax-incentive-guru-Neal at Ernst & Young, and his subsequent stamp of approval on my understanding, I was all gung-ho to reshoot on Friday. However, here’s the thing:
The reality is, it is NOT super simple and easy to understand. To try and use ‘chalkboard math’ to explain it may not be realistic as it’s a complicated formula. My thought, at the time, was this defeats the purpose of the video. And as the public flogging ordeal continued to unfold, my impulse was to say f*** it, retreat & basically quit the world.  Perhaps naively it never occurred to me that I would be a lightning rod, right or wrong, for part of this debate. I just thought ‘oh! this could be simply explained…i’m just gonna do it.’ This experience has inspired a great deal of introspection as it’s occupied ALL of my time and energy for 8 days. Ultimately, I’ve come to feel it is my responsibility to put the corrected data out there, if for no other reason than to offer a rebuttal to those who cite my erroneous first version as propaganda for the Save BC Film movement. (which, again, it was obviously not). After reshooting & checking & combing over 3 more versions with a whole collective of people much smarter than I, you have before you a not so simple, but ultimately accurate, description of the BC Film Tax Incentive system.

Do with it what you will. I’m pretty much over this debate….so i don’t anticipate stepping into the fray and engaging in any further online discussion. I’ll leave that to greater minds, who perhaps, have more time to devote. I need to focus on hustling the next gig. My 8 day political career is now concluded.

Chelah

 

The Real Housewives & My Rant For The Day

I’m seeing a whole lotta criticism and woman bashing popping up in social media as The Real Housewives prepares to launch their latest franchise in Vancouver. I’ve got a bone to pick with the hypocrisy of said criticism.

I don’t know any of the women in the show…so i have no loyalties or allegiance…but they are human beings. I’m fairly certain each of them is doing the best they can in this life, whether you agree with their lifestyles or not. Yes, they will very likely embarrass themselves at some point…that’s the premise of the show, after all. It will be cut in the most salacious way to make them look as ridiculous, over the top & cartoon-like as possible.

Here’s my issue: why is it okay to sit at your keyboard ridiculing and demeaning these women based upon the way they present themselves?

To be clear, I will not criticize any woman for altering her appearance…anyone who knows me knows that i stand for celebrating women in all incarnations. To my mind, the beauty of women spans every physical type. I don’t know where it started, but I think we can all admit that the trend of neutralizing that which makes us unique in favour of a homogenized uniformity has hit a crescendo. I see a lot of women trying to look the same…and I’m not specifically referring to the housewives here…same hair, same lips, same nails, same slight facial swelling….I have to ask: what is this saying to our daughters about beauty? And to our sons about the value of women? I mostly feel a great deal of compassion upon seeing a woman who requires covering their person with fake bits in order to feel beautiful. And what concerns me more is the social climate in which our society makes women & girls feel they must do so only to turn around a rip them for looking that way. We could choose to make someone feel better about themselves simply by honouring who they are, not how they look.

Perhaps reality television is not the appropriate arena for this conversation…but it is a catalyst. Seeing people hate on the Housewives is a colossal cop-out. They are a product of our society’s fiendish appetite for gossip, cat-fights & objectification of women. And to their credit, the women featured seem to be using the platform in support of their charitable work and the more business savvy to promote their own products & projects. However, we all know the truth: the franchise is on television because millions of people tune in to watch women undermine each other whilst clawing at the spotlight…which, ironically, is precisely the same thing the haters on social media are doing…

Now, obviously as an actor, i don’t see a single thing wrong with seeking the spotlight. It’s taken a tremendous amount of hard work over the past decade to carve out this career. Not to say i haven’t experienced some, well, complicated situations along the way….but I don’t apologize for the little success i have managed thus far because not once have i tried to cut down or undermine someone else in the pursuit of this dream. I’ll continue to fully encourage other’s expression in which ever way makes them feel good….be it Real Housewife, blogger, barista or banker….and i challenge all of us to judge a little less while accepting a little more.