#ThatsHarassment is Great…But Here’s the Problem

#ThatsHarassment is a series of short films portraying situations of sexual harassment not only in the work place but also in every day life. The videos are a powerful depiction of what sexual harassment looks like whether it is verbal or physical or both. David Schwimmer, who played a huge role in producing these videos, has received a lot of attention for them and their powerful message. What Swimmer did was great…but are we giving credit where credit is due?

Once again, it seems, men have somehow made their way to the forefront of an issue that effects all women everywhere. No, I am not denying that men do not experience sexual harassment, but more often than not, women fall victim to the demoralizing and quite honestly humiliating experience of sexual harassment. Although Schwimmer’s involvement in producing these videos was crucial, the real artistry lies with Sigal Avin, the writer and director of the original film series titled Ze-Matrid. This original series went viral over Facebook in Israel shortly prior to the creation of #ThatsHarassment.

I think a little background on the brains and artistic center of this production is necessary for this post. So here she is:

Sigal Avin is an Isreali writer and director who was born in Miami, Florida before moving with her family to Israel when she was 10 years old. Avin went to the Yorem Lowenstein acting studio for her education and has written and directed many shows and plays since 1999. She is currently married with has two children and lives in Tel Aviv and New York City.

The original series followed the same premise of #ThatsHarassment showing scenarios of sexual harassment in various different situations. The main difference was the use of mainly Israeli actors instead of the well-known American actors like Emmy Rossum and even Schwimmer himself, who feature in the Americanized series.

While the concept behind these videos is so important and sends a message that sexual harassment can and does happen anywhere and with unexpected people, I believe that this is a platform on which women should be front and center in advocating for the end of this kind of abuse. While it is a respectable move to put in the time and money that is necessary for an American production, Schwimmer should not be getting all of the credit that he is. Sigal Avin, a brilliant and powerful woman who was able to make such a powerful statement in her home country, should be in the spotlight for sending such an important message. But once again, men have somehow seemed to make their way into the position of power in a situation that doesn’t effect them nearly as much as it effects women.

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