Laura Harrier was one of 300 women, along with Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston, and Shonda Rhimes, who signed their names to a powerful New York Times open letter Monday announcing the Hollywood-led anti-harassment coalition Time’s Up.
But more than visibility, the group’s primary concern has been how to channel the anger and awareness surrounding sweeping revelations of sexual misconduct into an actual strategy. “I think that the only way to create systematic change throughout society is to have a clear and decisive plan of action,” Harrier told InStyle.
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Part of that plan included creating a legal defense fund for victims of harassment that has raised more than $14 million through Go Fund Me. But Harrier has also seen the positive effects of anti-harassment activism trickle down into her daily life—including in the way people treat her at work.
“Since these movements began, I have noticed a greater awareness on sets of how women are spoken to and treated,” the Spider-Man: Homecoming actress said. “Men seem to be thinking twice about an unwarranted touch or an inappropriate comment. I was recently in a work environment and was referred to as ‘sweetie.’ He immediately then said something along the lines of, ‘Oh, sh-t, I'm not supposed to say that anymore.’”
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Whether that response was motivated by fear or understanding, it signals a heightened self-awareness, she said. “I'm hopeful that we are starting to create change in the workplace of women being treated with respect as equals.”
Harrier is not all that surprised that she’s seeing signs of change already. With Time’s Up, she said, everything came together in a remarkably short period of time. “The women involved are all brilliant and dynamic, so things had a clear directive and took shape quickly.”
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In another show of anti-harassment activism, Times Up is also encouraging women to wear all black to the Golden Globes red carpet, rather than the usual plumage of colorful dresses. “For the Golden Globes, women are coming together in an act of solidarity to show that change is coming,” Harrier said, challenging the notion that the “blackout” is too quiet or unassuming, as some critics have said. “This is in no way a silent protest. Rather it is an opportunity for women to not just respond to the age-old question of ‘Who are you wearing?’ but instead to use that platform to talk about why they are wearing it.”
To Harrier, the protest represents the group’s true spirit of inclusivity and intersectionality. “Intersectionality is crucial to Time's Up because this is a movement for all women across all industries,” said Harrier. “A one-size-fits all remedy for oppression and harassment would never work. Therefore intersectionality is key to enacting true change, especially for the most vulnerable of our sisters.”