Shonda Rhimes: ‘We’ve been in a society that’s been male-led for a very long time’

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I always appreciate reading Shonda Rhimes’ commentary on issues (such as not putting up with toxic work environments, acknowledging different perspectives, calling out the lack of diversity in Hollywood, and her work with Time’s Up, to name a handful). So I was happy when I saw this story.

Shonda spoke on a Cannes Lions panel Thursday, “Time to Step Up: Smashing Beauty Stereotypes.” Shonda’s fellow panelists were Amanda de Cadenet, Founder and CEO of Girlgaze; Sophie Galvani, Global Vice President of Dove; June Sarpong, a broadcaster based in the UK; and Rebecca Swift, Creative Insights Director of Getty Images. Page Six reported that Shonda was met with “uproarious applause when she reminded an audience that women are a force to be reckoned with”:

“I think the first thing we have to start pushing against is, stop allowing other people to define us,” said 49-year-old Rhimes during a Cannes Lions discussion on Thursday to an excited room.

“I also think that giving people an opportunity to see themselves putting people in more positions of power.

“You have to remember that we’ve been in a society that’s been male-led for a very long time and [a project like this] didn’t happen, so as women began to take positions of power, things began to happen.”

Shonda also discussed what women in positions of power can do to help others:

“I do think that as you climb a ladder you bring people with you,” she explained. “… You have to have more critics who are women. You have to bring other people along so that their voices are heard.

“The more people in the mix, the more people who have opinions, the less it’s about somebody telling you that you’re niche because there’s nothing niche about being 51 percent of the population.”

[From Page Six] This builds on Shonda’s partnership with Dove, which began in 2017, when she signed on as creative director for Dove’s Real Beauty Productions. At Cannes, the panelists spoke about the #ShowUs campaign, a collaboration of Dove, Girlgaze, and Getty Images. The project’s website explains:

70% of women still don’t feel represented in media & advertising. That’s why Dove is taking action with Girlgaze, Getty Images, and women everywhere to create Project #ShowUs – the world’s largest photo library created by women and non-binary individuals to shatter beauty stereotypes. With over 5000 images, we can offer a more inclusive vision of beauty to all media & advertisers.

I love the message on Girlgaze’s main page: “Representation Matters.” I’m glad to know about the company and look forward to learning more about them. The #ShowUs initiative sounds wonderful, too. I can’t help but think of Dove’s racist and weird campaigns, though. With input from other companies and Shonda’s presence, this will be more successful, I bet. I guess we’ll have to keep an eye on the execution.

I’m also ridiculously excited about this tidbit about one of Shonda’s upcoming Netflix shows: Julie Andrews has joined the cast!

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6 Responses to “Shonda Rhimes: ‘We’ve been in a society that’s been male-led for a very long time’”

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  1. The Twinkle Function says:

    There’s a name for that dear…its called the patriarchy.

    • R says:

      Your comment is…I honestly don’t know what. Why are you being so aggressive dear?

    • Wow says:

      This was seriously your take away? By not using the word patriarchy which many people have deemed a feminist man hater moan because of an overzealous portion of the feminist movement she puts herself in a position where more people listen to everything she is saying who ordinarily wouldn’t and tune out because of the word patriarchy.

      Feels funny that you patronize and infantilized a woman to correct how she explained her point. We can listen, and you don’t have to use patronizing misogynistic words to make your own point.

  2. Michael says:

    Shonda is correct. Seeing how the world is now I would be more than happy to see women take more positions of power. We definitely need a different direction if our species is going to survive. As a younger man I may have been more resistant to the notion of giving more power to women (I do not have a good explanation as to why) but now I think it may be the key to the human race surviving.

  3. Carol says:

    If Shonda is such a spokesperson for not tolerating toxic work environments, why did we just herald Ellen Pompeo for talking about the decade long toxicity of the GA set? Doesn’t the show runner set the tone?

  4. babyboo says:

    Anytime I read a post with Shonda, my eyes water up and I feel instantly safe and cared for. Sounds emosh and dramatic but she gets it? I have worked in tech industry for 10 years and have many lone scars to show for it. Thank you Shonda for being there, shining ahead.