I’m loving the acclaimed actress Heather Mitchell’s memoir, “Everything and Nothing”. It is so eloquent, but also sad, raw and disturbing in places, particularly when she recounts the impacts of deeply held family secrets on her.
Also when she recounts recurring episodes of the sexual misconduct and criminal abuse so many women of our generation experienced but never reported because we didn’t realise it was criminal and we somehow blamed ourselves for attracting it.
It was obviously our conditioning in the 70s and 80s and victim blaming would have prevented us taking it further. Plus the risk of shaming ourselves and our parents.
Tragically, it is still today’s norm for far too many women, for example Britanny Higgins, even after the emergence of MeToo when there was hope on the horizon for reform and justice.
Because we didn’t report it, the behaviour most probably continued and far too many other women with less resilience than us were traumatised by it.
I particularly appreciate Heather’s attitude to the advice of a screening agent, who said she lacked the elusive ‘IT factor’ and should stick to the stage rather than film. Heather couldn’t fathom whether actors were born with this incomprehensible ‘IT’ factor, learned it or acquired it, but she took the denigrating remark on the cheek and pursued her unique approach to acting and portraying her authentic presence on the screen. Dozens of feature films and movies later, she looks back on that advice with disdain and a chuckle.