I’M NOT TRYING TO FUCK

Being a young woman can be hard - the self judgement, outside judgement, the wage gap, having to wear makeup, shaving your body (the list goes on). Being a young woman trying to break into entertainment can make being a woman even harder. The whole Harvey Weinstein incident(s) have highlighted the fact that Hollywood is filled with men in high positions who have, and continue to, take advantage of women trying to break into a seemingly impossible industry. A light has been shed on the whole casting-couch aspect of Hollywood and people are finally starting to see that sadly, that does exist.

Growing up, my sister and I (my only sibling), were never taught that we were unequal or less than any man. In fact, my dad taught both of us from a young age that nothing was impossible to achieve and if we wanted to become a CEO, we could in fact become a CEO. If we wanted to become an astronaut, race car driver, you name it, we could do it. We were never encouraged to rely on men to become successful or for money, and I've liked to think that I've maintained this mentality the majority of my life.

However, upon graduating college and moving to Los Angeles to pursue a childhood dream of becoming an actor and writer, I've come head on with the realization that women might have to deal with a few different challenges than most men do. And that's not to say that they have it harder than men, but there's a few things that women have to put up with that irks me. And one of those things that I've experienced numerous times is that most men I've worked with have tried to sleep with me.

I have always been an outgoing, friendly person, and that has usually worked to my benefit. However, upon working with male writing and producing partners, I've discovered that my friendly demeanor and openness has led most men to believe that I want to sleep with them. And that is far from the truth.

Within my first year in Los Angeles, I got involved in standup comedy. I never expected to become a stand-up comedian, but my friend dragged me onstage when I was far from sober and I never looked back since. I liked the freedom it gave me to express whatever the hell I felt like expressing and it was liberating. I then began performing stand-up a minimum of four days a week and found myself getting booked in heavily male-dominated shows. It was exciting and I felt like I had finally found an outlet that I really enjoyed. However, whenever I would get offstage after my set, I found myself being hit on continuously by male comedians who were in my shows. They would wait until after the show and then proceed to tell me that I should "get together with them" to "work on material". Naive and excited, I would agree to do so, quickly realizing that they really just wanted to sleep with me and had little interest in helping me develop new material. There were several times where I went to a guy's house to go over jokes, and found them touching me a little too much and sitting a little too close.

And this didn't just happen in stand-up. I spent over two years writing two different feature films with men (I've always gotten along with men better than women so that just came naturally), and in the middle of both writing projects, I realized that my partners weren't so much impressed with my talent, but rather, with the fact that I had a vagina and paid attention to them. This is in no way to say that I was ever sexually assaulted (thank God for never having to deal with a Harvey Weinstein moment), but I was definitely harassed at times and flirted with in situations that I didn't feel like flirting in. I wanted to write. I wanted to maintain professionalism. I wanted to advance my career. I didn't want to sleep with them. And that this came as such a shock to them was so surprising to me. I broke off both of these writing engagements sad, angry and wildly disappointed.

A few years later, I began to create my own digital content (mainly sketch comedy), and this allowed me to act, write and produce as often as four - five days a week. I had and continue to have, men approach me either on Instagram or in person and ask to create videos with me and I love that. However, what I don't love is that there is a fine line that often gets crossed in a lot of these situations. The men who I find myself working with (of course not all of them), upon finding out that I'm single, quickly begin to invite me to social events, out to dinner, to drinks, etc. Earlier on in my career, I would excitedly accept their invitations and join them, but within the first fifteen minutes I usually discovered that they were interested in little more than sex.

Just because I want to write a script with you, does not mean I want to sleep with you. And just because I want to act in a scene with you, this in no way means I want to sleep with you. I'd like to think that a working relationship and personal relationship can be kept separate but unfortunately, I've had to deal with several experiences in Hollywood that prove that they are a lot harder to keep separate than I thought.

Don't get me wrong - this in no way applies to all men. I have several male friends in entertainment who are amazing people and who motivate me and are some of my best friends. But unfortunately, there are a lot of men who wield their power and connections in exchange for what they hope to be sexual engagements. And just because I agree to work with you, I'm polite and joke around, does not mean I'm trying to fuck you.

 

Megan Nager

is a SAG-AFTRA actor, writer and comedian who specializes in producing her own creative content for various social media platforms. In her spare time, she performs stand-up comedy at venues throughout Los Angeles such as The Comedy Store and The Laugh Factory and drinks too much wine with her friends. She hopes her comedy will encourage people to take themselves and life a little less seriously. Listen to Megan's Bus Ride here. You can find out more about Megan on her website or her blog. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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