An Open Letter to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson About BAYWATCH:
Swimming Against the Tide in an Objectified Era Is a Revolutionary Act – Some People Stand in the Darkness, Afraid to Step into the Light
“I used to want to save the world. This beautiful place. But, the closer you get the more you see the great darkness from within. I learned this the hard way, a long, long time ago. It’s our sacred duty to defend the world, and it’s what I’m going to do.”
~ Wonder Woman
Can I shoot straight with you? I’m known for being a straight shooter. I respect straight shooters, and believe sugarcoating is a waste of people’s time, as time is so limited and there is so much good to be done while here. Let’s call your new movie, Baywatch; what it is in that case, softcore porn. You’ve basically made a soft porno without calling it that, and you aren’t afraid to promote the vulgarity of the movie.
From what I’ve seen from your interviews, you are really moved by your daughters, and you love them. I respect this immensely. Did you know that the father figure in a girl’s life is the most important determinant of how her future relationships will go, and widely determines relational success or failures depending on the quality of the male role model in her childhood? It’s crucial that a little girl feels empowered as a child and is taught a sense of self-esteem that professionals will tell us is widely determined by how her father showed her healthy love as a child. There is a reason why 80% of prostitutes were abused as children. Their childhoods often times, reflect a lack of healthy, empowering male role models which often will determine the course of their lives detrimentally. It’s tragic beyond measure in many ways, because young girls have huge mountains to climb if healthy love and relationships with a male aren’t modeled to them when young.
As Movieguide® would tell you, your movies would generate beyond anticipated profit if you chose to make movies, art and content, which empowered and respected women, which families could view together. Can we say, increased profit for you and the studio?! Some vulgar porn-addicted guys I’m sure will go see your new BAYWATCH movie, but think of the revenue you could generate if you had full families (children included) viewing your family friendly, and entertaining film! A question I have for you is this: Would you allow your daughters to watch BAYWATCH if it was available for viewing in your home?
Being in something like BAYWATCH, that can’t tout any intellectual, educational or even true entertainment content for most of the viewing audience if we are real, dumbs people down. With scatological references that you promote as the entertainment factor, you are delivering a legacy for your daughters if you wish, but not ours.
The people I know and work with who may make next to nothing because they devote their lives to picking up the pieces of lives of girls who have been trafficked because of guys who are addicted to the objectification of women because of films and media, like Baywatch and pornos, are the people I choose to spend my time with in life. Your industry is glorified, as it always has been, but there is nothing of value and substance found in films that degrade and demean women. Through your art, as we all must reflect on our lives, asking ourselves what we’ve contributed to the world that would be beneficial to future generations.
Have you thought when you are alone or spending time with your daughters, about what good things you’ve given to the world? What legacy through your films and art, and messaging are you leaving for your daughters? What will you leave your daughters of value when you are gone – jokes about private parts? Due to what I’ve experienced through obscene media, heard, and tried to help others to combat because I know of its destruction, I want my children to be the opposite of what they see in film and the television industry. I would want them to have lives full of character, respect for others, selflessness, and doing what’s right even when not popular, and honoring to all living beings on the planet. To have character (not the absence of it) and not be someone who profits off the objectification of women and addicts.
I recall my uncle Robert Stranahan, CEO of Champion Spark Plugs and my aunt who would watch, in their kitchen every night, Wheel of Fortune while cooking dinner, and they enjoyed that show so much watching it together, as it was entertaining, educational and good fun. I’m so glad I saw that role modeled as a child. When I see such darkness through the constant objectifying of women, I recall their silhouettes watching Wheel of Fortune and talking, and trying to guess the puzzle pulling from my memory, as it will always be embedded in it as cherished. It’s unfortunate perhaps you didn’t have role models who exuded this in you as a child: character, honor and respect for women. I want to believe that this is within you though, Dwayne, I really do.
Here is the great news I wanted to relay to you though: you have an opportunity to change course for your daughters so that when you are gone perhaps they will remember the times you all watched family-friendly shows as a family rather than them being embarrassed by penis jokes, in dad’s movie, or trying to explain to other girls why your movie was so vulgar and disrespectful to them as women.
You have a very special and important opportunity to change Hollywood, Dwayne! Men of great stature and bravery are needed for the most important role in history. I would ask you to consider helping the girls of the world, won’t you choose being involved in films which espouse honor, respect for women, and that instill dignity for girls worldwide instead of contributing to what objectifies them?
Here’s a secret I’ll share with you, if I may. Although we have wonder women in this world many I have the honor of knowing and calling friends, girls and women will always hope that there is a rescuer, a protector, a man who has their back when they are weak and tired, but they’ve had to settle for so long to fight for the safety and protection of the female gender themselves, so many assume that this protector doesn’t exist. You could be a hero and more than a television personality with the eternal respect of the women of the world, not a guy who is looked at solely for his body, but for the quality of his character, and Dwayne, let me tell you, the women of the world are worth it! They would support your work financially, especially if you were involved in films that empowered them.
Men play such a vital and key role in the development of girls’ self-esteem. Psychologists know this but it appears that the entertainment industry never got that memo. I thought it was important you were given the memo since you have daughters now. Your movie, BAYWATCH, came in 50% under what analysts even thought it would earn, only slightly over $18 million – probably just making your salary. Have you thought or considered why that is, when PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES made over $60 million in the same timeframe, and broke international expectations? Hmmm. What is missing in BAYWATCH that PIRATES has? Let’s analyze from a business perspective, shall we? How many children and families can go to PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES vs. BAYWATCH? Take ticket prices and multiply one ticket price times 4 or 5 – by making non-family friendly films Dwayne, even if character, dignity, and respect for girls didn’t matter to you, you lose profit on the fact that families can’t go and wouldn’t. That’s the reality from a business perspective.
I recently watched a video interview of yours, which I want to commend, and was greatly moved by. You were graciously moved by what your daughter stated to you, which you repeated, that you were trusted by her Dwayne. When girls and women trust you, they will be your biggest fans, not for how you look, but for what really matters: the content of your character and your show of respect for them by what you create. I ask of you as a little girl at one time, please don’t objectify them, instead would you take the high road, and empower them? Empower your daughters through your career, I ask you to stand against the high tide, in not being a part of media that objectifies your daughters’ gender, but rather fights for them, by using your talent and position as a platform to support them and their successful futures.
Could I throw a CRAZY idea out there to you? I’ve researched to try to seek out your character, and have shared with you my heart as a woman who fights for little girls. Let’s just imagine what if men used their notoriety, fame, stature, and power, even men of faith who have these things in the entertainment industry, and did some bold, great things to respect the women of the world? The ones who brought them into existence. What if you, and other men in the industry, stood up for the non-objectification of women’s bodies and promoted films, art and movies which we all love that valued their minds, their character, their valor and strength instead? Media that told of their stories and struggles, and moved their hearts. What could we see women do, your daughters do, and accomplish if they were empowered because they knew they were supported by men in film for their character, and not for the size of their chests. You can have all of the money, status, celebrity, and magazine covers in the world, but when what you produce contributes to the dehumanization of the gender that keeps the world civilized and is the nurturing compass of humanity, you chip away at your daughters’ futures. You can be in shows about heroes, but when others can call you one in reality, there is no value that can be put on what is priceless.
I wanted to share a real story with you in closing. There was this little girl a bit younger than Simone, years ago. She would bring her She-Ra and He-Man and She-Ra’s horse dolls, both a part of the Great Rebellion (if you remember go back with me to the 80s!) to the 1st grade every day. When the other little girls would talk with each other on the playground, she would bring her superhero characters to be a part of adventures that fought evil. She would take these dolls on huge adventures where they saved people, animals and the world, where they fought evil and saved the oppressed. When the little girls went to the doll section at the toy store with their moms, this girl ran to the GI Joe section instead, to play and put a team of GI Joe plastic soldiers together. Her mother was mortified, but it was like this little girl inherently knew that someday she would spend a lifetime fighting against the objectification of women in films, television and media perhaps. She had to gather the men (the plastics) to fight for those girls even back then, because otherwise they wouldn’t exist. She couldn’t fathom the loss that she was to experience in the future because of the objectification of women through media that would change her life firsthand in the future, and I’m so glad she didn’t know back then what she would loose in the future because of objectifying media through pornography.
Our greatest human need is to know others intimately, to love and be loved, and when this is substituted for carnality, and surface physical attraction that a movie like BAYWATCH promotes through showing women as meaty creatures who can fit into a see through bathing suit, subconsciously, that sticks in men’s minds: what they see on the screen, and in media, or like the one I mentioned above, if involved in this industry, is what they often will practice and implement in real life. “Art” imitates life and vice versa it is said. Men who are a part of objectifying media and who watch it, come to expect this in life – if we are real – it becomes expected that women look “sexy”, dress seductively, be submissive without boundaries, embody FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, since all women in film appear to be this way, it becomes an expectation in the lives of men with women no matter who it hurts, and no matter the price to an individual. I’ve talked to numerous men, whose lives have been destroyed by this fact and through the media were exposed to it for years. The more they were exposed to objectifying women through media, the more it impacted their real relationships detrimentally with women and destroyed relationships. I could provide you with countless cases, and is widely documented in journals, the ties to rape through objectifying media, etc. I don’t need to build a case for that it already is factual.
Objectification destroys the humanity of the person and the birth of love as it glorifies the superficial and suppresses the real beauty of a woman: who she is and what she stands for.
According to Forbes and other media outlets, WONDER WOMAN is slated for pulling in an estimated opening in between $75 and $90 million dollars domestically with even women only screenings already having sold out. Hmm. . . . It’s interesting what that tells us isn’t it? Perhaps, women want to see a woman leading in a role that respects their character, and if a guy isn’t going to play the part, then they’ll support the women who do. For all the girls out there who stand for other girls and their safety and protection, I salute you. You are the true definition of hero. The Princesses of Power. Perhaps we can still hope for more He-Mans who will join with the She-Ra’s, and boldly join the Great Rebellion in partnership one day seeing the respect for women in film, television, and media that they so rightly deserve. I pray we see this in Simone & Jasmine’s lifetimes, with your partnership, Dwayne.
For all the girls, and your daughters,
About Tiffany Leeper, M.A.:
Tiffany is Co-Founder of The National Decency Coalition, founded in 2017 as an international action coalition of anti-exploitation leaders, Founder of Men Against Porn, and the Founder & President of Girls Against Porn & Human Trafficking & anti-trafficking organization, The Gentlemen’s Posse. Tiffany speaks on the effects of porn internationally and has a master’s degree from Pepperdine University in Social Entrepreneurship. She was named one of the ‘Top 8 Speaker Outers Against Porn” by the porn industry’s news outlet. Tiffany has been a guest on numerous radio and television news outlets speaking about the effects of porn and importance of empowering women through business, and is the niece of Robert Stranahan, Jr., one of America’s Greatest Business Leaders of the 21st Century, a philanthropist supporting social issues, and former President of Champion Spark Plugs, the world’s largest manufacturer of spark plugs,
About The National Decency Coalition, Girls Against Porn & Human Trafficking, Men Against Porn, and The Gentlemen’s Posse:
The National Decency Coalition was established from years of individual experience, and was formed from the leadership of various organizations and activists coming together on the issue of pornography in today’s culture and its easy accessibility to children. The Coalition’s goals are: fighting against the availability of free porn on the Internet, bringing awareness to issues that protect or create a decent society for generations to come, assisting policy makers and government authorities in enforcing current obscenity laws, and encouraging volunteers and lawmakers alike to take real action against the ‘health crisis’ of pornography. They have led efforts in multiple states educating legislators concerning pornography being a public health crisis. For more information, please visit: www.nationaldecencycoalition.org.
Men Against Porn is a community for men and action group, dedicated to helping men be their all, free from shame, pain, and harm that porn addiction causes, while mobilizing men to live a porn-free life, in addition to empowering men to connect to community, and trains on taking action to help curb porn availability. They have launched the Give Up Lust for Lent, 10-Day Porn-Free Challenge campaigns, and lead efforts nationally to declare porn as a public health crisis at state legislatures. More information is available at http://www.menagainstporn.org/.
Girls Against Porn & Human Trafficking is an action coalition of women worldwide, that initiated in-flight airline filtering implemented on most major airlines, formed the coalition for the takedown of NBC’s program, THE PLAYBOY CLUB, porn club halting on campuses, funding pulled/mobilization against University of Tennessee’s exploitative/harassing Sex Week, partnering with BP and other petroleum company campaigns in removing porn from gas stations, and initiated the mobilization against David Ogden at the Department of Justice, along with several other successful women’s and child protection initiatives. More information is available at http://girlsagainstporn.com/, and at The Gentlemen’s Posse website, a social enterprise that helps empower girls worldwide, at www.thegentlemensposse.com. Follow GAPHT on Twitter or Facebook.