She Said, Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story that Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey:
“To our daughters, and to yours: May you know respect and dignity always, in the workplace and beyond”
The Harvey Weinstein scandal that erupted in 2017 and led to the mass outcry of #MeToo was something that I watch with shock, awe, and horror from my home in London. Every girl knows these power in-balances exist, and that this sort of thing happens, but every girl also knows the unwritten rule don’t talk about it — and yet, here people were, talking about it. Not only were they talking about it, but people were listening, actively listening, and acting; it felt like the tide had turned.
So when I saw that Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey were publishing a book – She Said – detailing how the behind-the-scenes of their reporting on Weinstein, I knew I had to get a copy, and get a copy fast! The blurb reads …
“On October 5 2017, the New York Times published an article by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey that helped change the world.
Hollywood was talking as never before. Kantor and Twohey outmanoeuvred Harvey Weinstein, his team of defenders and private investigators, convincing some of the most famous women in the world – and some unknown ones – to go on the record.
This is how they did it.”
There are a number of things that I enjoyed about She Said as a book outside of the topic. Namely, in the preface Kantor and Twohey explain that they will be referring to themselves in third-person for ease of understanding. I have to admit that for the first few pages it felt rather odd, but once I had gotten into the swing of things it really helped keep the narrative lively, and create clear separation between the characters involved in the story. Additionally, throughout the book they use snippets of text messages and emails; these are clearly identifiable, and add massively to the credibility of the writing.
I found She Said an exceptionally interesting read. There can be no doubt that the topic is timely; especially with the recent updates in Harvey Weinstein’s trial. However, from my perspective, I particularly enjoyed Kantor and Twohey’s openness about how they go about their investigative journalism. Following the journey of finding sources, getting them on background, all the way through to being on record was fascinating. The level of trust shown by all involved is inspiring. Understanding the level of background checks, examination, and investigation into stories builds a very strong level of credibility; something that is of paramount importance with a story of this nature.
At one point Kantor and Twohey mention Susan Fowler’s blog about harassment of women in Silicon Valley. Fowler recently released a book – Whistleblower – expanding on her experience, with many of the same themes as She Said. Harassment of women is an issue than transcends borders, industries, and geographies. All of which is highlighted by the all-reaching nature of the #MeToo movement. I am so grateful for all of these brave women, sharing their experiences, and shouting with their voices.
Additionally, Kantor and Twohey continued their narrative through to their experience of reporting on Dr. Ford’s testimony against Brett Kavanaugh. This felt like a crucial element of the overall #MeToo movement; this battle is not-won. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It is an eye-opening account into modern journalism, and reinforces the credibility of our journalists in the heightened environment propelled by cries of ‘fake news’.
The title ‘She Said’ speaks to me. We’ve all heard the ‘but it’s a she said, he said scenario’, with the implication being that whatever he said is ultimately more trustworthy and due out attention. This turns that on its head. You’re right she said it, and what she has to say is important, we will listen, and we will take action. We are taking back the power of women’s voices, you cannot ignore us any more. We will talk, and you will listen.
‘She Said’ in Facts:
Author: Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey
First Published: 2019
Publishing House: Bloomsbury
Pages: 310 (261 bulk read)