Strength, hope and One Tree Hill.

When I was a teenager I was handed season three of One Tree Hill. My friend gave it to me, she said that she thought I’d enjoy it and that I would really like the character Peyton. I was hooked from the moment I watched Peyton painting the population count onto her bedroom wall and I quickly fell in love with the other cast members. It probably took about three episodes before it became my favourite show.

I watched the interviews, and the commentaries and I admired the actors and I admired the writer for creating something I was so invested in.

I grew up at times feeling alone, my mental health was never good and signs of my BPD showed through in my teen years. OneTree Hill was my safe place and it continued to be so. I was inspired by the strength of Brooke and took life advice from her quotes. I was reassured by Peytons art work and it taught me that other people felt the same as me. I was invested in Naleys relationship and wished I would one day find the same. It taught me about friendship and how to be a friend.

I watched every episode time and time again, it’s still my go to show for comfort, it actually became part of my safety plan that when I was struggling mentally I could look after myself and distract myself by watching One Tree Hill and painting at the same time. Fast forward to when I went to university and did my degree in performance, I would watch the interviews and read fans views on the show and dream of landing a role in an English equivalent.

But, let’s fast forward again, I am 26, I haven’t watched any episodes of the show in over a year. I follow the cast on social media and One Tree Hill still holds a place in my heart. So when I went to check twitter a couple of mornings ago and saw all the cast tweeting using #burnitdownsis and #fuckyouresorry I went down a long twitter and googling rabbit hole until I could find and get the whole picture of what this was about. It led to this statement:

It is awful to know that while i sat there watching interviews and laughing off comments as jokes that the actresses I looked up to so much were going through this.

Maybe some fault lies in what we have accepted as normal, it is normal for a guy to comment on a women’s appearance publicly. It is normal for a guy to criticise clothing. It is normal for a man to be in charge and in a position of authority other a women, because that’s the society we are raised in. But just because it’s normal, it doesn’t make it right.

Maybe if these things weren’t normal, as an audience it would have raised alarm bells when Sophia Bush spoke about the comments made to her about her wardrobe choices. Or when the other cast members appeared to feel so uncomfortable.

Surely events like this highlight the need for change, for a new normal, it is ok to offer support for the female cast, to praise there strength, to say that they made they show and it is still something to be proud of ( all of these things I agree with). But, what now? What do we DO rather than just say?

It’s time to call men out, to raise strong women who know the different between right and wrong, who are not scared to turn to a man and challenge them.

It’s time to help each other when this so not possible.

It’s time to support each other, to stand hand in hand and shout “fuck this” as we challenge our norms.

It’s time to move.

The one tree hill cast are doing this, they are showing us there strength has gone further than just the characters they played but is part of who they are as people.

We all need to champion the way for women to do the same while feeling safe and supported.

#burnitdownsis

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