It seemed like the entire country was listening when Oprah declared, "A new day is on the horizon!" to a room full of Hollywood elites at the 2018 Golden Globes. A roaring applause erupted through the Beverly Hilton — led by the star-studded women who wore all-black in solidarity with victims of sexual harassment — followed by enthusiastic pleas for her to run for president.
Although Oprah has since confirmed that she will not be running for commander in chief, her powerful call to action stands as a defining moment in the #MeToo movement — a crusade that has seen an increasing number of people step forward, with their own stories of sexism and workplace harassment, to say Time's Up.
One voice that has been steady in her support of the movement, even before it was an organized effort, belongs to actress, writer, producer, and director Amber Tamblyn — but it's not courage that's driving her to speak out.
"I don't know if I'm brave. I have mixed feelings about that word," Tamblyn told MTV News at the Makers Conference in Los Angeles. "I feel vulnerable all the time and I feel very raw a lot of the time, and I’m always very aware of how the world affects me and how I affect the world. Sometimes there are really beautiful moments of bravery that shoot out from that, but I feel very much like anyone else," she said.
Call it bravery, or call it vulnerability, but when it really matters, Tamblyn knows how to use her experience to help create change, as evidenced by her active and candid Instagram and Twitter presence, her open letter to actor James Woods in Teen Vogue, and her New York Times essay, “I’m Done With Not Being Believed.”
"I just choose to live in the world honestly. Sincerity makes you vulnerable by default, and the fact that we choose to live in the world the way that we do is difficult at times, but also really necessary, and if you choose to be an active member and speak up against things, you have no choice but to sort of be vulnerable towards things," she said. "It's the act of living. There is no other choice for me."
For those who also feel compelled to speak up, Tamblyn advises to do so cautiously and with a deep self-awareness. "Pause before you are going to inflict something on someone. Pause before you make a statement about something. I really believe strongly that we should wait before we say big, powerful things and really listen to our own voices before we let the rest of the world’s voice impact how we feel," she said.
As the Time's Up movement shifts from women sharing their experiences into an "action-oriented" phase that requires male support, it's necessary to speak with intention — or sometimes, not speak at all.
"It's really important that men lead not by telling us what kind of stories we should or shouldn’t tell — they don't need to be a part of that conversation. In my opinion, I don't need to hear a man say that we've gone too far and there's too many stories being told," Tamblyn said. "We need men to really be allies and to support women in the effort to change things, and that means they need to be vocal about many, many things, including the abuses against women’s bodies, but also things like pay disparity and bullying in school."
So, what does being an ally entail? Any man who isn't sure where to begin, Tamblyn suggests seeking guidance in the most familiar places.
"We have to start changing things, and men really want to know how they can help, and it's important for men, and even boys, to look at the women they love, whether it's their girlfriends, best friends, or their sisters, or even their mothers or their grandmothers or their wives," she said. "Look down the line of your relationships to women and look for inequalities. You have the unique capacity, as men and boys, to stand up for women, whether it's at school or at work or any other place."