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Joanna Lumley says women used to be ‘tougher’ and it’s fashionable to be a ‘victim’

Joanna Lumley has said that women used to be “tougher” and that it has become the “fashion” for people to be a “victim”.

Reflecting on her career in showbusiness, the Absolutely Fabulous star criticised the #MeToo era saying that people used to be able to “look after themselves”.

She told Prospect magazine: “If someone whistled at you in the street, it didn’t matter. If someone was groping, we slapped their hands.

“We were quite tough and looked after ourselves… the new fashion is to be a victim, a victim of something. It’s pathetic, we have gone mad.”

The #MeToo movement – a term coined by social activist Tarana Burke in 2006 – gained momentum in 2017 as a means of encouraging survivors of sexual harassment to speak out about their experiences.

The campaign saw high profile women, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Salma Hayek and Rose McGowan, make allegations against Hollywood media mogul Harvey Weinstein, who is currently imprisoned for sexual assault and a third-degree rape charge.

Despite the progress made, some commentators feel progress for women has halted. In April, obituaries for #MeToo circulated online after Amber Heard lost her highly publicised defamation case against Johnny Depp. And nearly five years after admitting sexual misconduct, Louis CK was awarded a Grammy for Best Comedy Album.

Lumley went on to add that being a public figure “could also be hell” and that she has to “pretend… you love it”. She said: “Now with selfies I pretend to absolutely love it. Because otherwise you would go mad. But hell – you do go mad. They are so intrusive.”

Her controversial comments follow remarks made in early 202. when she told people she perceived to be jumping on the “mental illness bandwagon” to “just get a grip”.

She added: “Everyone’s claiming the mental illness bandwagon and I think that’s wrong.”

Speaking on right-wing commentator Isabel Oakeshott’s podcast, the 76-year-old said: “Of course some of you are going to feel bloody awful or suicidal or mentally depressed, that’s a different thing, but anybody who just goes, ‘Oh burr,’ you just think, get over it!”

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