The magic of Hollywood is that nothing is as it seems, right? Big pictures get shot on small film lots, green screens create incredible life-like universes, and even the shortest actor can instantly become a towering hero.
The same could be said for Suzanne Somers.
Famed for her Bambi voice and too-short hemlines (with a body to rock ’em), Suzanne Somers doesn’t seem like an obvious poster child of female resistance, but hear me out.
If you peel past the sexy veneer of her latest book, Two’s Company, something rather revolutionary lurks between the lines: Defiance.
The memoir walks readers through her life and career, set to the backdrop of her famed 50-year romance with husband Alan Hamel. Yet on her path to stardom, we uncover sexual harassment, assault, questionable consent . . . and that’s all before page 100.
Cast in the shadow of the Harvey Weinstein scandal—and the scores of Hollywood power players who have since been outed for their own allegations, trespasses, and perversions—Somers’ book takes on a palpable power. It’s equal parts cautionary tale and warning shot to anyone fawning over the allure of the entertainment world. We could just as easily be in the 1970s as we are in 2017, with women continuing to fight an entrenched boys’ club and dark sexual politics.
Somers reads stronger than the “soft feminist” she bills herself as. In later phases of her life, she addresses pay inequality (an issue that got her fired from Three’s Company) and the lack of nuanced healthcare for women (one of the many reasons she ran headlong into holistic medicine, which became a third-wave career for her). All combined, it makes her work timelier than ever.
She may say her peace softly, or sometimes ambivalently, but she says it. And as women, that action is what matters most.
Mandy Major is a writer and editor who recently traded New York City’s skyscrapers for the Connecticut shoreline. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Every Day with Rachael Ray, and Prevention, among other publications. A reading advocate and board member for her local library, she is working on her first collection of short stories.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Suzanne Somers