A book and a movie about issues most men never have to deal with

The Book: No Filter

I recently finished reading No Filter, The Good, The Bad, and The Beautiful by the famous former super-model Paulina Porizkova who was once the face of Estée Lauder.

Porizkova was given only three months by her publisher to write her book so she chose to focus on grieving and aging. While these two subjects are highly relevant and meaty, there was so much about her life that she did not cover.

Now in her late fifties, her book was mainly about dealing with the loss of her husband of thirty-five years, rocker Ric Ocasek, lead singer of The Cars. Porizkova is also the mother of two boys and has lived a fascinating and colourful life.

Born in Communist Czechoslovakia and raised by her grandmother for most of her childhood, she escaped to Sweden with her mother at the age of eleven to join a father she really did not know. This displacement and separation from her beloved grandmother was so disruptive, she suffered abandonment and anxiety issues her entire life.

Poriskova reminds us that even with her beauty and intelligence, as a girl she was never one of the cool ones, She was bullied not only for her lack of money to buy cool clothes, but because she came from a Communist country. She faced many humiliations and disappointments throughout her life. Porizkova confided that by the age of fifty, her husband had not touched her in years.

Married for thirty-five years to rock star Ric Ocasek, Poriskova was devasted when he excluded her from his will.

Tall or short, beautiful or plain, we all experience different degrees of insecurity and disappointment surrounding how we present physically. While Porizkova does her best to try to alleviate our insecurities about our shortcomings, it is up to each of us to do the work on self-esteem ourselves.

Like so many women who love and trust the man they’re married to, Porizkova entrusted the millions she earned as an internationally famous model to her husband and his business manager.

After thirty-five years of marriage, Porizkova was devastated when, shortly before his untimely death, he specifically excluded her from his will, even though they were still living together. She was left broke while coping with her own grief and shock.

Porizkova’s book could have been so much richer if she’d been given more time to tell her full story, but her struggles offer an enlightening read.

The Movie: She Said

When Jodie Kanter and Meg Twohey, writers with The New York Times started their investigation into sexual harassment in the workplace by men in senior positions in the entertainment business, it was an uphill battle. Rumors about Harvey Weinstein were rampant but he had never been formally charged. Jeffrey Epstein was a known offender but had not yet reached the public eye.

The movie, She Said follows Kanter and Twohey, played by Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan, from the early rumors to the final disclosure in The New York Times of Weinstein’s abusive past.

Both women had families and struggled with the often conflicting demands of being available for family crises and putting in the long hours of hard work required by a demanding job.

What is particularly revealing in this movie is the collective acceptance of bad, even illegal behaviour by known predators. The problem is certainly not limited to movie-making. Women in the workplace from the factory floor to executive offices continue to face harassment and abuse in most businesses every single day. While some men do experience sexual harassment in the workplace, it is not nearly as common as that suffered by women.

The importance of this message is imperative because it is a struggle most men not only never have to deal with but most often are not aware of or fully understand. While women can empathize and sympathize with the victims of workplace abuse, it is just as important that men also recognize the ongoing problem and participate in putting a halt to it. It is a problem that needs both genders to be on board.


While women may enjoy Paulina Porizkova’s book No Filter, it could have been even better if she had been given more time to write and expand on it. She is an articulate, smart lady with many life lessons to share. It is also a reminder that the lives of the famous and beautiful are not always as they seem.

It is also important that both men and women appreciate the challenges of workplace abuse documented in the movie She Said in order to bring about a permanent change in attitudes and responses. Not surprisingly, most of the women who are or have been victimized often refuse to file complaints for fear of being fired, demoted, or not believed. This remains a unique problem for women.

We need to be particularly vigilant in view of the movements aimed at stripping away women’s rights and control over our bodies. It’s a dangerous precedent. We’re all in this together.

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