Today I made the mistake of spending my kid-free time trolling the internet response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal. I am shocked and appaled at the outpouring of negative opinions and women to women victim shaming involved here.
Let’s make something very clear, If we don’t stand with these women (Celebrity or not) we are standing against them, there is no middle ground. This kind of angry outcry from desensitized internet trolls is exactly the dialogue people like Harvey Weinstein are hoping for; devaluing the magnitude of his criminal behaviour, minimizing sexual assault, and aiming the spotlight away from the empire that is the Weinstein company and the hundreds of men and women who probably knew about and facilitated these ‘hotel meetings’.
First and foremost our responsiblity as the public should simply be to listen. Let us listen intently to their stories, feel their emotion, and provide them with a judgement-free platform for which to tell and retell their stories. Because if we do we actually open up a more powerful dialogue of resistance and unacceptace of sexually inappropriate behaviours. More women will be able break free from the bondage of their corporate corruption and speak out against sexual harassment in the workplace. But mostly, listening will help them to spread the shockingly ‘new’ expectation that we should not tolerate this behaviour anywhere and at anytime.
Let there be no mistake, Harvey was powerful because he had a tribe of men and women for whom he assumed power and whether by fear, or ignorance, or otherwise involved in these predatory acts they sheltered him, encouraged him, and facilitated this long-time abusive business tactic. What we know about powerful empires, is that they do not topple easily.
Mass opinion has been that these women chose not to come forward before they bank rolled millions from under his corporate wing. Why thirty years later?
Celebrities have historically been using media covered outlets to make cracks in the foundation of his power; from Gwenyth Paltrow on Letterman, Rose McGowen on twitter, to Seth Macfarlane at the 2013 Oscars. They spoke about it amongst each other, they loathed this man that ran Hollywood, for God sakes, they called it his “Open Secret”. Don’t underestimate this ‘new’ movement for one minute, it has been a long time coming, these women have been quietly forcing momentum on these tides, until the waves could no longer be ignored.
Our very pathetic reality is that thirty year ago corporate Hollywood would not have tolerated these accusations. We are naive to think that women’s rights were better thirty years ago, naive to think that women were as highly valued in the industry. To topple this empire, his little black book of assaulted women had to rise to alarming numbers, because we all know when one or a few come forward it is never enough. Even still, had he been convicted, he would never had been robbed of his role in Hollywood and people would still be turning a blind eye. So, yes! It had to be now, not because these women are older and established in their wealth and fame, but inspite of that.
What we won’t hear about, Is what happened to those twenty-something aspiring actresses that forcefully resisted his advances, and refused to work with him, because without established fame he would have made damn sure they simply disappeared! Blacklisted from hollywood, and silenced by remaining nameless and unpopular in the public eye. Did it do themselves or the public any good to speak out back then? No! He continued to negotiate sexual tasks and favors for success in the industry.
Let’s acknowledge talent where talent is due. These Celebrity women coming forward that have didn’t achieve status because they were sexual vixons, but because they are artists and believed in themselves and their talents and firmly believed these roles were meant for them, and on some level, Harvey knew he needed them too – regardless if they were sexually complacent.
When we engage in conversation about how a woman behaved, or whether or not she accepted fame, wealth or status as a result, we minimize the fact that sexual harassment, assault or otherwise has zero place in the workplace. Period. So just stop!
Other internet naysayers were particularly hung up on the fact that these celebrities willingly met Harvey in his hotel room. <eye roll> First of all, since when did we decide entering a hotel room was open invitation for sexual assault? Secondly, use some perspective, I would assume that a high class Hollywood movie moguls hotel room was hardly just that. He likely wined and dined in the penthouse suites which consisted not only of a bed, but of a living room, a kitchen, and <gasp of shock> an office area… you know, for conducting business.
The most overrated public response to these accusations is, how can these women live a double standard and depict nudity whilst complaining about their trama as victims. I can hardly stand to give this one a response because it’s so obvious to me, but I will let you in on this little secret. Acting is their art form, and human bodies in the nude are the rawist most authentic form of art in existence! If this isn’t enough for you to understand, please consider also, that often times victims of sexual abuse become disinhibited in their sexuality therefore resulting in promiscuity. It doesn’t make them the target of their abuse, it is the result of it.
I wasn’t among the millions of women who posted a #metoo hashtag on social media because I honestly can’t think of a time where I’ve felt any form of unwanted sexual advances, but #insolidarity with women across the world I will engage in healthy conversation regarding sexual assault. I don’t have to have a daughter, to want differently for the children of our future. I hope you will consider the same!