‘How not to treat a woman,’ starring Harvey Weinstein, executive producer
“I’m a famous guy,” he said. But fame, wealth and influence couldn’t protect this sexual predator from his insatiable appetite for helpless young starlets forever. He dangled the promises of a glamorous and successful career to lure and force himself on young, starry-eyed wannabe celebs. Hollywood, according to actress Mayiam Bialik, “rewards physical beauty and sex appeal above all else and profits from the mistreatment of women.”
So does this mean that the fall of Harvey Weinstein represents a breakthrough or turning point for women subjected to abuse and/or harassment, especially in the film industry? Gwyneth Paltrow said she was expected to be quiet about such things because rich and powerful men had the capacity to catapult a career or snuff it out like a flame.
What’s surprising for the rest of us is that we never expected some of the feisty fearless female super stars that we look up to to come out of the woodworks and give statements claiming sexual misconduct by Harvey Weinstein going back to their formative years. It shows that even for these successful women, Hollywood is still a male-dominated industry, a place where the bargaining positions are unequal. Until now that is … More and more women are coming out to speak against this pervert and finally society seems to be listening. It’s sad that just one woman’s voice isn’t enough, but when a bevy of women start to speak out and the weapons often used by rich men, such as out-of-court settlements and manipulating the media to discredit victims’ testimonies, stop working, something’s got to give.
Weinstein has been kicked out of the elite club of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, forcing the Academy to rethink its attitude after years of unrestrained mistreatment of women, especially considering that it ostensibly has tried to address gender and racial imbalances. Last year, the Academy came under fire for the lack of diversity, with the #OscarsSoWhite outrage. It then vowed to double female and minority membership by 2020. At present, women represent 28 percent of its 8,400 members only, with ethnic minorities representing 13 percent.
In the past, courts have not always recognized self defense as a grounds for justification when women killed their spouses after years of abuse, but this has changed. Society can’t sweep these issues under the carpet any longer – the courts and social media will not allow this any longer. There are numerous examples of men getting caught but refusing to apologize: Bill Clinton claimed not to have had sexual relations with “that woman’ and US presidential candidate Donald Trump dismissed his “pussy-grabbing episode” as ‘locker-room talk’, and South African President Jacob Zuma claimed before the court that he had taken a shower to prevent infection after encountering an HIV-positive woman, whom he had actually raped.
It is easier for these men to brush off allegations than it is for their victims to come forward and speak out about abuse. Powerful men get egg on their face while unknown women can lose their careers completely. Our reluctance as a society to talk about gender-based violence openly enables abuse and the sexual predators. We can’t sweep these issues under the carpet any longer. To change the way society thinks about gender-based violence, we need to trust women and make it easier for them to speak freely without fear of being victimized. Instead of allowing the Weinstein scandal to become just another item on our newsfeed, we have to decide as a society that this is in fact a deal breaker. We have to see beyond the celebrity or familiarity of a perpetrator because this makes it difficult to associate them with any wrongdoing, especially sexual abuse. Women all over the world fight with all that they’ve got to be heard and to be equal before men, as well as to retain the rights to their own bodies.
We also have to stop saying “boys will boys” because these boys have to grow up into responsible men who are accountable for their actions!
Author: Sarona Wolter
Editor: Anne Thomas
Millions of women across the world have been sharing their experiences of sexual harassment and abuse in an online campaign using the hashtag #MeToo on Twitter and with rolling posts on Facebook. The hashtag has been trending in Pakistan too. (From October 23, 2017)
According to Huffington Post, more than 25.000 people have responded to Alyssa Milano’s call for sexual abuse victims to come forward. Here are some of the most retweeted tweets. (From October 17, 2017)
Date24.10.2017 | 14:48
Tags#MeToo, Alyssa Milano, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Gwyneth Paltrow, Harvey Weinstein, sexual assault, sexual harassment, Tarana Burke, women's rights