Confession: I am sick of hearing about Harvey Weinstein.
It’s not that I support the perpetual harassment and objectification of women, it’s just that the selective focus of the whole situation makes me want to scream.
Why Harvey? Why now? After all, our commander-in-chief did many similar things, and not only did no one care, but he was voted into office! And yet people seem to be stabbing Harvey with metaphorical pitchforks, over and over, with the kind of glee that can only come from schadenfreude.
Every time I see another Harvey headline, or another Harvey magazine cover, not only does the hypocrisy threaten to eat me alive, but I cannot help but wonder at the double standard. I would love to hear any and all theories about this, but the one I’m currently sticking to is that Americans love to tear down anyone seen as rich, entitled, and successful. If they are a member of the “liberal elite,” all the better.
Trump, for reasons that I cannot comprehend, ran on a platform of being a “man of the people.” Whereas Hillary was accused of being rich and out of touch, Trump (yes, the man with the golden plane and the golden toilet) was persistently portrayed as the only one who recognized working class Americans, the only one who was committed to improving their way of life. Unlike Hillary, who was seen as using the government for her own political and financial gain, Trump really cared! There are countless articles that describe Trump as the “workingman’s candidate,” whereas Hillary would be critiqued for not thinking “of the hard-working men and women of America.” (Please do not ask me to explain, because I can’t.)
Therefore, when Trump would be accused by more than 12 women of sexual assault or misconduct, or when the Access Hollywood “pussy” tape made its rounds, it was merely a blip on the radar, some “locker room talk,” because us working-class folk like to stick together, not like that entitled liberal Jew, Harvey Weinstein. (Does his religion matter? I can’t help but wonder.) So we pull Weinstein down, eject him from the Academy, but leave behind such fine folk as Mel Gibson, Roman Polanski, Bill Cosby, and Woody Allen. So they are okay, much like our president.
Despite the fact that Summer Zervos, a former Apprentice contestant, accused Trump of “thrusting his genitals” at her and attempting to pull her into the bedroom during a business meeting, or that People writer Natasha Stoynoff alleged Trump pushed her against a wall and forced his tongue down her throat at Mar-a-Lago while his then-pregnant wife, Melania, was upstairs, or even that Jessica Leeds told The New York Times Trump groped her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt on an airplane more than three decades ago, no one cares. In fact, they care so little that they elected him to office. Because he’s seen as one of the guys. And guys stick together. Bros before hoes, remember?
Maybe it has to do with the status of the accusers, the fact that people know Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie and Rose McGowan, and Michelle Ruiz and Natasha Stoynoff and Jessica Leeds have no name recognition. While this might be part of the equation, I do not think it entirely justifies the glee with which people are taking Harvey down.
To further emphasize the hypocrisy, Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel has slammed Democrats for taking donations from Weinstein—and insisted that it is not possible to compare the actions of Weinstein with those of Trump. And Sean Hannity, who has remained so loyal to our president that, in the words of Ann Coulter, he “would endorse communism if Trump decided to implement the policies of The Communist Manifesto,” criticizes Democrats for not condemning Weinstein strongly enough. Sure, that makes sense.
But the hypocrisy is so much larger than Trump vs. Weinstein. I wrote in a recent blog post how men I knew, men I trusted, thought nothing of using explicit photos of me as currency. Someone messaged me shortly after publishing that post to tell me that it was my fault for using those images as currency. Because, of course, I am to blame for the fact that men can be sleazy and without shame, and I should have held my head high and refused to cooperate. But I needed their help, and so I played by their rules, just like all the Harvey victims who are now being criticized for not coming forward sooner. Would they have become as successful as they are now if they had? Probably not. Would I have gotten the photos from my shoot if I had hooked up with the photographer? Probably. Would I have gotten my file formatted correctly without a photo of my breasts? Probably not. You can blame me for using the currency, but I did not create the exchange. I did not tell men that it was okay to use my body as currency. And the fact that you think that it is my fault and my problem is just the tip of the iceberg.
Kelsey McKinney writes an article for the Village Voice entitled “Almost Every Single Woman I Know Has Been the Victim of Sexual Assault.” That tells you everything you need to know, if you didn’t already. Almost every single woman has been the victim of sexual assault. Why? Because — except with Harvey — no one cares.
I’m pleased as punch that Harvey is going down, but nothing will change unless we ask ourselves why Harvey? Why now? Are there other forces at play? Because one man, doing the exact same things, is now sitting in the oval office.
And nothing will change unless we acknowledge that this is part of a larger problem, that it has to do with people not listening to women, not believing women, disregarding women, and not hiring women.
It’s not separate from the fact that only 7% of the films made last year by major Hollywood studios were directed by women. Behind the scenes roles – such as cinematographers and sound editors – are even worse represented.
It is not separate from the fact that a 43-year-old actress is told she is too old to play the wife of a 57-year-old. In 2015, actress Maggie Gyllenhaal said, at 37, that she was told she was too old to play the love interest of a 55-year-old man.
It is not separate from the fact that Blade Runner 2049 is described as “a misogynistic mess,” with women either prostitutes, holographic housewives, or victims of brutal deaths that audience members “are forced to watch in horrifying detail.”
It’s not separate from the fact that a woman can never be too thin and a man can never be too muscular.
It’s not separate from the fact that a woman becomes invisible as she ages, whereas a man becomes distinguished.
It’s not separate from the fact that men get to decide if women can have birth control while no one questions whether Viagra should be covered.
It’s not separate from Twitter refusing to enforce their guidelines when our president goes off the rails.
It’s not separate from Jordan Kushner using a private email server while Hillary is excoriated for doing the same thing.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s a good thing that Harvey (and his brother!) are getting what they deserve. But I also think — in our frenzy to take them down — that it is important for us to remember all the others who are still there and to question why this time it matters.