In the wake of recent accusations of sexual assault and otherwise shit behavior from serial abuser and movie mogul, Harvey Weinstein, many more women have come forward after years of living in fear of retaliation if they came forward and lodged accusations of any kind towards this powerful man. Many of them had put what they endured away, as if they were shoving yet another shitty folder into the bottom drawer of a file cabinet to be forgotten about if at all possible.
We do this for self-preservation, because we know it won’t be the last time it happens, and lord knows people are going to tell you in various ways, both direct and otherwise, that they don’t fucking believe you. Either because they don’t fucking believe you, or because they don’t want “to get any on them”, as siding with “the wrong side” in an embarrassing situation like this can get you blackballed just as fast as the accuser in pretty much any industry.
Men are coming forward now. Now that they’ve been called out by women telling them to, they’re speaking up and condemning this predictable bullshit, and it’s great, I guess. We all have our “Weinsteins” (plural), and it’s almost mind boggling to those of us who have them filed away so they can’t hurt us anymore to see people actually coming forward and calling this shit out. Especially other men.
“There is no excuse for sexual harassment or sexual assault — no matter who you are and no matter what profession,” Leonardo DiCaprio said Tuesday on Facebook. “I applaud the strength and courage of the women who came forward and made their voices heard.”
Ok, I mean thanks. I guess.
Ben Affleck chimed in with, “This is completely unacceptable, and I find myself asking what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen to others,” Affleck said. “We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers, and daughters.
Well, that’s cool…I guess.
“I hope we are now seeing the beginning of the end of these abuses,” Mark Ruffalo says with heartfelt sincerity.
George Clooney, when confronted with the question of whether he helped quash rumors about Weinstein in the past, replied with “What’s important now is that anybody who thinks that they can get away with doing that, they now have to think: Wait, somebody can be recording this or writing a story about it. I’m going to get in a lot of trouble.”
He’s absolutely right. That’s what’s important now.
Now that people are more likely to be recording you. Now that you’re more likely to get caught. Now that you might get in a lot of trouble.
And that’s what pains me as I read these statements from the men who absolutely should be making statements. The men we need to be speaking out about toxic masculinity and what is no longer acceptable. Not now.
Director James Gunn stated in a longer and more emphatic than most statement, “Yesterday, I tweeted that if even 1/10 of the stories about Harvey Weinstein are true, and I believe they are, then good fucking riddance. Fuck him and everyone who enabled him to get away with such behavior.”
Respectfully, Mr. Gunn, who does that leave out? If we’re being honest here, how many of you are complicit? I don’t need a list of who isn’t, I have a hard time even typing that question because I know this opens up the door for all the #NOTALLMEN folks to stream through like ants. Because it’s not all men, but it’s a percentage I don’t want to think about right now because I know it includes men I know as good men in my life.
I’m sad. Because I know the culture that breeds men’s fear of calling out other men on unacceptable behavior. Or maybe unacceptable isn’t the word I’m looking for because, until now, it’s been acceptable.
Fortunately, I’m nobody very important in the grand scheme of things, so I know my disappointment and seemingly scolding tone isn’t going to make any impact on the men who are coming forward now, now that we have another mask torn off of a monster, and I’m glad.
Because that’s what needs to happen for anything to change: Men need to call each other out for treating other people animals instead of human beings who are deserving of at least a modicum of respect. Men have to do it because we are all painfully aware that that’s what it takes to get anyone listening, finally listening. It took comedian Hannibal Buress calling out Bill Cosby for anyone to even consider that the accusations lodged by women over the last few decades had any credibility, for crying out loud. Sadly, we need you, men, to do this for us a while (?) longer.
We needed you before. The women who are deserving of the ability to move freely through this world without being sexually assaulted, without having to pay for opportunity with their flesh and dignity, without being forced to feed men’s egos which have grown too large to be sated without taking something that isn’t theirs to take: We needed you then. And we noticed when you weren’t there.
So for those of you who are getting around to speaking up…now?
Thanks, guys. I guess.
No, really, even though I’m a little conflicted about my gratitude…now? Thank you.