The aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein story has seen millions of women (and the odd man) tell stories of sexual abuse that seems like every woman has been affected in some shape and form. That of course seems to be the issue and that is something we all have to deal with as this may well fell like a watershed moment, it is of course utterly meaningless unless attitudes change an people change. It does however feel overwhelming as this excellent article from Angela Haggerty details.
We should all listen to what these people are saying. People aren’t going to change if we don’t, and slamming down the idea that ‘all men’ are potential predators is part of that too as this is a prime chance to get men listening to women like never before so alienating potential friends and allies just ends up driving people away. Sometimes that means driving people into extremes. This is a chance to put to bed the ‘oh, but women do this too’ line by outlining just how prevalent this sort of abuse is. But the need should be to educate and change people by using this to bring people together because the problems of this sort of abuse can be cultural and ingrained as Asia Argento has found out after speaking out.
There also needs to be discussion in the UK at least of how class plays a part in this, and there needs to be more discussion of how women outwith the middle class media bubble feel and how they’ve been abused by men abusing them, and middle class women need to let working class women have a voice in all this as this perspective is pretty much missing. Also all men should take this moment to educate ourselves because I wasn’t aware of how casually widespread this is, and if need be, call this behaviour out when we see it in others. As this New Yorker piece points things out clearly.
For years—for centuries—the economic, physical, and cultural subjugation of women has registered as something like white noise. Lately, it appears that we’re starting to hear the tune.
So let’s use this as a chance to educate people and change things to the extent where future Weinstein’s or Jimmy Savile’s never feel powerful enough to do what they did, as well as ensuring young men don’t feel they have to follow a form of masculinity that hurts people. Will things change for the best? No, there’s still going to be these type of men but through things like #metoo, education and discussion there’s going to be less of them and that’s a good thing.