I’m angry. Women are angry. Men are angry. The world is angry. The outer crust of humanity is blistering like pork crackling in an oven of sordid stories.
I’m angry but I’m not surprised. Most women aren’t. Men? Many say they are shocked. Appalled. But deep down they are also afraid and this is a global shift in the politics of fear because women have been living in fear for so long it is hammered into our bones. Literally. Now many men are afraid too, of being exposed, with their pants down, but this time publicly.
I have a teenage daughter. I have a teenage son. Trying to explain to my son why Louis C.K is a persona non gratis now because we know he jerks off at cringing women is a tough conversation. He’s a big fan. Was! Discussing the accusations against Ed Westwick, my daughter’s first nuclear crush, from Gossip Girl, is even harder. She and her friends refuse to believe the accusations. This scares me.
So much about the recent revelations scares me. But hopefully not as much as the creeps who have lurked in the shadows, the wolves in the woods, who got away with their treatment of men, women, girls and boys, using the dangerous fusion of power and sex to manipulate those in vulnerable positions for their own perverse entertainment, like dick-wielding gladiators or leering lions circling defenseless slaves in their own private arena. I hope they are shivering in their boots. Terrified of their impending judgment day.
I’m concerned about the reactions from my children. My son was disgusted by his favorite comedian’s behavior, denouncing him instantly as a ‘sad and sick wanker’ but added that ‘at least he isn’t a rapist.’ We then had to discuss sexism as existing upon a spectrum at which cat-calling and locker room talk is on one end and rape on the other. I had to explain that you don’t need to lynch a person of color to be a racist. Making racist jokes or talking behind someones back about race is racist behavior. It’s all bad. I explained to my child that the spectrum is a slippery slope. It’s not just about sex. It’s about power. I think he understands this all better now.
My daughter couldn’t so easily lose her blind adoration for the slick actor who has ironically played a character accused of sexual assault. ‘They’re just accusations,’ she stammered. It is her doe-eyed teenage, innocent reverence for this young man that blinds her to the fact that he ‘could’ be one of the wolves. It is this attitude of reverence for money, fame and prestige that blinkered us all to the extent of the problem. We don’t want it to be true. ‘Not him. No way.’
And yes, Ed Westwick is still maintaining his innocence as are many other men accused in Hollywood-gate. Weinstein and C.K and (dear god this was a disappointment) Kevin Spacey have admitted their crimes to some degree. I hope that only the most deserving reputations get thrashed in this flood-water of accusations. We must be sensible about this. People coming forward with their stories of long-held shame and degradation and abuse must be listened to because for too long, they’ve worn the heavy armor of it. But it must not become a frenzy because a frenzy fries away reason and responsibility and people stop taking it seriously.
I have stories. Don’t we all? Two property managers, over the years that I was a single mother renting places, sexually harassed me. It felt horrible. The power balance was there and there was little I felt I could do except feel like crap and avoid them or move. A drum teacher. A stranger in a dark place that might have been the end of me.
But I also worked as an actress for a while and there was plenty of flirtatious behavior in the theater and on film sets. But the playful banter never crossed my boundary line. There were plenty of affairs and shenanigans going on in caravans and dressing rooms. It never occurred to me then that some more powerful actors/directors/wolves might take advantage of that climate and target a lamb. I didn’t see it, but in hindsight, I now remember seeing shadows of it, sensing it. One particular actor lured pretty extras into shadowy corners with vague promises of getting a speaking role.
We live in a really messed up world right now. The wrong people seem to be in charge and what we used to accept as polite and acceptable behavior has slid into a festering swamp. Having a world leader on the throne, who has admitted to sexually assaulting women, is unthinkable but it’s a sign of what the world has come to.
Sexism is rampant. It’s everywhere and it has been getting worse and it IS a lifestyle disease. Life is teaching our children that it’s okay to have a president who grabs pussy by the handful without consent because ‘he is powerful’.
Power = do whatever you want to anyone less powerful than you.
But the tide is now turning and I’m glad the boil is finally being lanced (although the gunk that is coming out is pretty rancid). The wolves will find it harder to lure their victims into their hotel rooms, bedrooms or star dressing rooms or grope them and humiliate them at will.
My children are seeing the direct and swift accountability and retaliation after the final expose of these powerful villains (which sadly took many years). They are losing jobs. Film deals. Friends and family. Their entire reputations. And they’re not just in Hollywood, but everywhere.
So for all you creatures who bare your teeth and dare to expose your vile version of sex upon those who aren’t consenting – your time has come. You are now being exposed to the world.
You are now the vulnerable!