So, Hey. The Patriarchy. That’s a Thing. Rape Culture? That’s a Thing, Too. Who Knew? (We Fucking Did) Part 1

#metoo #yesallwomen #fuckingpissed

I’ve been trying to write my reaction to the out-ing of Harvey Weinstein, and the #metoo resurgence on the internet. I keep going between a hell storm of anger, DON’T YOU FUCKING ROLL YOUR EYES, OR I WILL STAB YOU IN YOUR PIG FACE, and lying face down on the floor in exhaustion. I have been stalled.

No matter, There have been a lot of excellent, poignant, painful, informativepowerful pieces written in the past few weeks that are using all the good words to describe my hurt and a plan for change! Daaaaaaamn. These. Writers. Are. Killing. It. Please read them.

So, in case you live under a heavy rock, here’s the situation: Harvey Weinstein was the co-founder and big cheese of Miramax Studios, that put out a shit ton of successful movies in the past few decades. He was also sexually assaulting and harassing women who worked for him all along. There was, apparently, comprehensive knowledge of it, and some big $$ settlements, but the general consensus appeared to be, “it’s how it goes/right of passage for women if they want to be stars” and that men are pigs  and can’t help themselves from attacking women for the sakes of their egos and penises.

A NYT article brought all these crimes to light earlier this month. Since then, dozens and dozens more women are sharing their stories of harassment and assault by him during their professional associations with Miramax. He was fired, some charges are being considered, and he’s apparently fled to Europe for sex addiction rehab. To be clear, in the accounts of the women he assaulted, it was most definitely not “sex” that he was having. So, those actors, producers, directors, writers associated with him are being urged to get quickly to the right side of the line in the sand.  His brother, co-founder of Miramax, Bob Weinstein, among them. Apparently as many as 25 years ago, a trusted colleague told him that a female employee bolted after an ‘encounter’ with Harvey. (““Your brother is a pig,” Ms. DeClesis remembers telling Bob Weinstein around the same time. She said she quit shortly afterward.”)

And women everywhere are saying, “Yep. Me, too. In my life, in my industry, on the streets, in my home. Ev-er-y-where. Same. In a thousand ways, men have hurt me, made me unable to do my job, made me uncomfortable, made me afraid.” #metoo is sweeping the internet, with celebrity and ‘regular’ people sharing their experiences of abuse. #metoo was started 10 years ago by Tarana Burke, and picked up by Alyssa Milano, sending it far across the inter tubes, encouraging others to share.

It’s a relief to see an army of women supporting each other, and it’s, like, this brand new fun thing that PEOPLE ARE FUCKING BELIEVING US,  but it’s exhausting to talk about it, too, because THIS ABUSE AND OPPRESSION HAS BEEN THERE ALL ALONG. THIS IS NOT NEW TO US.

Also, any discussion I have with men about how it’s going for women, is….very tiring. Because, see, when you’re part of the patriarchy, you don’t know it…(?) and/or it’s very inconvenient to truly understand and accept it. There’s a lot of dismissiveness, minimizing, and butthurt (referred to sometimes as “fragile male ego”). Also, my pain is referred to as “an agenda,” or “a narrative,” or “rhetoric” or “too much,” making it easy for them to not have to really hear me.

So. Patriarchy (‘a social system in which power is held by men, through cultural norms and customs that favor men and withhold opportunity  from women’). Men in charge, women suffering under them as lower class citizens. Yeah, it’s a thing.

Rape culture  (‘an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture’) where women are viewed only as sexual beings there for the purposes of men’s power and penises. Oh, that exists, too. The data on assaults in the U.S. 

So, cool. Great. Harvey Weinstein, Donald Trump. All those big numbers. It’s awful. And it’s so clear now! Men are harming women! Patriarchy, rape culture. All real. It’s happening to all women, #yesallwomen. Now men know, too! Yay! Let’s fix it together!

Oh, but wait, they think we’re exaggerating. What’s that? They think we’re lying. Umm. They think we’re somehow describing the most painful, embarrassing, horrifying moments of our lives for our own gain. Oh, God, really?

 

They think we’re trying to ruin their country by asking for change. 

 

Here’s a fine example, of how much we support pig men and ignore women;

 

You guys, here’s what the woman, Greta Zimmer Friedman, dental hygienist, (proven) in that picture has to say about this iconic moment, “”It wasn’t my choice to be kissed,” Friedman stated in a 2005 interview with the Library of Congress.[3] “The guy just came over and grabbed!” she said, adding, “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me.”[3][10] “I did not see him approaching, and before I know it I was in this tight grip,” Friedman told CBS News in 2012.”

So. The most iconic example of male hero returning from terrible war (Nazis) to come back to America to claim what he’s earned! Freedom!! Women!! is sexual assault (‘any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.’)

I mean, I’ll be criticized or dismissed for having anything but nostalgia over this photograph (available as poster at Target for $9.99). People might say, “Respect our soldiers! That’s not a sexual assault! It’s so romantic! And, OK, maybe they didn’t actually know each other, so romantic might be a strong term, but I mean, he didn’t rape her!” No, but he held himself against her and intimately touched his mouth to hers WITHOUT HER CONSENT OR AWARENESS. That’s….uh, that’s sexual assault, folks. She didn’t want it. He should not have done that. That was a crime.

But, here, he’s a hero. We support him, not her. We don’t even listen to her. She doesn’t matter. Damnit.

DO YOU SEE?

I have some insight into men’s…ignorance(?) of the patriarchy and rape culture, because I had my own….ignorance(?) about how it was going for African Americans and how real white supremacy is. I suspected, I wondered…I fucking knew. And I wasn’t accepting it, even when it couldn’t have been more obvious, and people were screaming it,  because I didn’t want it to be true.

I’d have to deal with it, if I knew. And I’d have to face my part in it. I’d have to acknowledge the racist system and my own racism. When I finally couldn’t ignore it, and realized I had a ton to learn, and was definitely responsible, complicit, and needed to change, it was hard. Then, I was like, “Oh, hey! You guys, this is BAD. Did you know? What should we do about it?” and they were like, “SIGH. WE FUCKING KNEW! WE’RE ALREADY DOING IT. THIS IS EXHAUSTING.”

I had the luxury of ignoring it for a long time because the system supported me, and it was uncomfortable, embarrassing, and inconvenient to acknowledge how much it hurt others. I had to learn to shut up and listen to what needs to happen next to make it better.  Guess what? People who are used to being in charge, aren’t great at shutting up and listening.

This is already so long. I’m going to go into a Part II, where I talk about the concept of “men are pigs” and the veeeery uncomfortable conversations I’ve been having lately with male allies….(?).

Cuz when you can’t help but conclude that men are the problem for women, and you’re a woman living with a man, it’s gonna get….awkward.

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