Our Shared Shelf discussion

968 views
Intersectional Feminism > Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World

Comments Showing 1-50 of 85 (85 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Agus (new)

Agus (agusmemoirs) | 10 comments Hello everyone! In the light of the whole Harvey Weinstein situation that has blown up recently, and the storm of articles, discussions, indictments, etc., that has aroused, the actress Mayim Bialik published an article for The New York Times, titled "Mayim Bialik: Being a Feminist in Harvey Weinstein's World". Although it "aimed" to be a critic of the objectification of women by the Hollywood sphere, and the values it proclaims; it has been widely criticized for its distorted depiction of feminism and the many traces of victim blaming it contains.
Here's the link in case you haven't read it:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/13/op...
I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.


message 2: by Ana, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Ana PF | 746 comments Mod
Hmmmm. I think I can get the point of those accusing Bialik of victim blaming. She does say this, which in my opinion is important:

Women should be able to wear whatever they want. They should be able to flirt however they want with whomever they want. Why are we the ones who have to police our behavior?

In a perfect world, women should be free to act however they want. But our world isn’t perfect. Nothing — absolutely nothing — excuses men for assaulting or abusing women.


So perhaps I am naive myself, but as she says these things, I think I can believe she has her best intentions at heart when writing this article.

But we can’t be naïve about the culture we live in.

This is a statement that I feel uncomfortable to say I agree with. Identifying as a feminist has helped me see lots of things in a different way. It hasn't changed the fact that when I go out at night I always take a taxi home and ask the driver to please wait for me as I enter my building, or the fact that when I travel solo I do some research on which places I "should" and "should not" go alone. To me this is a practical instance of can't be naïve about the culture we live in. Because it sure sucks, but I still do all those things and many more that are by now interiorised. So I don't think it'd be fair of me to object to that, It does, however, make me feel uncomfortable and, most importantly, frustrated, as often I feel like this is the end point of any conversation on that toxic culture.

Now, Bialik may have had the best intentions at heart, but her essay still does rub me off at several points...

In the meantime, I plan to continue to work hard to encourage young women to cultivate the parts of themselves that may not garner them money and fame. If you are beautiful and sexy, terrific. But having others celebrate your physical beauty is not the way to lead a meaningful life.

So why is it that we women can't have it all, I thought as I read. We either hurt ourselves because to attain conventional beauty or if we have it, we have to be careful not to become a cautionary tale, because it is dangerous, or empty, or not fruitful. I know I am guilty myself of this second trail of thought - Look at so-and-so, so vapid, looks is all they are. Hey, and sometimes the criticism is valid. Sometimes beautiful people, women included, are vapid. But the stereotyping is yet another mechanism of control and submission coming from above, I feel. Above meaning a patriarchal mindset.

And if — like me — you’re not a perfect 10, know that there are people out there who will find you stunning, irresistible and worthy of attention, respect and love. The best part is you don’t have to go to a hotel room or a casting couch to find them.

I would hope that those who are (not, nobody ever is, but traditionally closer to) a perfect 10 will know that as well, and that they, too, do not have to pay a steep price to find them, I don't like this ending. It's kind of a word of caution to girls, disguised as warm feelings and acceptance, even unintentionally so.

I believe that we can change our culture, but it won’t be something that happens overnight. We live in a society that has treated women as disposable playmates for far longer than Mr. Weinstein has been meeting ingénues in luxury hotel rooms.

Yes, indeed. It's not that it won't, it actually hasn't. However, as I said before, this feels like a dead end. Because it won't happen overnight, let's keep being cautious, girls. Let's seek other attributes in our identities. Let's. Let's. Let's. Which, OK. But once again, the main burden is placed on our shoulders. I don't want to take responsibility away from us, we are women, not children, and as adults a healthy society is as much our right as it is our duty. But let's make sure victims are still seen as victims, and predators as predators.

Terrible things happen to all kinds of women, all the time, in all industries. I don't entirely dislike Bialik's essay and, as I said, I don't think a harsh judgement is deserved here. But it is not a perfect essay. The bright side, I guess, is that it's one more adding to the voices raised against scandals such as this one, where there hardly were any before.


message 3: by Ana, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Ana PF | 746 comments Mod
Oh, there's also something that came to my mind just after I finished writing my post above.

So, back to the final sentence of the essay:

The best part is you don’t have to go to a hotel room or a casting couch to find them.

Just by reading this, one gets the idea that all of Weinstein's victims knew what was going on and were either 'naïve' or 'used but knowing'. I am sure this would be quite the wrong assumption, which is another problematic point with the article.


message 4: by Ana, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Ana PF | 746 comments Mod
She really is getting a lot of heat in the comments to this follow-up, too: http://ti.me/2gouwGf


message 5: by Agus (last edited Oct 16, 2017 03:57PM) (new)

Agus (agusmemoirs) | 10 comments It could be that the starting point of the article was standing up for women and speaking up for them from her position of power as a public figure. But the result wasn't quite that. Maybe she did have the best interest at heart, but still her words didn't follow that thread of thought. The essay has indeed some shaky points like you, Ana, pointed out.
I understand that we are not living in a perfect world. And instead we all have to check our backs when we walk home at night. And double, triple check them if you are a woman. Sadly, for women, the feeling of uncertainty and fear never really goes away. Either at night, at daytime, at your workplace, at school, on the streets, at a public place, and sometimes even at your own house. And again, although it is extremely sad, it's the world we are living in and we ought to take notice in that. But the problem with Bialik's article is the connection she makes between that position of inferiority and the decision of wearing make-up and getting manicures.
Furthermore, she associates being a feminist with having "little desire to diet, get plastic surgery or hire a personal trainer". By positioning herself (and the public that I believe she's aiming at with this article, which are the ones who "are not a perfect 10") against "the pretty girls", she is not helping to destroy the beauty stereotypes that Hollywood exalts. Rather she is exalting them herself.
Truthfully, I don't believe she chose the best words, if they were indeed (as she claims they were) "taken out of context" and twisted willfully. At least that sounds quite confusing when we read parts of the article such as this one:
"I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy."
As if the victims of abuse (in this particular case, the one involving Harvey Weinstein) decided not to reserve their sexual selves for private situations.
The article shows a lot of wrong assumptions and value judgments hidden behind of (what I believe) is a faux feminist disguise. I don't think hers is the best feminist way of approaching such a subject. Drawing a thick line between "the pretty girls", "the perfect 10s", the "girls with doe eyes and pouty lips" and herself; and, as well, associating the possibility of abuse to those beauty stereotypes, failing to see the different positions of power between men and women, is to me definitely not the best feminist way of approaching the Hollywood (or any) case.


message 6: by Britt (new)

Britt | 123 comments Thank you, Agus, for sharing this article - I don't think I would've come across it if you hadn't.

I completely agree with you that the message her words seem to convey is a very wrong one. It seems to me she's saying that "perfect 10s" can't be feminists... Which is definitely not true.

I agree with Ana too, though, as I think Mayim wrote the article with good intentions. I don't know very much about her (having never really watched Big Bang Theory - (yes, I know, very strange, but it's on my to-watch-list!)), but maybe she lacks the necessary background information and research into feminism to write an inspirational article on the subject for the moment - one that doesn't offend anyone in any way (which, let's face it, is not easy!)?

I think that even though the article has its flaws, we shouldn't be too hard in our judgment. After all, she is expressing herself against Harvey Weinstein's completely unacceptable behaviour and she seems to be a genuine, active feminist.

The backlash her article apparently created will probably serve her to choose her words more carefully the next time she's writing about such a topic.


message 7: by Ana, Our Shared Shelf Moderator (new)

Ana PF | 746 comments Mod
If I remember correctly, she identified herself as Jewish in the essay, right? Certain points of her article speak of someone who might still be observant or at the very least with a deep influence of past beliefs. I'm not saying we should celebrate her as the ultimate 21st century feminist because her essay strongly suggests otherwise, but I also think it takes some valuable thought and effort to get to feminism from a religious background. She does deserve the criticism, but I can't help but cut her some slack. As one of you said above, also, this will hopefully be an experience for her, and feminism is very much something to learn. In fact, the learning curve is steep. I know I've had ideas that were not "very feminist" in the past -nothing outrageous, but certainly plenty of room for reflection and improvement. Because I am not a public character, I get to learn along the way somewhat privately. A small perk compared to their privilege? Yes, indeed. By all means call Bialik out. However, let's not forget that people can change and think twice and make new statements. I'll save my harshness for Weinstein.


message 8: by Gerd (last edited Oct 17, 2017 08:07AM) (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Ana wrote: "Hmmmm. I think I can get the point of those accusing Bialik of victim blaming. She does say this, which in my opinion is important:

Women should be able to wear whatever they want. They should be ..."


Seeing those instances of, let's be blunt about it, slut-shaming of actresses cited in your post somehow makes not want to waste further time on Bialik's writing, tbh.


message 9: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Sarah Polley's essay is great - if that is the right word to use in a such a horrible context.

Though, honest, moving:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/14/op...


message 10: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments Why do women have to be heroes when they are the victims of assault. The law and society should and will see them as the focus secure the Shame and fear is with the perpetrator not the victim

Being a feminist before and after Weinstein is the same; equality and end to systematic sexism he embodied.


message 11: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
So... I really like what is happening outside of these reviews of the state of womanhood. Specifically the following Twitter campaigns.

- Alyssa Milano's #MeToo
Which explores how prevelant and widespread is the issue
- Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, #IWill
A call to action on how we as individuals, and not just women, will make this issue a thing of the past..

It's very saddening to see the scores of people coming out with the first. Reminiscint of all of us who read Hunger and have come forth as it were. And very gladdening to see what power we have to call out these antics. The collective WE is a powerful force.


message 12: by Ash (new)

Ash (goodreadscomashna_gulati2609) | 205 comments Pam wrote: "So... I really like what is happening outside of these reviews of the state of womanhood. Specifically the following Twitter campaigns.

- Alyssa Milano's #MeToo
Which explores how prevelant and wi..."


Yes Pam,I too like what is happening outside of these reviews.In fact the #MeToo has become widespread on Facebook as well.The #IWill however,I just came across.

The force of WE has very rightly the power to move mountains.

In Mayim Bialik's article,as people have pointed out,there has been a communication gap as to what she would have liked to say and what she actually said.This is something that happens with everybody at some point of time.

Furthermore,I do think we again are laying expectations on what a FEMINIST is supposed to say.Thus,as she said something different from what we would have liked to hear,there was twisting of her words to criticize her feminism.

As a result of such twisting of words,people in power such as Emma Watson have to be so careful of what they write.
For example,Emma tweeted two days back against the Harvey Weinstein incident.I did not feel that her first tweet was anyhow inadequate for the situation.But out of fear she explained herself in another tweet just moments later.This,I felt was NOT SO EMMA

As she always says that both genders should not feel the need to be apologetic or explanatory,as that is where true freedom of fear lies.

This is her first one,

https://twitter.com/EmmaWatson/status...

And here's the second one

https://twitter.com/EmmaWatson/status...

Who do you feel is the real victim of such social media backlash?
And who is the culprit?


message 13: by Gerd (last edited Oct 18, 2017 01:52AM) (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Ashna wrote: "And who is the culprit? ..."

Actually twitter I'd say, who makes nigh impossible to express yourself adequately.
Or the people trying to use twitter as something it isn't, we should keep in mind that twitter is set up as nothing more than a tool to shout out throwaway phrases.


message 14: by MotorCityMomma (new)

MotorCityMomma | 17 comments For those interested, Mayim issued a public apology for her piece today:

https://www.facebook.com/MissMayim/ph...

http://people.com/tv/mayim-bialik-apo...


message 15: by James (new)

James Corprew Its too bad she was bullied into an apology. And people wonder why people can not come together. Mayim may not have worded her piece perfectly but it was quite clear that she wasnt placing blame on women. But, that never stops people (even other feminists) from nitpicking it and bullying her to the point where she needs to be silenced. Sad state of affairs.


message 16: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments words are important and feeling riding high. at least apathy is no longer an issue. people with public voices have a duty to choose there words with care and in these times of powerful men and the lack of constraint maybe example's have to be made.

sadly we are in a time where better over reaction than pay the price if an under reaction.


message 17: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Ross wrote: "words are important and feeling riding high. at least apathy is no longer an issue. people with public voices have a duty to choose there words with care and in these times of powerful men and the ..."

True, but we are also in position to learn from them too.

Mayim is learning about the other POVs in feminism as surely as we are by being part of OSS. The difference is of course that our gawfaws are smaller in impact.


message 18: by Winston (new)

Winston | 180 comments Just hoping into the conversation if that's cool:

I did read Mayim's piece only after all the criticism and understanding my particular biases, I can see that some might take this as having a poor tone.

However, I think the critics go too far. Whatever the tone, Mayim is very clearly on the same side as everyone else. Her perspective is different, because, as she acknowledges, she's not a conventional beauty. Her opinions are informed from the differences in realities for her.
I think tone issue comes from her being very blunt about the realities of beauty/sex also being an extremely coveted commodity especially in Hollywood. That's true for predatory men, as it is for executives trying to sell movies tickets, as it is for the actors and actresses trying to make it. And when Mayim is excluded from those "markets", she has a more leveled perspective on what the Hollywood environment treats it.
But for each paragraph that is blunt about everyone wanting to be sexier, she has another condemning anyone for taking advantage of power or treating women as anything less than equal.

Look, I get that this is a very sensitive topic, and our moralities demand the highest forms of empathy. But what is terrible and scary is when we vilify each other, just when our perspectives are different.
She's sharing her honest opinion and she's talking to the young women that she was herself. No doubt filled with jealousy, filled with self doubt, filled with self consciousness.

Mayim may have made a tone mistake in some places. But any person reading would know her intention immediately.
Piling on insults and criticisms don't open the circle, it's tightens it. And at a point, it goes too far.

And this might be the edge of that. Mayim is a feminist. She's very inclusive and wants to be a better ally and advocate.

To condemn her this aggressively signals to me that we're more focused on finding and fighting enemies than solving problems.

anyway, that's just me. Thoughts? I'm definitely on board with having these conversations, but just because someone has a different perspective doesn't mean they don't have a right to an opinion and to voice it and have it taken with empathy and understanding. I don't think that happened her. I think we piranha feasted on the smallest mistakes and missed the larger message. And I'm unhappy that it was so effective that it essentially bullied and discounted her opinion and perspective and forced the redacting apology.


message 19: by James (last edited Oct 19, 2017 02:02PM) (new)

James Corprew Winston wrote: "Just hoping into the conversation if that's cool:

I did read Mayim's piece only after all the criticism and understanding my particular biases, I can see that some might take this as having a poor..."


Thats basically where i was coming from, you just explained it much better.

I do think Mayim is coming from an entirely different perspective within the acting world so maybe there is some underlying bitterness about possibly being passed up on roles due to "the beautiful people" getting them instead. Would that make her right in terms of how she laid out some of her points? No. But it would make her totally human.

Lets face it, even in ordinary society (especially in schools) you are either in the "in" crowd or you are not. Having been a person who was bullied a bit growing up i can understand some of the bitterness that Mayim may have when it comes to how society treats those who dont fit a particular standard of beauty or coolness.

I dont have a problem with the critics who were challenging her on her wording, but as you said some of them became bullies and outright nasty with their attacks. I dont think that is something that any feminist or champion of gender equality should be endorsing.

I kind of look at this situation much like when Rowling called out a man for calling May a whore. I think Rowling handled that particular scenario entirely wrong considering she had addressed that man as a friend. Instead of chastising that guy publicly she should of pulled him aside (in this case a personal message would of sufficed) and educated him on why he should not have said what he said. If anything, other feminists should have taken this opportunity to try and educate Mayim or convince her to re-evaluate her stance in certain areas. Instead as you said, she was vilified for it.

No one on the outside will ever look at feminism as a good thing when as a group they dont practice what they preach when it comes to empathy, love, or understanding. If educating is priority one for modern feminism than certainly not tearing down a woman for having a slightly different perspective is the way to go.

Especially when said person is already an ally to the movement.


message 20: by Gerd (last edited Oct 20, 2017 05:11AM) (new)

Gerd | 428 comments James wrote: "I kind of look at this situation much like when Rowling called out a man for calling May a whore. I think Rowling handled that particular scenario entirely wrong considering she had addressed that man as a friend. Instead of chastising that guy publicly she should of pulled him aside (in this case a personal message would of sufficed) and educated him on why he should not have said what he said.
..."


I would ebg to differ there.
I have no idea of the circumstances, but I don't think I need them either because I can't see a single good reason for calling a woman that - openly no less as I gather it?

And no, just sending him a chastising PM would not have been the right course of action. It would have come close to a refusal to speak out, and it would have let his remark stand in the open as if accepted.
Hell, worse, as if even acceptable to begin with.


message 21: by Winston (last edited Oct 20, 2017 07:53AM) (new)

Winston | 180 comments Gerd wrote: "And no, just sending him a chastising PM would not have been the right course of action. It would have come close to a refusal to speak out, and it would have let his remark stand in the open as if accepted."

I wrote in the post above:

Winston wrote: "To condemn her this aggressively signals to me that we're more focused on finding and fighting enemies than solving problems."

And I want to focus on your use of chastise as opposed to a synonym like educate or correct or change behavior. Gerd, and I do not mean this as an attack but an observation, why do you have to choose fighting? Why do you think the best solution is to make someone else feel bad? Why is Rowling publicly shaming someone preferable to actually having a discussion and educating someone on good and bad behavior?

What if Rowling took him aside and talked about the issue and he himself deleted said post? Is that a worse outcome than shaming him?

I'm not like, saying you're advocating for public execution here, but in the context of this discussion thread and the greater prevalence of "calling out", I have to ask why James and I opinion of avoiding vilification is unacceptable to you?


message 22: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Winston wrote: ".."I'm not like, saying you're advocating for public execution here, but in the context of this discussion thread and the greater prevalence of "calling out", I have to ask why James and I opinion of avoiding vilification is unacceptable to you. *

As a side note: Winston, your remark on "fighting words" is so true

I think agressive language is so prevelant in our culture that sometimes we don't even notice how often we use it. I.e. I used calling out above too. Thank you for pointing this out.

And now back to the conversation at hand.


message 23: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Winston wrote: " I have to ask why James and I opinion of avoiding vilification is unacceptable to you?
..."


Why avoiding "Vilification" when someone oversteps a visible line? And he has still the option open to him to excuse for his behaviour.

As I stated, I can see no instance in which the use of this word for a woman could have been justified to begin with, so what does he think to even use it against another person?

I mean is it really necessary to tell a grown man that you don't go round calling women this? If so, then someone missed to take him aside a long time ago ... so, yeah, I still don't see anything wrong with calling out unacceptable behaviour openly.


message 24: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments This discussion on Mayim also serves to highlight the double standard women suffer in this case she has to be less aggressive more careful.

To draw a parallel in media we often hear of a-list at work if a man is assertive even aggressive he is "in Character" if he is demanding he is perfectionist. A woman does the same she is difficult or demanding. She puts her art first she is a Diva.

We need to be sure we are judging the message not the messenger in my view.


message 25: by Winston (new)

Winston | 180 comments Thanks Pam! Preciate it! I feel like we're really divisive now-a-days and I don't think it's helping and if we want to be part of the solution we should start by policing ourselves


message 26: by James (new)

James Corprew Winston wrote: "Why is Rowling publicly shaming someone preferable to actually having a discussion and educating someone on good and bad behavior?

What if Rowling took him aside and talked about the issue and he himself deleted said post? Is that a worse outcome than shaming him?"


This is basically what im getting at. It has nothing to do with being "quiet" or "allowing" it to go unchallenged. My point was that she had said that she had considered this guy an ally or "friend" as she put it. If she thought well enough of him before why drag him through the ringer all of a sudden without taking the opportunity to enlighten him?

It just seems hypocritical to me for someone who champions gender equality to condemn a person for doing something like that only to do it themselves. To me all that does is continue this circle of hatred and animosity when we should be using it as a learning tool. In the end the guy tweeted " my bad" but not after she publicly flogged him in a worse manner than his initial comment.


message 27: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments James wrote: "It just seems hypocritical to me for someone who champions gender equality to condemn a person for doing something like that only to do it themselves.
..."


Only she didn't, did she?
I mean I can hardly imagine Rowling going 'round calling him a "Whore". :/


message 28: by James (new)

James Corprew Gerd wrote: "James wrote: "It just seems hypocritical to me for someone who champions gender equality to condemn a person for doing something like that only to do it themselves.
..."

Only she didn't, did she?
..."


https://twitter.com/jk_rowling/status...

From her tweets,

"If you can’t disagree with a woman without reaching for all those filthy old insults, screw you and your politics."

"I’m sick of ‘liberal’ men whose mask slips every time a woman displeases them, who reach immediately for crude and humiliating words "

"When you do this, Mr Liberal Cool Guy, you ally yourself, wittingly or not, with the men who send women violent pornographic images"

"and rape threats, who try by every means possible to intimidate women out of politics and public spaces, both real and digital."

"‘Cunt’, ‘whore’ and, naturally, rape. We’re too ugly to rape, or we need raping, or we need raping and killing."

As you can see she went and not only compared this guy to a rapist but also said he associated with it. Not only is she factually incorrect but its incredibly irresponsible on her part to label someone a rapist just because he called a woman a name. She is a hypocrite in this case because the very first tweet she states that if you cant disagree with someone without using insults than screw them. She clearly didnt heed her own advice.

Sorry Gerd, calling someone a rapist is far more derogatory than calling someone a whore. Not too mention i dont know ANYONE in my lifetime who has not lashed out at someone whether they knew them or not by name calling. While it isnt a great thing to call people names it does happen but to then associate that with a crime is just mind boggling on so many levels.


message 29: by Gerd (new)

Gerd | 428 comments James wrote: "As you can see she went and not only compared this guy to a rapist but also said he associated with it.

..."


Ah, no.
She said that when he uses a word like "Whore" against a women "you ally yourself, wittingly or not, with the men"

I would have totally to agree with her on that. The only thing I could take objection to is that she lowers herself to a similar standard when twittering "screw you and your politics."
But again, for the record, at no point it her postings shown above does she call him a rapist!


message 30: by James (new)

James Corprew Gerd wrote: "James wrote: "As you can see she went and not only compared this guy to a rapist but also said he associated with it.

..."

Ah, no.
She said that when he uses a word like "Whore" against a women ..."


Disagree entirely.

When she uses the words "You ally yourself: that is totally throwing him in the same crowd. We just have to agree to disagree. And yes, she did lower herself to the very same standard, we agree on that.


message 31: by Deborah (new)

Deborah Ann (darkmatterrevealed) | 1 comments My view is that the spirit of this piece by Mayim is in solidarity with those victims of Weinstein's abuse. Attacking Mayim by parsing her words and assuming she meant x or y is not very feminist of people. Being a feminist means having compassion for other women and their choices including their choices in terms of the words they choose. Rather than attacking, enquiries of Mayim serve better our feminist principles.


message 32: by B.G. (last edited Oct 22, 2017 11:00AM) (new)

B.G. Waite | 1 comments Re: Use of 'whore'

How to unpack this.

First is the qualitative difference. Use of the words 'whore' and 'cunt' and likely 'bitch' are qualitatively different than other insults. Call the speaker liberal, stupid, soft, fascist, heartless, clueless, whatever. That attacks their position, not their person.

Use of the others attack their person, specifically the fact that they are female. They imply because you are female, you don't even deserve to express an opinion. Your position is invalidated because you're female. I don't even have to argue with you because you're automatically wrong, because of your gender. Cunt is tied to gender, whore is tied to gender and the unequal power balance frequently inherent in prostitution.

They fall into the same category as 'nigger,' and all the other deliberately derogatory words reserved for this purpose (chink, spic, kike, dyke, fag, etc). They all carry the connotation that you are worth less than me, by accident of your (and my) birth, and your thus your opinion is inherently worth less as well. You are automatically wrong, even if you're right.

Women have the added burden of threats of rape or killing, or oddly enough the weird combination of both (I'll rip off your head and f**k ..... whatever piece.

So, have you ever been threatened with dismemberment and necrophilia for expressing your opinion? Do people jump right to death threats against you instead of debate and argument? Does your gender/race invalidate your position and invite hatred of your gender/race rather than your position? Likely not.

Second is the fact that in western culture there is no equivalent word to use on a white male. White male is the default that all things are compared to and subjected under. The power imbalance includes legal, financial, social, but under it all, always is the threat of violence, protected by the legal, financial, social imbalance. White males suffer less violence against them, and if they are the perpetrators they suffer less punishment. I cannot find a word that would cause the same effect on a white male that any of the other words cause on their target groups. Bastard and dick might have the same grammatical equivalence, but nowhere near the impact.

Third is the path. At the far end of the path is actual rape, violence, and murder against women. The first few steps are the use of cunt and whore, and all the other derogatory thoughts, words, and deeds reserved specifically for women. It is only the first few steps, but you cannot say it is not on the path. Deliberate or not, they are on that path, and stepping on that path is what, wittingly or not, allies them in whatever small fashion with those farther on that path.

The unwittingly is the important part in this discussion. It is not for you as the user of the word(s) to say it didn't really count. Pull a gun and wave it at someone while verbally threatening them, and that's assault with a deadly weapon. The defense that you didn't know or didn't really mean it doesn't count at all. The intent is considered inherent in the act. The test is that a reasonable person would have felt threatened, not that you really did or didn't mean it.

In this case, the reasonable people are the women who have had these things done/said to them, and they say cunt and whore are qualitatively different than other insults, and are on the continuum of violence towards women.

So now we know (how is it we didn't?), and using them implies you mean it.

And to be clear, she never said rapists. She said people who send violent pornographic images, threats of violence, and threats of rape. The next couple of steps on the path, and being that much closer the link should that much easier to see. So the point of moral equivalence doesn't hold up. Even if she did make the comparison to an actual rapist, one cannot make the claim that calling a man a rapist has the same impact on him that calling a woman a cunt or a whore has on her. There is not the decades if not centuries of cultural baggage attached. Try it on the next male and female friend you meet and see.

Lastly, nothing is neat, tidy, and unconnected from everything else. Could she have done all this privately, yes, but it would have lost the impact of the platform. (Why are we so interested in not hurting his feelings after he publicly called someone a whore? When did unfollowing someone become too harsh?) Education of the one person may not be the point, rather the education of the rest of us. Should sex workers feel slighted? Different for us here in America where it's overwhelmingly illegal, but the connotations of the word 'whore' as opposed to sex worker or prostitute remain. After carefully reading her actual tweets, I do not feel that she lowered herself to his level at all, she is pointing out how low the level of using 'whore' actually is.

Just some thoughts, certainly not all there could be, and certainly many will disagree.

Thanks.


message 33: by James (new)

James Corprew B.G. wrote: "Re: Use of 'whore'

How to unpack this.

First is the qualitative difference. Use of the words 'whore' and 'cunt' and likely 'bitch' are qualitatively different than other insults. Call the speaker..."


Yea, totally disagree with you but thanks for the input.


message 34: by Leslie (new)

Leslie (lesliejean43) | 88 comments I absolutely agree with B.G.!! Thank you.


message 35: by Ana Paula (new)

Ana Paula (anapaulacordeiro) | 46 comments B.G. wrote: "Re: Use of 'whore'

How to unpack this.

First is the qualitative difference. Use of the words 'whore' and 'cunt' and likely 'bitch' are qualitatively different than other insults. Call the speaker..."


As soon as I read this thread that old knot on my throat started to tighten, the spot that feels sorely constricted by injustice and bias and oppression and unfairness. I have vast vistas of room for improvement when it comes down to articulating a concise and clear response when this knot tightens - in fact I think it is no less than a virtue, this capacity of expressing the weight and power of the emotion generated by hypocrisy and by cruelty.

In this regard, I think Rowling's thread was superb. She verbalized her feelings with accuracy and made her case with characteristic intelligence, while speaking with a voice that, like mine, like ours, gets coarse with emotion against brutalization. That is a tone that can be heard, and can be felt, way past the point of eye-scanning-fast-scrolling, way more powerful than the little traps human minds create to protect their comforts and habits.

B.G,, thank you. Your unpacking was crystal clear, universal, encompassing and informative. It helped a lot to loosen up the knot on my throat, and to make me feel once again that typing is indeed more productive than clutching my fists.
Thank you.


message 36: by Pam (last edited Nov 11, 2017 07:49AM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Ok. In Post Weinstein world we are seeing the backlash against figures like Louis C K and Kevin Spacey who are now being fired from shows. And previous projects are also decreasing their support for these men.

Popular figures like Finn Wolfhard and Terry Crews are also distancing themselves from agents who may be equally abusive.

Additionally the Reddit sub group: "incels,” or men who blame women for their involuntary celibacy, has been banned from the site. While this might not be the first group ever banned, it is a strong move to stop hate from spreading in public forums.

And at first after reading about Spacey and CK, my mind goes immediately to ah crap I like these artists. And by blocking the incel group we will also bring about a cry about free speech and all that.

But you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. If we want the world to change than examples will be made of those who go against it.


message 37: by Gerd (last edited Nov 11, 2017 03:48AM) (new)

Gerd | 428 comments Pam wrote: "And at first after reading about Spacey and CK, my mind goes immediately to ah crap. Blocking the incel group will also bring about a cry about free speech and all that. ..."

Not sure who those people are, but the name suggests that nobody will miss their voices on the internet ...


I always thought that I was long overdue that the Filmindustry stopped siding with sexual abusers.


message 38: by James (new)

James Corprew Pam wrote: "Ok. In Post Weinstein world we are seeing the backlash against figures like Louis C K and Kevin Spacey who are now being fired from shows. And previous projects are also decreasing their support fo..."

It definitely seems that the industry is on the warpath. I read yesterday that George Takei is now facing charges of sexual harassment. Looks like Hollywood is starting to clean house.


message 39: by James (new)

James Corprew I like how Gadot is taking a stance on her WW character here. She is making a statement that ridding the industry of sexual offenders out weighs the money she could make portraying a popular comic book character. Good for her!

https://pagesix.com/2017/11/11/gal-ga...

“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot is continuing to battle accused Hollywood sexual harasser Brett Ratner by refusing to sign for a super­hero sequel unless the movie-maker is completely killed from the franchise.

A Hollywood source tells Page Six that Gadot — who last month backed out of a dinner honoring Ratner, where she was due to present him with an award — is taking a strong stance on sexual harassment in Hollywood and doesn’t want her hit “Wonder Woman” franchise to benefit a man accused of sexual misconduct."
"


message 40: by Ross (new)

Ross | 1444 comments James wrote: "I like how Gadot is taking a stance on her WW character here. She is making a statement that ridding the industry of sexual offenders out weighs the money she could make portraying a popular comic ..."

great news women of power helping abused people by stopping abusers. Now lets see how long the studio takes to react


message 41: by James (new)

James Corprew Yikes.... i wonder if EW is still going to be a fan of this guy after this.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/...

"The British singer Morrissey defended both Kevin Spacey and Harvey Weinstein in an interview this weekend, claiming their alleged victims knew “exactly” what was going on — and chose to “play along.”

“Afterward, they feel embarrassed, or they do not like it,” Morrissey said while speaking to the German news outlet Der Spiegel.

“And then they turn it around and say: I was attacked, I was surprised, I was dragged into the room.”

Spacey and Weinstein have each been accused of sexual harassment by more than a dozen men and women. The Hollywood heavyweights are scrambling to find supporters as more and more people come to the defense of their alleged victims.

Morrissey, however, is apparently in both men’s corner — calling the claims against Spacey “ridiculous” and blasting the countless women who’ve come forward and publicly named Weinstein as their abuser."


message 42: by James (new)

James Corprew Keith wrote: "The cynic in me remembers that Morrissey has an album to promote."

I get what you are saying and there are entertainers and other public figures who will say things to generate attention when trying to interest into a project they have. But i cant imagine this is a good way of going about it nor very helpful for the victims in these cases. I agree with you that Morrissey has always been a guy who beats to his own drum but this certainly caught me off guard.


message 43: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments In the whole Harvey Weinstein affair, I think the points of this article are really important to remember:
We must not forget that perpetrator and victim/survivor come from every ethnicity, every sexuality and every gender. It is not just a white, cis-hetero issue.


Content warning:
description of sexual assault and violence

https://wearyourvoicemag.com/lgbtq-id...


message 44: by Pam (last edited Dec 01, 2017 02:27PM) (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
Powerful, Thank you for adding this. I know lately I have come in other threads to say that women are capable of sexual violence. And it didn't even dawn on me to include tales of queer or non-binary violence.

“To be exclusionary when it comes to thinking about and dealing with survivors of rape and sexual violence is to deny large swaths of people recognition for their suffering and trauma"

It's not pleasant to peel back a curtain and expose humanity at it's worse. There are some unspoken truths we do not want to admit. Some glimmer of hope that one group of us figured how to do it correctly that we just don't want to squash. But to allow this to stay hidden does negate victims suffering.

Thank you. I think.


message 45: by MeerderWörter (new)

MeerderWörter | 2388 comments Pam wrote: "Powerful, Thank you for adding this. I know lately I have come in other threads to say that women are capable of sexual violence. And it didn't even dawn on me to include tales of queer or non-bina..."

"Memory is a motherfucker" Oh yes, it is.

No, it's not plesant to peel back that curtain, but we have to. Otherwise we fail all of them, and we can't do that.


message 46: by James (new)

James Corprew Actor Geoffrey Rush is the latest to have a complaint lodged against him.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-02...


message 47: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
And another one. The women who spoke up have been named as the Time's Persons of the Year.

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.timein...


message 48: by Pam (new)

Pam | 1086 comments Mod
And now this. Comedian Aziz Ansari has also been accused of misconduct. https://babe.net/2018/01/13/aziz-ansa...
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertain...

1) What constitutes as sexual assault in a post #MeToo era?
Was this a hook up that didn't work out or was it sexual assault?
2) If Aziz's case considered assault, then is there a difference between him, James Franco, Louis CK, or Weinstein?
3) If it wasn't considered assault did "Grace's" (the woman's Pseudo-name) tale throw the whole #MeToo movement into disarray?
4) Did race play into this?
5) Did age play into this?
6) In a post-#MeToo world, who has the power?


message 49: by Michaela (new)

Michaela (yuvilee) | 124 comments I think you raised some important and really difficult questions Pam. While reading the arricle i felt a mix of emotions that is difficult to describe.
If the story happened exactly as described, which i will assume for now, there are still different points...
If Ansari realized her discomfort and still continued, then i'd call it assault. If he really misread the signals, then its moreof a question of consent, or rather how it's defined.
A while ago i read an article about a man who described a very similar situation (i'll try to find that again). He met a woman, they had sex, he thought everything to be okay until she burst into tears and said he had just raped her. He wanted to storm out, but decided against it, talking to her instead to find out where everything went wrong. They talked till she felt better. Since then he always asks women if they want to continue, if they want to have sex, if they still feel comfortable etc. And most of the women are astonished by that because it never happened before.

I think that's where the discussion should lead. The incident happened, Grace felt assaulted even though Ansari did not feel as if assaulting her.
The media uses it to talk about blame, instead of looking for an answer to the problem, because that sells better. I think consent has to be redefined, from passive to active. And that that is the mission in a post #metoo world.

(also i hated the parts about how he should have known better because he is a famous actor. I don't know how this makes anyone a more sensitive person. And yeah, i think race does play a part here)


message 50: by Michaela (new)

Michaela (yuvilee) | 124 comments The article i mentioned: http://boodaism.com/permission/
I think it's really important to talk about consent and not assume that the other person will realize your cues.


« previous 1
back to top