The stomach-churning truth that has finally come to the surface in the last week regarding Harvey Weinstein and his predatory decades in Hollywood has been truly disturbing.
Thankfully, most are not defending this man.
The few who have (for example, designer Donna Karan) are quickly criticized and/or carefully clarifying their incendiary statements. He should get no support. This man harassed, assaulted, and raped women while wielding power like the entertainment god that he was.
In the days since the initial piece was published in The New York Times, much more has surfaced. Details have been filled in. Stories have been shared. Victims have come forward.
Ronan Farrow’s explosive piece in The New Yorker detailed what several of Weinstein’s victims went through. Most chilling of all is the almost two-minute recording taken during an NYPD sting in 2015. Weinstein is heard desperately pleading with Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez – who he had groped the day before – to join him in his hotel room. It is horrifying to listen to his near-breathless insistence that she place herself in a situation where he would forcibly take more from her. Thankfully, she got away.
The knee-jerk reaction to such an extensive and long-lasting sexual crime spree is to blame masculinity, femininity, or even the way women dress (thanks, Donna Karan) as the fuel which sparked such a vicious, sickening fire.
I understand the need to explain monstrous acts. The same type of desire burns within us following horrific violence, like what we saw in Las Vegas. Regardless of the urge to determine the source, we should not blame all of masculinity and each XY chromosomed individual roaming around. To do this is not only unfair, it is entirely incorrect.
Weinstein does not represent the whole of men just like Stephen Paddock doesn’t represent all gun owners.
Among the many roles a man has is that of protector. We have seen men fill this role countless times in society. Closer to home, we see it in the many good men who we have in each of our lives: fathers, brothers, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Harvey Weinstein was not the embodiment of masculinity; he was the antithesis of it.
A real man does not force himself upon/rape/assault/grope one woman, not to mention dozens and dozens of women in their lifetime. A real man does not view females solely as objects to obtain, conquer, and then discard. He views them with the respect and consideration they deserve. This is true whether a man is in the thick of the entertainment industry, surrounded by models and barely-legal actresses on a daily basis, or if they exist among us regular, but no less special, women.
Examples of true masculinity are either reinforced or shattered in childhood. Thankfully, I grew up in a home with loving parents. Each day I realize the blessing of this upbringing in a world where it is becoming increasingly rare. My father, a compassionate and strong man, exemplified true masculinity in the ways he cared for and tenderly loved his wife and three children. He showed it (and continues to show it) by helping the less fortunate, giving of his time to those who need it, protecting the weak, being respectful to everyone, treating women as a gentleman should, and providing for and sacrificing for his family.
Whether those desiring to push narratives want to admit it or not, these are more individuals like my exemplary father than there are Harvey Weinsteins.
Are there men who seek to harm others, especially through sexual domination? Of course. There always will be. However, they are not the norm nor are they representatives of masculinity.
I hope there is some sort of justice for Weinstein’s victims. I hope the perpetrator is held accountable for all he did. I also hope he gets the help he clearly needs to fully understand the seriousness of his twisted behavior.
We will never combat the Weinsteins of this world by punishing masculinity. Instead, our best defense against creating monsters like this is to support the honorable men in our lives (such as my exceptional father), be grateful for their influence, and train up the next generation to follow their lead and journey down the same path.