When Joss Whedon, Harvey Weinstein, and Nickelodeon’s Dan Schneider were outed as hypocritical misogynist predators, a lot of women were relieved: women in Hollywood who were putting up with these men because no one would listen to them, the friends who did listen and comfort these women — wondering how to help, and regular old Americans who always suspected that preachy Hollywood hashtag activists were full of crap.
And they are. I wrote a rather seedy novel a little while ago featuring this propensity. The language and scenes described are coarse and alarming because Hollywood is coarse and alarming. I wrote it with people I’d met and worked with in mind, with the stories of women I knew clanging in my head, adding dark humor here and there to make it palatable.
That the film industry is teeming with entitled sociopaths was of no surprise to any of us who live and work here, who’ve had even the briefest encounter with it. They cut us off on the freeway. They step in front of us in line, with coupons, and demand to see the manager (yes, even the ones worth millions of dollars).
They say whatever dismissive, explicit thing they want to us, because they can. Or rather, they could.
But not now.
Then the gleeful outing of politician after politician began. Nobody was safe, every beleaguered woman in America thought. Each one of us who’d ever been patted on the arse by a senator or even junior page would finally have her day. But that’s not really what’s happening, is it?
From the circle of theologically appalling wagons around Roy Moore to the creepy “but she’s a lingerie model” dismissals of Leanne Tweeden’s Al Franken experience, partisan politics is now creating partisan victimology. Apparently you don’t count if you’re the other side’s girl.
We can all unite in hatred of those smarmy Tinsel Town creeps, but the moment someone who’s championing our agenda in D.C. gets accused, we suddenly care what a woman was wearing or how long it took her to find the courage to speak up?
Even though it may seem like an avalanche of #MeToos — a deluge of women sick and tired of putting up with the garbage people in power — has been unleashed upon the land, let me assure you in no uncertain terms that there are still even more survivors of harassment and assault remaining dead silent. They are watching what you say about partisan victims, and they are sick to their stomachs, knowing it still isn’t safe to talk about what happened to them.
Even in this day and age of third wave feminism and social media tell-alls, there are more silent victims than soul barers. There are more women quietly throwing up every time they see a new story, and trembling with tears when their friends post something disparaging about a woman who speaks up — just because they don’t vote the same way.
Such folks clearly weren’t thinking before when they were making divisive political statements and posting inflammatory memes. What on Earth made me hope that now, when openness about sexual predation is finally en vogue, that anybody would put down partisan politics for five seconds to listen to victims?