The Harvey Weinstein Scandal is Neither Surprising Nor Unique

By Maddie Allard

IG: @bad__elyn

It seems that we’re at a point that we’re starting to scrape the off the gum that’s been stuck on the bottom of our shoe for ages.

But why did we ignore that gum? Were we lazy? Did we not notice? Or is it because the gum is actually an increasing list of powerful men who have used their positions to take advantage of the women underneath them and we’re fed up.

This is beyond the exhausted excuse of “well back then times were different.” We need to acknowledge the fact that women grew up with these instances normalized. We learn young to judge women at the top, assuming they slept their way to the top. We get told to give that guy we’re not attracted to a chance. Wearing the wrong outfit means going home for being “distracting.”

Around October 4th, the Times “broke” the news that Harvey Weinstein is a sexual predator. Hollywood was ‘shocked,’ Republicans cried “hypocrite” at Democrats, and starlets came out of the woodwork. Let’s be honest for a second. Nobody was actually caught by surprise by this news. This was another open secret that everyone knew but was too afraid to do anything about.

Suddenly everyone’s outraged and speaking out. Some are hypocrites, keeping silent instead of protecting those around them. Others feel like a million-ton weight has lifted off of their shoulders. After years of fear, they’re finally able to open up about what happened to them without repercussion.

Harvey Weinstein is not unique. Women in Hollywood have been abused by the men in charge since its beginning. Marilyn Monroe is still seen as a sex symbol as opposed to a woman with an inflicted pill addiction. Judy Garland is our darling from Kansas whose real life was ripped to shreds by Hollywood execs.

Then there are the men that are openly abusive and suffered hardly any repercussions; Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Mike Tyson, Roman Polanski, Louis CK, Sean Connery, Anthony Weiner, John Lennon, R Kelly, Cee Lo Green, Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Chris Brown, Nicholas Cage, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Eminem, Michael Fassbender, Tommy Lee, Johnny Depp, Christian Slater, Vanilla Ice, Terrence Howard, OJ Simpson, and Bobby Brown are just the tip of an immense iceberg.

Are you uncomfortable reading some of these names? Do you refuse to believe that some of those named above actually did what they’re accused of? Are some of them your favorite actor, singer, President?

The thing is, by holding these men up to certain ideals and refusing to believe their victims is harmful. If nobody’s going to believe Louis CK’s victims, who will listen to the intern who got awkward massages from her boss?

Harvey Weinstein is not unique, and what he did is not shocking. Our own President is an admitted sexual predator and probable rapist. It was only a year ago that tapes leaked of him bragging about assaulting women. Unless you’ve been in a coma for a year, you know he still became president. Our world suffers from an epidemic. One that includes a lack of understanding of the basics of consent or respect for women*.

These issues are finally coming to light, however, is a step in the right direction. The louder victims’ voices are allowed to be; the more other victims will feel safe enough to speak out. When justice is served, potential abusers will learn to know better than abuse. And if they still think they have a right to our bodies, we will feel empowered enough to put them in their place.

In the meantime, here are some simple ways to support the victims of men like Harvey Weinstein:

  1. Believe them.
  1. Listen to them.
  1. Refuse to support known abusers and their work.

See you at the next “scandal.”

*This is not an attempt to minimize the fact that men can be victims and women can be predators.