Each day another revelation and another story of Sexual Harassment as if it is a new toy in which is hot one on the Christmas must list. At one point we get it we really do but we go on with the idea that no rock is left unturned, no story not sordid, no excuse or apology left behind.
Well on Sunday we did one apology and that was from the beast that began this Tsunami, Harvey Weinstein, with regards to Uma Thurman who has finally shared her story of abuse and exploitation at the hands of the men who propelled her career, Weinstein and Tarantino. I have never admired a woman more until I read her words but I am not holding her responsible as she believes she is for all that proceeded her. There were those before her and those after and she is just one of many of a sick predator who was enabled, protected and secure that he was not wrong in his actions.
The same goes for Larry Nassar who actually had the sick audacity to write up a Power Point presentation about molestation and present that to a a Law Enforcement Officer as validation that his actions were medical of nature. What is also says is again how law enforcement sees said accusations as a Police Officer is not a medical Doctor nor a Woman nor an expert on assault of a child despite the uniform. At one point why a presentation actually created by the perpetrator was acceptable evidence of innocence speaks volumes right there. Then we have the reality that Donald Trump may be right of the ineffectiveness of the FBI as they delayed any investigations into Nassar for over two years largely it appears over territorial domain issues. Good to know that the Subway dude however was off the streets ASAP. It was also during that time they were shown "videos" of his "treatments" which in light of what we know are akin to child pornography and yet nothing was done. Well not totally true as Nassar kept his hands busy.
Imagine a murderer getting up showing a YouTube of him killing his victim but saying the light and sound makes it impossible to tell it's him and he has edited,, written, directed and lit the video to ensure that explanation. This should cut experts right out of their money making trial business. Sure not getting an expert, a medical professional or even a woman to review said power point and interview the Doctor was just too unnecessary as what does a 17 year old know about medical procedures. Well clearly more than the Cop (who did apologize).
Then we had the article on a Activist who was the founder of a criminal justice reform movement and, who despite being in prison for decade, s seemed to have the Harvey Weinstein/Louis CK handbook down pat, the exposing oneself, masturbating and professing undying support for their professional growth towards women who were drawn to the purpose of the movement but their professional growth was not what he was interested in; however, it was tied to the growth of his penis. I am not excusing nor justifying his behavior but this was a man in prison who upon release was truly willing to transform and do something for those in similar situations. I also believe that in prison one is not learning how to control, master his own domain or understand the needs of women. Well it appears apparently men who have never been in prison do either but in this case I am willing to say that he needs help and support and that he is one who should be given the opportunity to seek forgiveness and understanding. Again he was an advocate of due process and he too deserves as such.
This was followed by another article with regards to the music industry and their reckoning which is ironic just coming off the Grammy's. This of course followed the idiotic remarks by the head of the Grammy organization who said that in order for women to win more of the awards and be acknowledged in the ceremony performances that “women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level” need to “step up". I would like to step up and kick him in the nuts is that creative enough for you?
At this point how many Bono's does a Grammy presentation make? A lot. He and Sting should have just sat on the stage in rotating chairs and given thumbs up or down if they agreed with the awards that Bruno Mars was receiving. Sort of Star Search meets American Voicing the Idol. Oscar so white? Grammy so old.
And lastly the story about the resignation by the CEO of the Humane Society. He sure proved he was capable of acting like a dog. At first the Board supported him with my personal observation by a Board Member who said this:
Explaining the board’s decision to retain Mr. Pacelle after an hours-long telephone meeting, one board member, Erika Brunson, 83, said in an interview that she was aware only of what she called a “ridiculous” old accusation against him regarding an alleged affair.
She said Mr. Pacelle had “done nothing wrong.”
I can't wait to turn 83 and say utterly inappropriate ignorant remarks but this again shows how we as women are not as in touch or aware or supportive of those who elect to say no is no.“Which red-blooded male hasn’t sexually harassed somebody?” she added. “Women should be able to take care of themselves.” On Friday, Ms. Brunson resigned from the board.
I am trying right now to come to terms with the current indiscretion by the Mayor of Nashville. Frankly two old middle aged people banging is a Craigslist post but then again that is what middle aged people do to put some juice in their mundane lives. I did it when single and frankly Tinder is not something I would do now but this is now and that was then and in my day if you cheated it was with someone you knew and usually worked with so there you go. In today's climate this shit may be coming to a head and not giving it as who needs a lawsuit or a hashtag after your name.
I have no problem with the woman fucking any of her colleagues, if it was consensual, she was not their superior and in turn had nothing to do with keeping their jobs, affecting their work or performance reviews. Well their work performance. Fucking one's boss is not a good idea, been there done that been fired for it.
I too was a Monika Lewinsky in the day and thought it would be fine that the boundaries between work and play are just that. No they are lines in an invisible sand and once that box is open, Pandora's or otherwise you are fucked without dinner. But again when you are 24 years old and living in San Diego as I was and this was an older black man who seemed so interested in me and was flattering what did I know I was having Jungle Fever maybe? I have no clue but I worked at Nordstrom at the time in the mall, I wanted to live a California Dreaming life style and was good at Sales. I stared at the Nordstrom mall at Southcenter and sold Children's Shoes. I was good, really good and the chance to transfer and be independent from my Parents and live elsewhere was an ideal. I made mistakes, I got fired and I came home, burned and confused. It was decades later when I understood what happened and in turn I got what Uma said in her interview, you don't know until you do and it affects all decisions and relationships thereafter, both working and professional ones.
So for years I worked only for women - women owned business - Parker Personnel and for Women bosses - two whom come to mind Janelle Keating and Wanda Judd. Two of the most disparate women I have ever met and the one who has the same name and if not the character turned out to be the best boss I have ever worked for and one of the nicest women I have known. Janelle, who reminds me of Hillary Clinton (as she acted like a Princess but was ultimately a bitch) was fucking our boss despite that her husband was also employed by the bank at the time, People's Bank. I have little good to say about Janelle as she was a massive bitch, crappy boss and basically did nothing to help my career or my professional growth. Her inability to mentor pushed me out of the bank and I drifted professionally into Teaching a few years later thinking at least I would be in a place of my own domain. Some of that is true but Education is anything but supportive or professional. You need Rhino skin to survive and as tough as I am it took Nashville to finally break me. There is something here that just is tragic and it may explain country music or the Mayor. I do my best to keep my distance here. I have too many wounds of my own that need healing.
And this is why I laugh at Women as if this is a new Sisterhood has suddenly occurred in which to embrace and support one another. I have never experienced it nor actually seen it first hand. I marched in Women's marches, have long called myself a Feminist but in reality women can share one tale of horror over another about working with women and form them. I have heard of said places I believe they are few and far between. I have worked with and for many women, women of color, of sexuality and of educational achievement and there is one thing I have learned - women are cunts. And that may explain why men only see that.
Women you raise men. Just a thought. What do you do when you have no man in the household in which to model and teach those skills and lessons about what defines a man? Let us be honest the term "single mother" is a slut shame, a slur and another way to demonize a woman. So when you have son's how to you model gentlemanly behavior? Do you provide it via sports and clearly that is a whopping failure or do you demonstrate it via the men whom you choose to invite into your home as the Vampires they are? I certainly did not have any role models when it came to healthy happy personal productive relationships when it came to either work or home. My parents were blue collar workers, my Mother abused and abusive, my Father an alcoholic and abusive and both insatiable unable to ever sit still and be alone. A skill I mastered as my Father loved news and read many journals and magazines. Not truly handy but from him I got the idea one needs to be. And my Mother, she utterly witty and sarcastic and stylish. Both had taste and it was uniquely their own and both had amazing senses of humor; however, they were not in sync with each other in the least. I miss them for the good things they brought into my life but I have long passed the time of reckoning or blaming them for mistakes made long past.
I live in the moment and from the past I know what did not work so as not to repeat in the future. We are nowhere near that with regards to the #MeToo movement. Fingers are pointed, blame is to be made and the reality is that we have no clue how to fix it. Put it on the list after Racism and Immigration. See ya in 50 years! Oh wait I'll be dead.
There are always shouts at this point: "There should be a law!" Only to find out they already exists but thanks to Victim rights groups and others sometimes there is a change. This editorial in today's New York Times believes so. I beg to differ. And this from yesterday's CBS This Morning shows we don't all agree.
So what is Feminism? Ask and Old Feminist and ask a New one you will get two very different answers.
It was the journalist Julia Baird who wrote on Twitter: “YOUNG FEMINISTS: What do you think older feminists don’t understand or get exactly right, or just might miss about #metoo, if anything? Am curious to hear.”
By: Van Badham
Baird’s question appears in the context of high-profile disagreements about #MeToo between some young and older feminists. A few weeks ago, French actor Catherine Deneuve and 100 co-signatories of a letter claimed #MeToo was fostering a “new Puritanism” – a position from which she has since somewhat backed away. Since then, a widely-reported interview with Germaine Greer has appeared, in which the Australian feminist accused the #MeToo movement of “whingeing”
There is – of course, and as always – more nuance to Greer’s position than her gruff soundbites suggest. Greer’s analysis remains one of unequal power between the genders and the patriarchal structure and domination of power systems such as the law. In the context where “powerful men ... are already briefing their lawyers”, her stated fear is that “the women who have given testimony now will be taken to pieces”.
Her anxiety here is not unique. But those women already feel taken to pieces also by Greer, who said: “if you spread your legs ... it’s too late now to start whingeing about that.”
Greer and the Deneuve group are #notallolderfeminists. Baird’s question, however, is a useful means to explore not only some contrast in inter-generational feminisms, but the vast experiential differences between the generations themselves.
The Deneuve/Greer analysis originates from a period in which having casual sex, multiple partners and sex outside of marriage were acts in defiance of old patriarchal taboos. We forget, in the west, just how transformative the past few decades have been.
Consider that when Deneuve appeared onscreen as the curious bourgeois sexual day-labourer in 1967’s Belle Du Jour, representations of sex itself were considered so scandalous that Britain was still operating under full theatre censorship. In Australia, sexy books like Lady Chatterley’s Lover were subject to an import ban. On American television, even married couples on TV sitcoms were depicted in separate beds.
Sexual freedom has become another realm of women’s experience for patriarchy to conquer.
The right for women to escape the passive sexual role obliged of them by culture – the imperative to do so in the cause of women’s liberation – is at the heart of Greer’s demands in her 1970 manifesto, The Female Eunuch. In the world the book depicts of the lonely housewife “staring at the back of her husband’s newspaper”, a realised female sexuality is a militant act of revolt.
The restrictions placed on female agency at the time – especially through the institution of marriage, which women entered younger and were less enfranchised to leave than now – are staggering to imagine. Only in 1965 did married women in France obtain the right to work without their husbands’ consent. In Australia, married women could not apply for passports without their husband’s approval until 1983. Britain did not make marital rape illegal until 1991.
For feminists who survived those generations, it must seem extraordinary to have battled at such risk for liberation to hear younger women discuss sexual contracts, a desire for boundaries, a wish not to be sexualised by men in their lives. Given the emergence of their generation from socially-enforced cocoons of sexual repression, where actual laws existed to culturally erase women’s sexuality, it must look like regress to older women.
But what has happened in the intervening decades is that sexual freedom has become another realm of women’s experience for patriarchy to conquer. As soon as older feminists had won sexual liberation, patriarchy reframed it as sexual availability for men. Writer David Quinn was actually having a pop at #MeToo feminism in The Times when he stumbled onto an eloquent truth: “The only sexual rule today is ‘consent’, and men have been taught that women are potentially always sexually available because that is what ‘liberation’ means.”
Where once the patriarchal structures of cultural production were censorious of women’s sexuality in film, art, literature, now the depiction of it is hypersexualised and explicit – but the structures of production remain just as patriarchal.
The flipside to the destigmatisation of sex for women has been a sense of patriarchal entitlement to sex with women, which is why the painful conversation about consent in our new era of “freedom” must be confronted. One in 10 women, as opposed to one in 70 men, report they’ve been coerced into sex, the vast majority by an intimate partner.
Those doubting the assumptions informing the delicate and dangerous reality of the new sexual era need only read the studies quoted in Lili Loofbourow’s recent chilling analysis in The Week: the price of male pleasure is indeed the value of female pain.
And ubiquitous female sexualisation has manifested a reality in which young women find themselves in unwittingly sexualised situations all the time. Young women are right to feel that destigmatised sex has enhanced their traditional patriarchal status as sex objects, not liberated them from it.
Joan Bakewell on feminism in the 1970s: ‘Might a woman read the news?’ I asked. ‘Absolutely not’
“To all the grown men out there,” CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins was obliged to instruct in the wake of another GOP sexual harassment scandal last week, “the younger women who work for you don’t want to date you; do not want to be your soul mate; do not want to go to icecream with you; do not want to be your partner.”
Is it the pervasiveness of these assumptions and the lived reality of their consequences that, perhaps, some of our feminist antecedents don’t understand? If we know the power systems that exist are gendered, unequal and unfair, it’s idealism or madness to forget that they yet dog our beds and jobs too.
They will until the systems themselves are upended and transformed. We need an army to do it. #MeToo has enabled a moment of global feminist awakening. YOUNG FEMINISTS, OLDER FEMINISTS – let’s apply our empathy and analysis to one another in both generational directions to keep moving forward.
The patriarchal backlash is already mobilising its lawyers, and defenders. The fight ahead wants unity, not a failure to either remember women’s past, or apply imagination to their present.