There are new allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and as I read, I sit here shaking. More women. so many women. The new piece is devastating, for its indictments of rape culture to its indictments of Hollywood culture.
I think about the culture in the film industry, and I get angry about the lore of the “Hollywood casting couch.” Did any woman ever willingly get on that couch? Even if they gave consent to the encounter, how is it truly consensual when, if you don’t do it, you don’t get the part, the career, or even just the cab fare home? And how can we blame any woman who turns to trading sex for income, work, status when for centuries, it is the only thing we have had that has been deemed a valuable commodity? Certainly our intellect, our art, our words, our contributions to culture have had nowhere near the value of a pair of breasts and a shaved vulva. Living in a world where you have traditionally had so little power or agency means being exploited for the one thing you do have.
I hate that the news is flooded with these stories, but I can’t get away from them. Look at how Hugh Hefner was lauded upon his passing last month. “A pioneer,” a legend,” “an icon.” For selling women. And for selling a vision of sexual freedom, but only for men. He is a huge part of the culture that Weinstein blamed in his initial response to the first round of allegations, the one where he cited that “it was a different time.”