Okay, so quick recap:
If you are a woman and have been in a room with Harvey Weinstein at any point over the last 20 years, then it’s likely that you have been pressured, pushed, manipulated, intimidated, literally chased, grabbed, groped, and bullied into compromising your safety and self-respect. Make no mistake, this man is a violent predator.
When the news broke, I remember feeling something along the lines of:
Mmhmm. Whhhaaat a prick. Yep.
As I scrolled down the list of known assaults, I began to get an image of Harvey Weinstein as a rhinoceros that had guzzled a crate of Viagra, and then gone charging through the world with a furious scaly rhino dong, grabbing women, demanding massages, ready to pop off into any wet hole or leafy cavity that happened to be in his path.
We’ve all met one of those bros. Am I right, ladies?
I’m not even going to touch Harvey Weinstein’s actual statement because that’s been so thoroughly eviscerated that I’m, like, good there. I feel like his worthless garbage apology, like “Meh meh meh, I grew up in the ’60s” (oh, you mean like fucking Mr. Rogers, you bag of angry dicks?) has been beaten with cudgels, set aflame, and then stomped into a fine ashy silt by a million screaming women and they were very thorough. There’s nothing more for me to do there.
What I want to talk about is how dudes are talking about this guy. The famous people comments and statements, plus just the general man approach on “the Harvey Weinstein scandal.”
Everyone’s so fucking shocked that Harvey Weinstein is a monster. There must be “two Harvey Weinsteins” according to Jeffrey Katzenberg! Holy shit, J. Katz blew the lid off this case. Two Harvey Weinsteins! He’s a master of illusion! It couldn’t possibly be the case that a wealthy white dude studio head has selective awareness of another wealthy white dude studio head’s shitty rape habit, because if he doesn’t look directly into the faces of the women who have been raped by the second wealthy white dude studio head, everyone can keep making lots and lots of money. No, no, you’re good, Jeff. You figured out a way to make sure you can’t possibly be blamed for this. Good job. Now all you have to do is leak your email to The Hollywood Reporter, leak that you anonymously donated some money to some rape charity somewhere, maybe the Lady Gaga one from the Oscars a couple years ago, and you’re golden.
Everyone’s so certain that this kind of behavior is unacceptable! Appalling! Nauseating! I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Thesaurus.com went dark in the hours after the Weinstein story broke, when all the publicists rushed to their laptops to find other words that mean “ew.”
Everyone has daughters! And sisters! And moms! And wives! Is that what it takes for a man to find sexual assault scary and disgusting? Having a daughter/sister/mom/wife? Sweet Lord, I would hate to see what those fucking Bradys were up to before they met that lovely lady we’ve heard so much about.
Here’s the story
of a man named Brady
who invited young girls to his room alone
He would answer the door
in a bathrobe
swinging a raging bone
All right boys
that settles it
Now that we’ve met these
are people too
Everyone good with that?
So just to clarify
just like men!
From this point on!
All of these men are just out there beating their chests at each other, like, bro, you hate rape? I hate rape too! We are good men.
They’re just at the top of their lungs expounding on the profound levels of shock and disgust and outrage, and fawning over the heroes who have come forward at great personal cost and vowing that they will speak up next time! I swear to God, if one more white-toothed millionaire tells me that he will never let this happen on his watch, I am going to start punching wieners.
I hear you.
You are shocked.
You have daughters.
You wish to express your outrage and solidarity with women.
You wish to let us know that you would protect us from harm.
You think Harvey Weinstein is a monster.
You proclaim that we must all do better for our women.
None of this is “incorrect.” These are all “right” answers. And I know you genuinely feel upset and angry and staggered at the scope of Weinstein’s crimes.
But I’m going to bring you into the inner circle right now, guys:
I don’t really believe you. None of us do.
We can’t afford to.
I know hundreds of nice guys, and I trust three men on this entire fucking earth.
Gentlemen, no matter how nice you are, how many lady friends you have, how happily married, how many daughters you have sired, and how many chick flicks you’ve watched and then said, “Hey, that was actually pretty good,” 99.9% of the women in your life are reserving about 10% of their opinion of you. We are waiting.
We are waiting for you to have too many drinks one night. We are waiting for you to compliment our new jeans in front of the boss at work. We are waiting for you to interrupt us and explain our experience back to us: “You weren’t actually catcalled. He just really liked your shirt.” We aren’t waiting because it’s fun or we’re crazy. But because it happens all the fucking time. We have to hang back a bit and wait for your inner-dirtbag to show himself because experience has shown us that he always fucking does.
So I believe that you mean everything you’re saying today. I believe you want to protect women from Harvey Weinstein. I believe you genuinely want a safer world for girls.
I just don’t believe you can be part of that safer world. Not yet. Not while you’re still shocked that Harvey fucking Weinstein is a piece of shitty, shitty shit.
OH, YOU’RE SHOCKED?
Really? Really. REALLY? Pay a-fucking-ttention, Chad. When you chew up 15 minutes of my day expressing your total-galloping-dumbfounded astonishment that the guy who every woman in Hollywood knew was a predator turned out to be a fucking predator, that tells me three things: 1) You don’t talk to very many women about what it’s like to be a woman, 2) you don’t listen to me, ever, and 3) you don’t believe women when they tell you that something feels creepy, off, or weird about Harvey.
Guarantee you this conversation happened about 40,000 times over the last 20 years:
Female Actress (FA): Hey, Harvey just asked me to meet in his hotel room tonight about the script.
Male Actor (MA): Oh, really?
FA: Yeah, did he ask you too?
MA: No… but I’m sure it’s fine.
FA: I don’t know. It feels a little weird.
MA: Listen, it’s Harvey Weinstein. I’m sure it’s fine.
FA: I guess, but, you know, you hear things.
MA: People love to talk about powerful guys. Everyone wants to take him down.
FA: Yeah, that’s true.
MA: You’re probably just nervous. This could be a great opportunity for you.
FA: You’re right.
Don’t be fucking shocked, Chad. Your shock might be your attempt to empathize with me. You might be trying to imagine how we women feel. Just look at these GIFs. These are women who walked on the street. The little boxes inside the screen are their loved ones watching what their experience was like. Look at our faces, Chad. All the lady faces. Do we look shocked to you?
Fuck no, we don’t look shocked. We look fucking tired. We look like this smells like the same shit stew that we have to stomach day in and day out, and you just walked into the room and you’re like…
Yeah, I know I fucking live here, dude.
You say you’re shocked to show me you’re on my team. But your shock shows me you aren’t on my team. Your shock asks me to comfort or reassure you. Your shock tells me that my life is something you don’t actually want to know about.
If you were on my team, you would be listening to me explain why I’M NOT FUCKING SHOCKED.
You’re calling for men to condemn this behavior when they see it? Okay, first of all, that’s a pretty low bar to clear. Obviously, in the wake of a sensational firing of a prominent and powerful man for sexual assault, what sane person is going to come out in favor of the behavior of repeatedly bullying and manipulating women into unwilling sexual…
Okay, besides the president of the United States. We all knew that one. That was a gimme.
Condemn this behavior when they see it? Bitch, please. You won’t see it. Not because Harvey Weinstein was a master of deception, but because he is rich and was powerful and you wanted something from him, and the thing you wanted from him mattered way more than whether he literally chased a young girl around the room and forced her to touch his penis and then she left Hollywood and gave up on her lifelong dream of acting because the experience was so humiliating and traumatic.
You think he’s a monster! I bet you sincerely do. I bet you really think that he’s an awful violent beast. Here’s the problem: When you call him a monster, you are creating distance between you and Harvey Weinstein. It gives you a sense of absolution that you have not earned — like, “Well, I’ve never lunged at a young woman and tried to stuff my hand up her skirt and into her vagina while she screamed and tried to run away. I’m obviously a feminist.” Or “I’ve never refused to work with someone because she refused to suck my dick. I am a friend to the ladies.” Or “I think rape is gross. Clearly, I’ve never hurt a woman.” False, Chad. False. False forever. False all over your face.
You need to take a deep breath and a hard look at your life, and you need to look for all of the places where you are exactly like Harvey fucking Weinstein. Because those places are there. Yes, in you, Matt Damon.
Have you ever felt entitled to a woman’s time or energy?
Have you ever talked over a woman co-worker or excluded her from a project because it would be easier socially without her?
Have you ever been annoyed when a woman caused a problem with a complaint against a co-worker?
Have you ever interrupted a woman?
Have you ever felt angry at her when she was direct with you?
Have you ever called your ex crazy?
Have you ever looked the other way when someone was being an asshole to a woman?
Just because you aren’t this particular brand of dirtbag doesn’t make you Maya fucking Angelou, Chad. You have misogyny in you. Everyone does. Every man in America can do better at respecting women, and I include in that statement literally every man in America.
If you want to be a friend to the ladies, stop being shocked. I seriously cannot get over everyone’s shock. Every time YOU’RE STILL FUCKING SHOCKED — it insults me.
Unless…did you just emerge from a time capsule like Brendan Fraser in Blast From the Past? Are we about to have a fucking malted and look at your mint-condition baseball cards together and fall in love in totally predictable beats? Have you seriously never heard of a public figure abusing women? Are you also flabbergasted at the sight of a goddamned magic key fob that unlocks all the car doors at the same time?
You can only be shocked once, guys. After that, you’re choosing to stick your head in the sand. After that, you are making the conscious choice to continue to default to believing men instead of listening to women when they tell you something’s up. Start listening to us. Believe us.
If you want to be a friend to the ladies, don’t tell me what you would have done if you’d been there. Don’t draw me like a fucking Super Bro comic book about how awesome you are at being awesome. Stop asking me to thank you for hypothetically saving me from something that hasn’t happened to me yet. Stop picturing my devastating violation so that you can check out how swole you look in your fantasy reel. It is fucked up. Stop it.
If you want to be a friend to the ladies, do not vow to fight anyone who tries to rape a woman in fucking front of you. That will probably never happen to you. What could easily happen to you, and definitely does, all the time, is you shit on your female co-worker, or your girlfriend/wife, or a woman in line at Starbucks. Vow to learn about common ways that “nice guys” unknowingly fuck up women’s days, and start to know when you do them, and then stop doing them. Not as fun as punching a dude and getting applause, I know. But it’s actually better for everyone. Swear to god it is.
If you want to be a friend to the ladies, Jeffrey Katzenberg, after you condemn Harvey Weinstein’s admitted bad behavior and establish that there have always been two Harvey Weinsteins…he’s seriously so method…nobody knew except every woman in Hollywood and a shitload of lawyers and the writers of 30 Rock, and Courtney Love, do not, I repeat though clenched teeth, do not offer to help spin the fucking situation:
“As someone who has been a friend of yours for 30 years, I’m available to give you advice on how to at least try to make amends, if possible address those that you’ve wronged, and just possibly find a path to heal and redeem yourself. Having watched your reactions, seen the actions you have taken and read your statement, I will tell you, in my opinion, you have gone about this all wrong and you are continuing to make a horrible set of circumstances even worse.”
That’s a piping hot gallon of hell no, JK. How about, instead:
“As someone who has been a friend of yours for 30 years, I am going to offer to hire every woman that you have ever hurt, in whatever capacity she would like. I will pull every string I have and make sure that every door is open to every single woman, and I will work tirelessly to ensure that that shackles you placed on these women’s careers will be removed, so help me God. I will tell you, in my opinion, that when I say that men need to step up and stand with these women, it means stepping the fuck up and standing with these fucking women, and that is the ONLY fucking thing I can do to keep from making a horrible set of circumstances even worse.”
How about that, Jeffy?
How about we stop trying to help the violent sociopath criminal, Jeff?
And it saddens me to report that Katzenberg isn’t the only Jeff who needs to take a long fucking walk in the woods.
Jeff Bridges, The Dude, one of my all-time faves, reportedly said, in a very dude way, “Talk about facing your fear, he’s gotta face his demons now. I wish him the best of luck with that, he needs to lean in and really face those things.”
Okay, for this next GIF, I’m the sheriff. Ready?
WHAT THE FUCK, THE DUDE? That is something you say about a guy with a heroin addiction, not something you say about the John Wayne Gacy of sexual assault.
The Dude. You The Dude. You were more angry about the fucking Credence tapes than you are about Harvey fucking Weinstein’s gross, and I mean that both ways, gross violations of unknown scores of women.
If it seems like I’m yelling at you, it’s because I’M YELLING AT YOU, READER.
I’M TIRED OF BEING FURIOUS ABOUT ANGRY, POWERFUL MEN. I’M READY TO NOT HAVE TO TEACH ANYONE HOW TO BELIEVE WOMEN’S VOICES. ALL I WANT TO DO IS BLOG ABOUT POTTY TRAINING, OKAY?! BUT THE WORLD WE LIVE IN FUCKING HATES ME AND WANTS TO MAKE SURE I KNOW THAT MY VOICE IS SHRILL AND IRRITATING AND LYING AND UNTRUSTWORTHY AND STUPID AND EMOTIONAL AND INCAPABLE OF KNOWING WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED TO ME, SO WE BETTER ASK THE GUY TO GET THE SCOOP.
THIS IS BULLSHIT. HARVEY FUCKING WEINSTEIN IS BULLSHIT, AND OUR SHOCK IS BULLSHIT, AND YOUR HERO FANTASY IS BULLSHIT, AND ALL OF OUR HOPES AND DREAMS AND PRAYERS FOR A BETTER TOMORROW ARE BULLSHIT.
Why are you waiting until next time to speak up and do right? We have a time right here. It’s now. LET’S GO.
So. To recap. Again.
The natural, instinctive response when you hear about Harvey fucking Weinstein:
1. He’s a monster (not like me).
2. I would have stopped it (because I’m a good guy).
3. I have daughters (so now this isn’t okay anymore).
4. We need to start building a better world and calling this out when we see it (although we don’t have to see it if it’s like really uncomfortable to see it).
5. I am shocked.
What we need your response to be when you hear about Harvey fucking Weinstein:
1. He’s manipulated his position of power to put women in positions of vulnerability where they couldn’t choose not to engage with him sexually without risking their careers or reputations. I need to work harder to become aware of my position of power, as a man, to make sure that I am not putting women in positions of vulnerability.
2. What can I do to support women who have suffered sexual assault? This conversation isn’t about how brave and strong I am, it’s about the challenges that women continue to face just existing in the world.
3. Sexual assault is a violent crime that is offensive to me as a human being, not because I am related to a person who is female.
4. I am going to work on my own awareness of how I benefit from systems that keep Harvey fucking Weinstein on top for 20 years while he rapes and assaults women. I’m going to work on dismantling those systems. It’s uncomfortable to see it, but I have to see it.
5. I listen to women. I believe them. I am not shocked.