Most of us know what these hashtags are, and the unspeakable vileness that led to them trending in the first place. And we also know that Harvey Weinstein is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to powerful men abusing women and being allowed to continue their disgusting behaviour for years, while the women who speak out are punished.
There is almost nothing on this Earth that is more wrong.
But we also face a dilemma. For example: Pirates of the Caribbean. Entertaining films. Humorous pirates. Amazing special effects. But the franchise also stars Johnny Depp, a man accused of abusing Amber Heard for years.
Then there’s Woody Allen. The famous director who has helped create some of the most critically-acclaimed films ever who has also been accused of sexually violating his adoptive daughter. He claims he feels “sad” for Harvey Weinstein – a man alleged to have sexually harassed and assaulted dozens of women for decades – and he worries that the wave of testimony from brave women will lead to a “witch hunt atmosphere”.
And let’s not forget the countless other powerful men in Hollywood whose careers have been undamaged despite accusations of harassing or abusing women. Roman Polanski. Ben Affleck. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Steven Seagal. R Kelly. The list goes on. And on. And on. And on.
Ad infinitum, seemingly.
Which begs the question: should we boycott Hollywood films until these awful men are punished for their actions, and women stop being abused and are actually seen as equal human beings?
Of course, it’s also not easy to simply boycott an industry that is more a part of our lives than almost any other. Not everyone felt participating in #WomenBoycottTwitter was the right thing to do, and that’s their choice. Likewise, boycotting the entire film and entertainment industry is unlikley to be something everyone would agree with.
But what we can all agree on is this: we’re dealing with a system that rewards powerful men who are abusers, and punishes victims. There are no simple solutions to fixing the problem – which, if the past couple of weeks have revealed anything, is enormous – overnight. But we must do something.
We can start by celebrating and spending our valuable time and money on empowering entertainments – preferably those starring, directed by or produced by women. Instead of watching Ben Affleck in Daredevil, why not catch Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman? Instead of binge-watching Marco Polo (which was produced by The Weinstein Company) on Netflix, why not Jenji Kohan’s Orange Is The New Black? Or Jill Soloway’s Transparent? Or one of Shonda Rhimes’ powerhouse shows? Or listening to an artist like Beyoncé instead of Chris Brown? They may sound like minor adjustments, but it’s a start.
And while we’re at it, we should think twice about paying to see the work of people who have been repeatedly accused of abuse. Harvey Weinstein was allowed to get away with his sick behaviour because people looked the other way.
Let’s put our money where our eyes are. We’re watching you, Hollywood. And we don’t like what we see.Support Villainesse