By VennerRoad, 14th Oct 2017
The Harvey Weinstein scandal has caused outrage on both sides of the Atlantic, but not everyone is impressed with his accusers.
Harvey Weinstein with some of his “victims”
Unlike the Bill Cosby witch-hunt, which was based almost exclusively on his admittedly sordid sexual encounter with a much younger woman he was said to have “mentored”, there is powerful, credible evidence that Weinstein was abusing his position to proposition women. An audio tape released by the legal authorities in New York shows that on at least one occasion he crossed the line. The waters have been muddied by an admission that shortly after a potential case for indecent assault against him was dropped, his lawyer made a five figure donation to the campaign of the incumbent District Attorney.
That being said, touching a woman’s breast without her permission is one thing, rape is an order of magnitude more serious and then some. Among those who have accused him of rape is Rose McGowan. This is not an historical allegation because in 1997, he paid the actress a settlement of $100,000, but was she actually raped? Rape is a felony, and as such should be reported to the police, every time. So why didn’t McGowan dial 911? The usual claim here is that a woman is so traumatised by her experience that she can’t bring herself to be retraumatised, and anyway, why would the police believe her? This rape myth - for that is what it is - is parroted incessantly by the sisterhood. A reasonably intelligent, educated woman has absolutely no excuse for not reporting a rape. Consider the cases of two very young “women” who were facing far more dangerous predators than Harvey Weinstein.
In 2012, Brittney Baxter was just seven years old when she was the victim of a kidnap attempt in a Deep South store. The incident was captured on CCTV, including the moment she fought him off. More remarkable still was the presence of mind shown by the ten year old Juliana Ossa earlier this year when she was attacked by an even more dangerous predator. She was swimming in a Florida lake when an alligator grabbed her leg. If that had happened to wrestler John Cena, he would have considered himself lucky to escape with one leg, but Juliana remembered something she’d been told at Gatorland: an alligator breathes through its nose, so if it grabs your leg, shove two fingers up its nostrils, and it will have to open its mouth. She did, and so did the beast. Juliana escaped with ten stitches in her leg. Okay, this is one remarkable young lady, and yes, she did have a lucky escape, and yes, she does deserve a medal, but leaving all that aside, if a seven year old girl can fight off a potential child killer, and if a ten year old can fight off a nine foot alligator, can’t a grown woman put a man like Harvey Weinstein in his place? Apparently not! So what has really been going on here?
Weinstein may be a sleezeball, but he is also a walking caricature. The tale of the ingé&nue and the casting couch goes back to the birth of silent films, so even if his reputation was not that bad, why did so many women go to his apartment or hotel room unchaperoned? Among those who are skeptical about most of the claims against Weinstein is Paul Elam, who opines:
“Women in Hollywood don’t just dive onto the casting couch, they pick the fabric and the color that will make them their sexy best.”
If that sounds cynical, the question should be asked, why did only one woman file a contemporaneous police report against him? As a lawyer defending a man on a rape charge in 1950 said:
“Women are not helpless. They have a voice to scream with — teeth to bite with ‐ fingers to scratch with and feet to kick with”.
Harvey Weinstein is grossly overweight, all blubber, no muscle, yet not one of these damsels in distress sought to scratch his face or kick him where it hurts? That was not always the case. Back in 1966, Roy Wood penned the classic couplet:
“Cast your mind back ten years to the girl who’s next to me in school,
If I put my hand upon her leg, she’d hit me with a rule”.
Contrary to the whinings of second and now third wave feminism, that is how women were in the 1960s, the 1950s, and before that, certainly working class women. Such women knew their place, and men knew exactly what to expect if they forgot theirs.
Your 1960s dolly bird may not have been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but she was no pushover. If she was on the dance floor or at the bar, and a guy came on to her, she could show her displeasure as easily as her interest. If he had wandering hands and she was wearing stiletto heels, that was the end of the conversation, he would be limping home that night. The phrase sexual harassment was not part of anyone’s vocabulary, then came the 1991 Clarence Thomas hearings when Anita Hill was given carte blanche to throw mud at him in an effort by his enemies to keep him off the Supreme Court. It has been downhill on both sides of the Atlantic since.
Much of the current conversation extends beyond Hollywood; this is what ordinary women have been putting up with, we are told. The truth is very different, women today, especially professional women of a certain type are not averse to coming on to the boss or other colleagues in order to advance their careers in the same way an “aspiring actress” in days of yore would take her place on the casting couch alongside or underneath her prospective employer. It is only when they are rebuffed or unsuccessful that they cry sexual harassment. In recent years, companies worldwide from the UK to Australia via North America have shelled out probably hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements for spurious cases of sexual abuse/discrimination/harassment in the workplace. The legislation in the UK was drafted in such a manner that the employer was on a hiding to nothing, and in the case of a small business might be advised to settle in order to avoid bankruptcy even if the case was defended successfully. (Employers defending spurious allegations of racial discrimination would often find themselves in the same boat).
There are three classic recent examples which are worth considering here: Ellen Pao (sexual discrimination/harassment); Jian Ghomeshi (falsely accused of assaults); Emma Sulkowicz (false rape accuser). Following the feminist narrative of women can do no wrong, all the women involved were made into heroic figures, even though Sulkowicz was shown to have lied (as well as being not right in the head); Ghomeshi’s accusers were proven to have conspired against him; and Pao’s claims were shown to be totally without merit.
Anita Hill in 2014
The Ghomeshi case was discussed here; although couched in the usual moderate legal terms, the judgment of Judge Horkins makes it clear that the three accusers who testified against him were lying. The Sulkowicz case has also been discussed here; incredible though it may sound, she was given the award Woman Of Courage last year by the National Organisation Of Women. Pao’s case - which did not include allegations of sexual assault - is instructive.
Ellen Pao was recruited by Kleiner Perkins because she was a woman and because on paper she had outstanding qualifications. Alas, what looks good on paper...Pao was fired for several reasons, but basically because she was not good at her job. She brought a sex discrimination suit against the company, and in the meantime was snapped up by Reddit. She didn’t last long there, and then lost her law suit. She filed an appeal and offered to withdraw it if the company paid her costs. Eventually, she dropped the appeal.
It would be difficult to find three more clear cut cases than the above in which a female accuser was more comprehensively discredited, yet are still being touted as victims or even trailblazers. Second wave feminism was obsessed with rape and other forms of what is now alluded to erroneously as gendered violence. For a time there was an effort to combat this practically by encouraging women to take self-defence classes. This was even reflected in the cinema, ironically, because the strong woman overpowering a man is more of a male fantasy than a female practicality as is evinced by the popularity of Amazons, some of whom make a lucrative living out of “training” men in private sessions.
Third wave feminism likes to represent women as not simply the equals of men but empowered. And this power comes from where exactly? From whining to the government about how oppressed they are and lobbying, often dishonestly, for more repressive legislation to ostensibly enable women at the expense of men, or even of justice.
None of the above means legal action should not be taken against Harvey Weinstein if he has indeed sexually violated any woman, but apart from that New York incident, where is the evidence? Sure, the guy is a creep, but he is now fair game for any chancer to crawl out of the woodwork and accuse him of all manner of crimes, indeed that is already happening as the bandwagon effect kicks in.
Finally, both women and men have to get real in especially the workplace. Making false or trivial complaints about sexual harassment cannot benefit women as a whole. There are already signs that private sector employers are thinking twice about employing women in a male environment or where they come into frequent contact with men. And women, especially those who regard themselves as feminists, must adopt a common sense, pragmatic approach to dealing with unwanted advances. One of the complaints made by the aforementioned Ellen Pao was that she had been subjected to such unwanted advances. After previously having an affair with the same man!
A woman who meets a business colleague alone, one she doesn’t know or doesn’t trust, may be risking a groping, but a man who meets a female colleague under such circumstances is risking his job, or even his freedom. A man can be falsely accused at any time, as in the insane case of Michael Garfoot and Lynn Walker, but reducing the opportunity for fabrication can’t do any harm.
There are very few women be they ever so young who cannot put a man in his place with mere words, or in the case of Harvey Weinstein, something stronger. If one or two women had stood up to him decades ago, he would have learned his lesson, and we wouldn’t be experiencing this hysteria now.
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