Hey, guys! This will be a quick post on the controversies and social media movements to “build awareness” that have sprung up in the wake of everyone pretending that something obvious was surprising: Show biz sucks! Who would have thunk? This is totally not a thing everyone already knew.
So film producer and former Hollywood studio executive Harvey Weinstein turned out to be a total pervert who frequently sexually harassed (and maybe assaulted) many, many actresses who depended on him for a paycheck. I know Neon Demon was about modeling and not acting, but that movie came out last year. It’s not like the notion of Hollywood and/or the wider entertainment industry being sexually and financially exploitative and shady as hell is a novel idea. Hell, Corey Feldman went on the record years ago talking about how he and his young friends were molested and exploited by their producers/executives, to the point where he credited that abuse with why one of his friends committed suicide. I have no idea why people are acting like this isn’t a problem that everyone was already aware of. And social media “activism” is not helping the problem.
I repeat: It is not helping the problem.
I don’t want to be one of those people who totally dismisses social media as a tool for social change. There are plenty of legitimately helpful groups and movements that could not exist or be nearly as successful as they are without the help of things like Facebook or Twitter. The Innocence Project. Multiple religious apostate groups. Depression outreach groups. The list goes on and on. So no, I’m not going to sit here and say that social media is utterly worthless when it comes to contending with social ills.
But for all those instances of social media providing a helpful and conductive platform for ideas that otherwise wouldn’t be easily accessible, on the flip side of that coin are things like #MeToo and the Harvey Weinstein debacle: People on the internet doing what people on the internet do best–oversimplify problems to the point where nothing they say is helpful and create symbolic Boogeymen to slay as opposed to actually caring about the wider issue at hand.
#MeToo went from “raising awareness about how many people are sexually harassed and/or assaulted” to “telling men that they’re all responsible for rape and encouraging women to continue with a victim narrative even if they don’t fit into it.” I already had issues with #MeToo because it conflates sexual harassment with sexual assault like they’re equal and comparable things, making no distinction between the two. That’s not to say that there are no cases of sexual harassment that actually should be taken seriously as abusive/threatening behavior. But that doesn’t change the fact that “sexual harassment” can also be something like an asshole yelling “Hey, baby!” at you while you walk down the street. And with the way the #MeToo hashtag has been shaping up, at least on my personal Facebook feed, it seems like a lot of people have taken to saying #MeToo for relatively minor reasons like that . . . even though it was meant to be a hashtag raising awareness about genuine molestation victims.
It turned into yet another excuse for people to make it all about them. I legitimately had a girl on my Facebook wall make a 300 word #MeToo status all about how she doesn’t have any actual experience involving being sexually harassed or assaulted, but she’s going to post the hashtag anyway because “rape culture probably made her discount and overlook any sexual harassment she’s faced in the past.” I’ve had guys tentatively and with the upmost apologies post #MeToo, because they’re detracting from “women’s issues” by pointing out that they too have been victimized. The fact that sexual violence and exploitation effect men and women at fairly comparable rates apparently doesn’t matter. It’s a women’s issue, and men need to learn not to rape, doncha know?
The same can be said for the Harvey Weinstein case. It’s no longer about sexual abuse in Hollywood. It never really was to begin with. That’s why everyone can already know about the problem but not give two fucks about it until a specific person starts making headlines. The issue doesn’t matter. Harvey Weinstein matters. Hollywood producers sexually exploiting their actresses and actors isn’t what we’re here to talk about. Harvey Weinstein being a pervert and an asshole is what we’re here to talk about. Because he’s the Boogeyman, and slaying him will make us feel like we did something so that we can promptly continue to not give any fucks as soon as his name in particular stops garnering as many clicks. Look, here’s another story about some random actress talking about how Weinstein made a crude comment to her at a studio mixer once! Ewww, isn’t he so gross?! Look, this one director is mad as this other director for not getting Weinstein in trouble for being a perv! Isn’t he such a hero!
Social media has made it so that the problem itself isn’t important, just contributing to the very specific narrative being spun–in this case, “Isn’t Harvey Weinstein awful, and thinking he’s awful makes us better people?”
No one cares that Corey Feldman was raped because Harvey Weinstein wasn’t the one who did it and his name is Corey instead of Carry. And, for all the social media executives’ talk about how they’re progressive and promote liberal values, the leaders of social media don’t give two fucks about this problem either. Rose McGowan got kicked off of Twitter for trying to tell the truth about Harvey Weinstein before it was cool. The Obamas and the Clintons, and left-leaning Hollywood in general, were just as aware of the issue of sexual exploitation in the American entertainment industry as everyone else who has made a “casting couch” joke. That didn’t stop them from sucking Harvey Weinstein’s metaphorical dick up to a few weeks ago, and, on the Hollywood side of things, blacklisting anyone who had anything bad to say about him.
And these are the people telling a bunch of working class middle Americans who just happen to come from a red state that they’re “deplorable.” Okay.