This is a difficult post to write. The entertainment industry is full of unwanted advances, as are most industries in the world, but still, the depth of these allegations are harrowing.
What is perhaps most difficult to read are the accounts from these women, the brave creatures that spoke up despite fearing for their emotional and financial wellbeing. They speak of fault, blame, fear, and practical acceptance. They say he often apologized when they tried to report the assault. They say he was so powerful and well-respected that they didn't think they had a choice in accepting the terror that awaited them behind closed doors.
What confuses me about this, however, is the shock that people expressed when this story broke. To me, this is par for the course. It is neither shocking nor acceptable. It is simply unsurprising, a way of life for most women that we face and deal with as best as we can.
When people meet Emilia and I for the first time, they often ask us about our name. Why FatChix Films? You're not fat. You sign off every email with 'Fat Love'. What does that mean? You're not fat women. It isn't a fetish, is it?
When Em and I began our journey toward producing, we knew outright that we wanted a name that would serve us, our mission, and as a reminder to b*tches everywhere of the sh*t women put up with in this world. We sat on a bed at 3 AM trying to pin down the perfect name, coming up with nothing, and eating copious amounts of cheese (which was a mistake because we are both lactose intolerant). At some point, Emilia called us a couple of fat chicks farting on a bed because we were very gassy and silly and tired.
The more we thought about it, though, the more it made sense for us to keep the name. No, we are not 'fat'. We are healthy. But we both have personal experiences with body shaming, body image denigration at the hands of male persons in power, and we have BOTH been called fat by casting directors, producers, teachers, whoever. It doesn't matter.
The point is that this business with Harvey Weinstein is not an isolated incident of abuse by a person in power. It is part of a much larger system that loves controlling women: what they eat, what they look like, what they sound like, how much they speak, when they speak, their bodies, their reproductive rights, their ideas, their self-worth.
Harvey sucks, but he's not alone. A whole bunch of people really and truly suck. Trump sucks. Casey Affleck sucks. Ben Affleck sucks, for that matter. Sure, there are beautiful people out there, and we choose to hire them over more talented, sucky people all the time, BUT the idea that #notallmen suck, so let's demonize this a-hole and blow this one story up like crazy.... I just think it's ironic that people knew about this for ages and said nothing out of fear. Now, when it looks like you suck if you say nothing because #mobmindset declares it safe at last, now, they speak up.
I think the real problem in our society is that there continues to be such a wide imbalance between men and women in power. Sexism and misogyny are part of a woman's everyday experience. The most dangerous purveyors and executors of this broken system are not usually the idiots that announce themselves as sexist bastards from the get go, but those who claim to be all for equality but question the victims' statements. They are the people that only come out to defend these women when it is safe to do so. They are the people that have so little backbone that they cannot report despicable behavior when faced with the potential ramifications of doing so. They are the people that commit little micro-aggressions without even thinking about it. They are the boss that promotes a useless male employee out of an admin circle faster than a dedicated woman that has been doing his job. They are the CEO's that always ask their female counterparts to grab the coffee instead of any one of the men in the room. They are the street harassers that just love women so much they can't help themselves. They are the men and women that dismiss harassment as locker talk. They are the officers that don't bother processing a rape kit. They are everywhere.
And women, we are not excused from this conversation. We have to step up. We have to get nasty.
Where would we be if Claudette Colvin or Rosa Parks had gotten cold feet on their bus rides? How far would we have come if Emily Davison hadn't scared the sh*t out of the King and prompted public outrage? Where would we be if women never pushed forth, without the help of men, without safety or refuge, and often without credit? We need to get nasty, b*tches.
Right now, there is a party on: Down With Weinstein. Make the bastard suffer. Take everything away. He is sick. He is full of demons. He is horrid. Appalling. Disgusting. Evil.
He is all of these things. However, society is all of these things as well. He is not alone. He did not manage to cover up all of his crimes by himself. He did not suppress these women's voices by himself. To have known of these misdeeds and done nothing is equally f*cked up. They say it takes a village to raise and child. Well, it looks like it takes a village to rape someone and cover it up as well.
So, ladies, let's not do this anymore, yes? No more covering for pricks that want to keep us down. No more conditioned responses. No more taking it and taking the blame. No more backing down. No more waiting for someone to save us. We can save ourselves by saving each other. Let's change this industry and this WORLD together. Hand in hand. And some of our fave bros can come along for the ride, too. Because the world that we create together will be way more incredible than the one we are currently suffering through.
The world of FatChix is based on being dope to one another, sharing hearts full of fat love, loving each other and ourselves, making art that is fat with the promise and potential of our fellow artists.
If that sounds epic to you, then let's make a pact to end this crap ourselves right now. We will do our part. Will you?
Photo credit David Walter Banks for the NY Times.