Meanwhile, acclaimed former child star and current working actress Mayim Bialik wrote a New York Times op-ed about how she probably hasn’t been harassed or assaulted because she dresses modestly, doesn’t flirt in public, and never got plastic surgery. I kid you not. In other words, “Ladies and girls, are your perfect bodies, tiny noses, and charismatic attitudes inviting assault? Maaaaaaybe?” (Update: She’s since apologized.) Neither Bialik or Karan are on my short list of people I’m turning to for opinions these days, but guess what? I’m on nobody’s list either, and here I am.
Do you know who is on my list of people I’m looking to for opinions? Acclaimed politician Hillary Freaking Clinton, but I don’t think she gives a flying flip about women who are harassed by their bosses. Sidebar: Does everybody know that Clinton called Monica Lewinksy a “narcissistic loony toon” in the wake of Lewinksy’s affair with President Bill? (Update: There isn’t one! Clinton has supported her husband through one rape allegation, one groping accusation, one harassment allegation, and multiple affairs in the decades they’ve been together. I voted for the woman in spite of her Bill-shaped blind spot.)
My point is that women aren’t always that great at caring about the suffering of other women. Sometimes we actively suck at it. Speaking of sucking …
Victims Might Get A Powerful Person’s Weird Attempt At Empathy
As the Weinstein scandal unfolded, nonvictim and documented molester Ben Affleck stepped forward with a statement denouncing Weinstein’s actions. He also said, “We need to do better at protecting our sisters, friends, co-workers, and daughters,” which caused the world to make a collective record scratch before answering, “Wait, what now?” Apparently, nobody told homeboy that Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, and Bill Clinton also have daughters and have historically sucked in their relationships with women.
Obviously, no one should have to bring a female human into the world to grasp the seriousness of sexual assault. And protection shouldn’t be a part of this conversation. Women don’t want their dads and co-workers to act like bodyguards when other people’s dads and co-workers walk into the room; they want to not be raped. So, bad job at reading the room, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
That being said, I get it. The Blunder Twins were each putting their brains in the scariest spot in the world, imagining that someone out there could hurt your child. My list of all-time worst fears range from falling down a gentle hill to the general concept of fire, but number one is someone sexually assaulting one of my children. I’d rather fall down an elevator shaft and land on a pack of evil clowns (who are on fire) than imagine one of my kids being violated.
I’ll put it this way: I don’t know Rose McGowan or Ashley Judd or the more than 40 (!) other women who have so far stepped forward with accusations against Weinstein. I’ve read their stories, and I imagine that if Weinstein had asked me to watch him shower or give him a massage, I would have responded with the same disgust they did. But if someone told me that it was an adult version of my daughter or son in the same scenario, my emotions go into overdrive. If the victim is me, I’m grossed out. If the victim is my daughter, I’m Liam Neesing. When Trayvon Martin was killed, President Obama said “this could have been my son,” and that was the most intimate, empathetic thing he could say in that moment.
So yeah, men, if it takes picturing your child (or a friend or sister or mom or me, whatever) as a victim for you to get interested in the conversation, that’s fine. Just make it a mental exercise and don’t be weird about it.
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For more, check out 5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women and 7 Reasons So Many Guys Don’t Understand Sexual Consent.
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