Skip to main content

The female voice has never been stronger since Harvey Weinstein's exposure – but the battle is not yet won

What has been remarkable over the week and a half since Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was exposed as a misogynist predator, is the rise of the female voice.

The media has stood witness to a constant flow of actresses and models coming forward with their own stories of how they were sexually abused as a matter or course during their careers – not just by Weinstein but by other men in positions of power within the industry. Whilst women from all walks of life have brought their own tales of harassment and abuse to light through the #MeToo campaign on Twitter.

Never has the plight of women been spoken about with such fervour and with such frequency before, and, most significantly, never has there been such an available platform from which to do so.

The bravery of this movement cannot be undermined - despite many voices in the media castigating these women for not speaking out before. And the fact we are witnessing this uprising in our lifetime is amazing, but there is still more work to do.

There is still the overriding idea that the man is not to blame for his actions because the woman provoked something beyond his control. Harvey Weinstein has so far used this narrative to his advantage - in turning the now 30 or more accusations of sexual abuse and rape on their head to bemoan that he is the victim. He couldn't control what he was doing because he has a sex addiction.

But what Weinstein has not reckoned with is the fact this movement has only just started. We listened in startled silence when he mumbled an apology and asked for a second chance just before booking himself into his swanky rehab.

Since then there has been a ground swell of opposition to Weinstein and all those like him. One of the most empowering stories has to be from a long-time friend of the late, great Carrie Fisher. Screenwriter Heather Ross told of how the Star Wars actress personally delivered an animal tongue from the local deli to a producer after Heather confided in her about how he had tried to take advantage of her in the back of a car. Carrie swore if the producer touched her friend or any other woman again he could expect another delivery, of something of his, in a much smaller box.

The concern remains about whether Weinstein will be duly punished. The perception is men as rich and powerful as him, who are unafraid to manipulate the legal system with a few backhanders, end up evading jail.

The last thing we want to see is a shiny, beaming Weinstein emerging from rehab saying he is a new man and has seen the error of his ways - only for him to go back to making movies as though nothing has happened.

So women have to keep the indignation going. These are new times and victims of sexual abuse can now feel empowered to speak out on the basis they are not alone and they are not to blame. If this becomes the new narrative, when it comes to Weinstein taking to the dock no one will be able to hear his contrite grovelling over the tumultuous roar of women declaring they will not be shamed.


Popular posts from this blog

A Bake Off style icon and a feline emblem of women's emancipation

The world of British politics has been dominated by the wave of sexual allegations pouring out of Westminster this week. So much so, there has been hardly any talk of Brexit. Perhaps we have left. Has anyone noticed a lack of hummus on the shelves of Tesco? But I, rather unfeelingly, digress.
MPs across all political parties have received accusations of a sexual nature against them, ranging from inappropriate comments and misplaced hands to sexual assault and rape. Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to unite with all other party leaders next week to discuss what must be done to clamp down on this behaviour and deal with the current allegations appropriately.
Of course there have been numerous critics - those who believe we are in some way being unfair to male MPs by bringing these sexual transgressions to the fore. That a man will never be able to chat a woman up in a bar again if we persist in allowing yet another male-dominated area of society to be exposed as misogynistic and …

Older women are missing the point when they say millennials need to 'toughen up' in the face of sexual abuse

It takes a certain type of woman to come out during what can only be seen as a revolutionary time for women's rights and complain. But that is exactly what a number of older, prominent female figures have done since the sex scandal broke at Westminster and it leaves me puzzling, in the most colloquial of terms, 'whose side are they actually on'?
The pervasive idea amongst the women I refer to is that what is going on in the House of Commons as we speak is nothing but a moral panic led by the millennials. They claim that it all comes down to the younger women, who make up much of the MP's staff, not being tough enough to fend off the comments and misplaced hands of their bosses.
They further claim this is some kind of 'millennial revenge' by younger women who carry around with them a sense of disgust towards anyone over 40. Furthermore, they say, women of their generation had a far more robust attitude to men behaving badly, compared to the 'fragile' …

MP's vote on Brexit is a 'con', Johnson's apology a sop, but Theresa May's condemnation of Russia was a triumph

It has been called a 'staggering climbdown' by some but the truth of the matter is, the Government's 11th hour decision to allow Parliament a vote on the Brexit deal is just another example of Tory trickery.
David Davis, the Brexit Secretary, announced yesterday (Monday) that the final Brexit Withdrawal Bill would be presented to the House of Commons as an Act of Parliament which could be voted on in good time before we leave the European Union.
This was initially seen as a major victory on the part of Labour MPs and Tory rebels who have been calling for several months for Parliament to have their say on the Brexit deal. Davis had previously said there would not be an opportunity for MPs to vote as they anticipated work on the deal would be going on until the last minute before exiting.
But alas the devil is always in the detail and it quickly emerged that whilst MPs will be able to vote on the deal, they will not be able to have any say in the case of a no deal Brexit – …