It’s show business, but it is also politics, and it is also life.
American producer Harvey Weinstein has been reaping the benefits of his power for many years now. He has been getting away with the lowest, crudest, most abhorrent behavior toward women—and nobody dared speak up until now.
Because he was the man behind one of the biggest and most successful film companies in the US, Weinstein’s behavior never quite caught up with him until too late. Before this, countless women—actresses whether still aspiring or already known—have suffered in silence, weighing the costs of coming forward with their allegations.
Weinstein, as we know now, flaunted his power in the industry. He knew he could make or break women’s careers, as he had made and broken them. He was aware he could get away with the lewdest, most arrogant of crimes. He saw women not as human beings but as commodities to be enjoyed.
And this is not to say he preyed on the weak.
Many of the women who have come forward with their own horror stories are not cowering victims. On the contrary they are strong, successful and outspoken. But even they hesitated and weighed the consequences of their action. They may have refused his advances, or failed to fight it, or seen him in action with others. They have their own reasons for coming out just now, or not coming out at all.
Weinstein is now a pariah in the circles which used to defer to him all the time. With any luck he would face charges and live the rest of his life paying for his acts.
Meanwhile, those of his ilk continue to roam, not just Hollywood but corporations, government offices, in the US and perhaps even more so in the more misogynistic countries of the world.
For all our gains in advancing equality and closing various forms of gender gaps and discrimination, there are realities that are not easily erased. Weinstein said he grew up in a different era, one where societal norms and perceptions of women are different, but does that make all men of his agenerations predators like him? No.
It could be easier and more convenient to keep silent. It is tempting to just forget and move on since speaking up could appear more turbulent and disruptive, especially if you are up against powerful men. But this is exactly how men like Weinstein flourish. He may have been stopped now, but what about the countless others like him who get away with saying the most objectionable of things just because they are in positions of power?