My Love for Gossip Blogs and the Importance of Male Allies
I love gossip blogs. Seriously, they give me life. They are so much fun – reading the ins and outs of the rich and famous, it’s a fun escape, and it’s my guilty pleasure. However, I’m very careful about the blogs I read. Some are simply sexist cess pools, others are just stupidly written and annoying. But some, the magical few, are both gossipy fun, engaging and interesting. Plus, an interesting thing has happened with gossip blogs lately (at least the ones I love). They have gotten increasingly political, because the writers feel that in the current political climate, they have to be. And they’re right. We are living in a time where misogyny is on the upswing, the patriarchy is fighting back. And when it fights back this hard, it’s because it’s on the brink: maybe not of collapse (even I don’t dream that big), but of significant and long-lasting change. Each of us has a role in making that happen. As women, we know this intrinsically. And we fight different battles for equality daily. But men are just as important in this battle. Without strong male allies, women’s voices are simply lost in the wind. Why? Because they still hold the power. So when those in power admit to a problem, and stand on the side of those suffering from it, is when true change can occur.
I first read about Harvey Weinstein and his power on Celebitchy, my favourite gossip blog. And it was my reading about the latest controversy about him that inspired this rant. If you don’t follow Hollywood gossip (I am judging you here, but kindly, don’t worry), he’s a Hollywood big shot who just got brought down by the New York Times and the New Yorker for years of sexual harassment. For the source articles go here (note trigger alert for women who have suffered from any kind of sexual harassment). Go here for the NYT article and here for the New Yorker article.
For some great summaries, go here:
This shit has come out over the last five or six days, and Hollywood (and Twitter) has exploded. But here is what is so amazing about this whole thing – it’s not fucking new. Ladies, we know this happens. We may not be Hollywood superstars, but we have lived this shit. Ok, we may not have a man force us into a hotel room and force us to watch him masturbate into a plant the way Weinstein did (seriously, WTF), but between unwanted advances in public transport, harassment from a male in the workplace (generally in a position of authority, but not always) or violence in bars and clubs or at parties among men we consider friends and peers, we’ve all seen it. We’ve all experienced it somehow, and many of us have not been able to say anything. We have been afraid of losing our jobs, our families, our place in our religious or cultural communities. Why? Because people judge. What were you wearing? But are you sure you didn’t invite it somehow? Why did you drink so much? You need to be more careful. YOU KNOW IT. Some of you have even thought it. And honestly, going back to the Weinstein articles, if Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow kept quiet for so many years – these rich, talented, connected, privileged women, what chance do the rest of us have against this toxic environment, basking in its ability abuse and avoid responsibility, let alone retribution?
Now obviously, I’m not saying all men are bad. Obviously. There are so many great guys out there – totally awake and aware of the inequalities in the world, and work towards improvement. Others are not bad, and not even sexist, but are completely unaware of their privilege – are simply too focused on their day to day to see what is happening out there. And of course there are the evil sadistic bastards out there: one of which is running the US (aka Emperor Baby Fists © Celebitchy), and another, Mr Weinstein, the stimulus for this article.
But what I am saying that the time to be quiet is done. Even 10 years ago, despite the gaps, we felt things were moving forward. We expected them to. How could they not? But it’s 2017 people, and things are rolling back. We’re losing ground. This is where we need a new battle plan. Not only do we need the ladies fighting, and the LGBT community, and people of colour, as this is a truly intersectional issue, but this is where, now more than ever, we need our male allies. Feminists, before you raise your axes and burn me at the stake, I’m not saying we have we have to water down our politics to suit male sensibilities, to make things more palatable for them. What I am saying is we need men to stand beside us and behind us, with shouts and signs, supporting us in pushing our way forward.
Guys note that this doesn’t mean you losing anything. Well, unless you’re incompetent and lazy, then potentially yes. But in general, equality doesn’t mean you lose. It means more people have a chance at winning. Equality makes society better as it allows for a greater meritocracy: people in all walks of life accessing the opportunities that allow them to be their best selves, no matter where the placement of their reproductive organs (thank you Captain Samantha Carter for that one).
In a world where the president of the United States is elected despite admitting on tape that he sexually harasses women, where lawmakers are rolling back women’s rights to health, where women are being beaten, raped, maimed and murdered for wanting to go to school, learn to read, have a dream, marry who they love (or not marry at all) we need the guys to stand beside us in this fight. There are simply more voices, and where there are more voices, there is power.
Guys, don’t be Harvey Weinstein or Donald Trump, or the silent douchebags that don’t condemn (or even applaud) their behaviour. Be like Andy Murray, every tennis fan (and this non-fan) favourite feminist.