Anyhow, it got in my head when I was talking with Mrs. Spew about the Harvey Weinstein story. Something may or may not be changing--we shall see if what has happened the past few weeks with Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and others will stick or not. But it seems to me that two things have changed:
- While there had been some stories and complaints and even jokes about Harvey Weinstein for years, the big news story that had both a big name or two (Ashley Judd) and breadth (more than a few specific stories) essentially gave people permission to speak out about Weinstein and then other men and the Hollywood culture in general. I am not saying people need permission to speak out, but the environment became more permissive--that it would be ok to tell one's story and not face as much disbelief or victim-blaming as in the past. Yes, there is some safety in numbers, with more and more folks telling their stories, sharing their horrific experiences, it became easier (although not easy). The Metoo stuff online provided some accelerant, so we now have a cascade (I should be citing Timur Kuran here). The Cosby story didn't have the same effect even though the story generated a mini-permission structure for women to come out about Cosby (the pattern of a few women leading to a cascade of many since now they would be believed) perhaps because Cosby was no longer at the top of the power structure. Taking down a relatively powerful figure in the industry created a permissive environment to come out against James Toback, Kevin Spacey and others.
- Maybe, just maybe, a second thing might also be happening: the previous permission structure that made it ok and easy for relatively powerful men to prey upon actresses and others in Hollyood maybe breaking. For how long was the casting couch an unfortunate but expected obstacle that one had to overcome, one way or another, to get a role and to stay in the business? The men saw it as an entitlement and the women and men (thanks, Kevin Spacey for reminding us that one can be a creep regardless of orientation) beneath them as legitimate prey. It maybe the case that these norms--these standards--are changing so that the powerful will not see it as their right, that their companies may be less willing to protect, foster and even feed them. The economic consequences of harboring these folks may help to break this particular permission structure. I hope so....
I'd appreciate your thoughts on this, as I am way outside of my expertise and just thinking aloud. Does this make sense?