The allegations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein are stomach-churning. The idea of one man having so much power that women were terrified to speak out or even to say “no” for fear their careers would be over sounds bizarre to most people, but apparently that’s Hollywood.
Weinstein isn’t the only rich and powerful man in Hollywood to find himself embroiled in a sex scandal by any stretch of the imagination. However, his seems to go beyond the pale as he was able to terrify the entire industry into silence.
As some look at this as a problem with masculinity, there are a handful of people who think the opposite to be the case.
The knee-jerk reaction to such an extensive and long-lasting sexual crime spree is to blame masculinity, femininity, or even the way women dress (thanks, Donna Karan) as the fuel which sparked such a vicious, sickening fire.
I understand the need to explain monstrous acts. The same type of desire burns within us following horrific violence, like what we saw in Las Vegas. Regardless of the urge to determine the source, we should not blame all of masculinity and each XY chromosomed individual roaming around. To do this is not only unfair, it is entirely incorrect.
Weinstein does not represent the whole of men just like Stephen Paddock doesn’t represent all gun owners.
Among the many roles a man has is that of protector. We have seen men fill this role countless times in society. Closer to home, we see it in the many good men who we have in each of our lives: fathers, brothers, friends, neighbors, and co-workers.
Harvey Weinstein was not the embodiment of masculinity; he was the antithesis of it.
Writer Kimberly Ross hits the nail on the head.
Last year, I released a book on masculinity in which I outlined, among other things, the three roles of men: the Provider, the Professor, and the Protector.
It’s the last of these that Ross brings up, and she’s right. It does apply perfectly.
It seems that Weinstein’s behavior was an open secret in Hollywood; it’s highly likely that many of those saying they knew nothing about his proclivities were actually well aware of them. Through it all, we’ve seen only a handful of cases of anyone doing or saying anything.
Brad Pitt is reported to have threatened Weinstein with a “Missouri whooping” after the producer pulled his act with Pitt’s then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow. Seth MacFarlane admits a joke he made at Weinstein’s expense while hosting the Oscars was made out of malice.
That’s about it.
Pitt did nothing else about Weinstein — he even worked with him on projects later. I’d be willing to give MacFarlane a pass because he only admits to knowing one of the victims, one who asked him not to retaliate in any way.
In all of Hollywood, those are about the only cases we see of any man being willing to stand up to Weinstein in any way, and they did nothing particularly meaningful.
While many look at the men of Hollywood as the pinnacle of masculinity, they’re wrong.
Developing a muscular physique and perfect hair is not what it takes to act like a real man. Delivering on that “Missouri whooping” Pitt offered would have been a start.
At the very least, a real man would have stepped up and told the world about Weinstein. But the idea of masculinity has been warped, so that most of these Hollywood men didn’t even realize that standing up for Weinstein’s victims was their responsibility as males.