- Harvey Weinstein was slimeball, but aren’t worse things happening in the world?
You’d think Iran just set off a nuclear bomb from the way the media has wailed about Harvey Weinstein. You’d think at this point Weinstein–not Trump–is Hitler. He was a bully and sexual predator (and if rape allegations are true, he should serve time), but he was dealing with adults in a scuzzy world of temptation. We know by now his behavior was Hollywood’s not-best-kept-secret, so why the belated shock? While controls should be set in place to avoid machinations like his, he did what any normal, amoral, physically repulsive producer would do: propped up a lavish casting couch.
And is it so wrong to still want to enjoy his great movies, like Good Will Hunting and Inglourious Basterds?
- A man groping your bottom is wrong and unacceptable but not that traumatic
Maybe I’m a “tough cookie,” but I could think of many more traumatic acts than a man (and dirty old man) casually groping my bottom or waist. It’s wrong and unacceptable, but, depending on the context, I would mostly like tell off or shove the bozo (in self defense) and not let it seriously bother me for more than 72 hours. I’d whine “gross!” with friends, horrified, and move on. This kind of groping doesn’t render a man evil. It renders him a creep.
What is truly traumatic and criminal is sexual assault, especially of minors and children, involving unwanted contact with genitalia.
- Consensual sex can often be more traumatic than workplace harassment
My most traumatic sexual encounters have been those when I said “yes,” either reluctantly or not. Like my “first time” when my body was more ready than my heart. Like the time when he “disappeared” the next day even though we enjoyed a few nights on the town together. Consensual sex can be more hurtful because it’s often preceded by a supposition of interest and care. When Weinstein asked for a massage in his hotel room, he put his sliminess on the table (or in his hand). But the man who wines and dines you, says he likes you, trades massages, beds you, and then leaves in the middle of the night—that’s the stuff that lands you on a different couch—the therapist’s couch. Because you’re not going to the media with that.
Is the #MeToo campaign psychologically approved? Because for some, it could simply open old wounds, which often involve consensual sex.
- Sexual harassment claims can become tools for fame and power
Women should always be encouraged to come forward without fear of retaliation, but smart methods must be set in place to ensure speedy claims, appropriate discretion, due process, deterrence, and fair punishment rather than trial by media.
Years, even decades, later, women and men are now remembering they were “assaulted” by powerful men. Now, they could be heroes. Now, they could be congratulated for courage. Now, they could advertise in their tagline their new book or project (see mine below, #metoo).
Want to destroy a man? Say he touched you inappropriately.
Ex. 1 Jewish literary icon, Leon Wieseltier, whose career has been toppled by tabloid-worthy allegations of impropriety. Question the motives, version, or interpretation of his female destroyers, and you’re a “victim-shamer.”
Ex. 2 The woman who indecently accused Elie Weisel, in his death, of groping her bottom decades ago. She became a viral sensation for “taking on” an ethical giant whose hardship and triumph she will, thank God, never know. That she feels the need to dredge it up now means she needs psychological help—or an agent.
- Some women should anticipate a man’s (creepy) come on
“Gasp!” I hear. “Victim shaming!” I wish Mayim Bialik had stood her ground when she encouraged more modest dress and behavior in her New York Times op-ed. One would think it was a set-up based on the blowback that led to her apology.
Many women know full well their attractiveness could help them land an interview, job, or what not. They’ll flaunt it. They’ll flirt. They might hope that they won’t get hit on unless they’re attracted to the guy. I know. I’ve done it. Not as a matter of course, but I have. Sometimes I’d let the guy believe he stood a chance, out of magnanimity, unless he got really creepy.
No wonder voluptuous model/actress Emily Ratajkowski blasted Mayim Bialik on Twitter. She’d have no career if she heeded Bialik’s modesty lesson. When she pranced around topless for the unrated “Blurred Lines” music video, she established her type-cast (and possibly real-life persona): “seductress.” Her half-nude Twitter and Instagram profiles scream: “Look! But don’t dare touch.”
Can she blame even a healthy man for deluding himself into thinking that she might actually want him?
VIctim blaming at its finest @missmmayim https://t.co/8DWw6BgRRl
— Emily Ratajkowski (@emrata) October 15, 2017
- Sexual harassment sucks, but so does verbal abuse, gossip, and slander
I can’t say I’ve been threatened with my job if I didn’t “put out.” I was fortunate to have had great male protectors and mentors throughout my career. In my work as a journalist, my bottom was groped; I endured creepy come-ons. But what has traumatized me more was verbal abuse, gossip, and even slander. Verbal abuse is like a violent grope at the mind. Gossip and slander can destroy a person’s livelihood and family life.
The subject of sexual harassment is becoming a trendy media fetish and an act of public voyeurism. Anyone questioning elitist talking points on the subject is prone to verbal abuse for which there is no hashtag movement, including being called “racist,” “fascist,” “sexist,” or “woman hater.” We must put the issue of sexual harassment in proportion and speak “shamelessly” about it, lest it become the new tactic for emasculating and destroying men and creating an androgynous, asexual, gagged society.
Orit Arfa is a journalist and author based in Berlin covering German-Israel affairs. Her new and second novel, Underskin, is a steamy Israeli-German romance. oritarfa.com.