Like him or hate him, Trump’s presidency has ignited a political voice in many who previously had little to say. His extreme views polarize, create debate and in doing so put important political issues centre stage. Even my children talk politics these days.
I think Weinstein can be useful to us in much the same way.
He is the extreme version of the mega powerful, rich, over-inflated boss-man who abuses the privilege of power. Nothing special, nothing new, so let’s turn the tables on him. Let him be our fall guy, the patsy for our story. Rather than focusing attention on him, viewing his actions as an aberration, we can use him for our own good.
If we can just dampen our desire for scintillating gossip (for a moment, at least) and write a story that will inspire action, we have a remarkable opportunity to change society.
Last night, listening to the NY Times podcast The Daily, I tried to make sense of how strong, independent, western women in the 21st century choose to remain tight lipped while letting infiltrators and abuses walk away. I became quite judgemental and got myself really wound up until the penny dropped. I was one of them!
These are my Weinsteins by any other name.
Age 7. He’s the Little Athletics volunteer, the father of a friend, who during a birthday slee over sneaks into the room, lifts my blanket and perves on me while I’m sleeping.
Age 15. He’s the photographer who pins me to the ground and demands I sleep with him otherwise he’ll piss all over my career (one that never gets started).
Age 16. He’s the family member who while drunk sticks his tongue down my throat.
Age 18. He’s my boss who, while driving to see a client, thinks it’s his right to slide his hand along my thigh.
Did I tell anyone of these incidents at the time they happened? No. Have I shared any of this since? Yes, but not loudly, nor with conviction. At best I’ve shared pieces of it, apologetically, thinking I was partially to blame. I certainly didn’t expect an apology or justice, nope, I think I was simply looking for someone to assure me I was okay.
And I am okay. I’m more than okay and I have long since kicked these creeps to the curb. So I share this today because I don’t believe my experience is an aberration. I think there are many more Weinsteins out there and if we normalize the experience through conversation then the ‘losers’ – to quote the current President – will lose their power and we will grow ours.
I share my story to do what I can to create the space for others to do the same. I do so in the hope that storytellers out there will shine their light on the power of vulnerability, truth and courage. And in doing so, help deplete the power of the Weinsteins … by any other name.