After the star pre-emptively denied the claim of wrongdoing, journalist and author Susan Braudy has spoken out about alleged misconduct
Over the weekend, women in Kerala decided to express their political support for the Malappuram girls through the best medium: Jimikki Kammal dance videos.
“The videos will exist for posterity. Maybe someday, some child in the future will ask her grandmother why these women were dancing so seriously to such a silly song. Where was there a cheering crowd of protesters around them? And she will tell her the story all over again, of how women came together to dance in support of other woman, and the child will smile, and be inspired by – and, possibly, a little alarmed at – the passion of her ancestors. And that will be enough.”
In the breast-beating over the fallen of #MeToo, where’s the sympathy for women, who have endured harassment and lived with fear every day?
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For too long, we’ve lauded men’s domination and aggressiveness as a sign of leadership rather than possible red flags
Harvey Weinstein, for example, was well-known for being a bully. He yelled and demeaning the people around him, including men. Leon Wieseltier, formerly of The New Republic, was called “thuggish” and “gleefully mean.”
Roy Price, ousted at Amazon for harassment, wasn’t just accused of sexism in his interactions with women but in the way he chose programming. And Mark Halperin, accused by multiple women of harassment, once argued that there was “nothing illegal” about Donald Trump’s alleged groping.
This isn’t to say that we should only be wary of men who yell or hold explicitly sexist views. NPR is arguably one of the most progressive bastions of media around, yet when senior vice president Michael Oreskes was known to harass women, he was simply given a “father-son talking to” by another editor.
What would happen if we stopped viewing these kinds of behaviors as the remnants of men from “another era,” stopped excusing them as less-than-charming side effects of idiosyncratic brilliance?
It’s true, there’s nothing illegal about being a boor or a sexist jerk. You can’t fire someone for being an asshole. But you can notice particular kinds of bad behavior and flag them as a problem, rather than a boon, for a man’s career
I don’t know how to describe it other than to use the word creepy. It’s creepy. It’s creepy that, when a teacher abuses or assaults a student, so many people think of that crime as being a potential gray area — of teenagers or adolescents of being capable of consent or even pursuit — that “having sex,” the thing that consenting adults do together, becomes the standard descriptor.This is a symptom, of course, of a larger problem: We are a society steeped in rape culture. The normalization and minimization of sexual abuse, sexual assault and sexual violence persists thanks to a dizzying confluence of factors, not least among them the broad cultural suspicion — among adults of both genders — that victims and survivors are asking for it, because of what they wear or don’t wear, what they say or don’t say, what they drink or don’t drink, where they go or don’t go, how fat or thin they are, whether they work late or early, how many children they have or don’t have, how many partners they have or don’t have … the list goes on and on.
On September 10, a 32-year-old man went to his estranged wife’s Sunday cookout, reportedly the first social event she’d organized since filing for divorce. He shot her and seven other adults to death before he was killed by police. That tragedy was tied for second-deadliest mass shooting of the year with another killing spree on May 27 in Brookhaven, Mississippi, in which a 35-year-old man, also angry at his “estranged” wife, allegedly killed five of her relatives, as well as a sheriff’s deputy and two children. He told the local media on-camera that he was hoping police would kill him.Surprisingly, these two incidents, with 16 victims between them, were not the most infamous domestic violence murders to make national news in the past six months. Several other intimate partner killings received more widespread attention, likely because of their unusual nature. In July, a man stabbed his wife to death aboard a cruise ship, reportedly later telling a witness, “She would not stop laughing at me.” (The statement calls to mind the famous quote attributed to Margaret Atwood about domestic violence: “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”) Six months earlier, in April 10, a 53-year-old man walked into a San Bernardino, California, elementary-school classroom and shot to death his wife, who was a special-ed teacher there, and her 8-year-old student, before turning the gun on himself. Six days later, a 37-year-old man named Steve Stephens, apparently distraught over difficulties with his “estranged” girlfriend, shot a random older man to death on the streets of Cleveland, live-streaming it on Facebook. Before killing him, Stephens made the victim say his ex’s name.
Shadism, pigmentocracy – the idea of privilege accruing to lighter-skinned black people – and other hierarchies of beauty are a complex picture in which ads such as Nivea’s are only the obvious tip of an insidious iceberg. Celebrities with darker complexions, such as the Sudanese model Nyakim Gatwech – nicknamed Queen of the Dark – and actors such as Lupita Nyong’o, are so often discussed in the context of having achieved the seemingly impossible by being both dark and beautiful, that they become the exceptions that prove the rule.It is often observed that light-skinned black women are more likely to become global superstars, the Beyoncé-Rihanna effect. They are, however, still black women and therefore not immune from the pressure to lighten – most recently by fans following a new Photoshopping trend of posting pictures of whitened versions of their faces and remarking upon the improvement.In countries such as Ghana, the intended audience for the Nivea ad, and Nigeria – where an estimated 77% of women use skin-lightening products – the debate has so far, understandably, focused on health. The most toxic skin-lightening ingredients, still freely available, include ingredients such as hydroquinone, mercury and corticosteroid. It’s not unusual for these to be mixed with caustic agents ranging from automotive battery acid, washing power, toothpaste and cloth bleaching agents, with serious and irreversible health consequences. There is no suggestion that global brands such as Nivea or Lancôme are using any of these illegal and harmful ingredients, and African countries are moving towards greater regulation of the products themselves. Ghana, for example, has banned hydroquinone.These powerful corporations are, however, still freely operating in a context where millions of low-income women experience the high-end messaging of their glossy billboards, but can only afford to opt for cheaper, black market products. Advertising standards have been enforced against beauty conglomerates for adverts that are overly retouched, but only India, another of the biggest markets for skin lightening products, has banned adverts depicting people with darker skin as inferior. Maybe it is time that changed. This is an industry expected to reach $31bn by 2024, as growing awareness of dangerous, toxic products drives extra demand for a “fairness solution with natural, herbal and organic ingredients”, according to market analysts.