Every week, I tweet out and post my reviews of soon-to-be-released films, paying extra attention to the tiny ones that likely would get overshadowed by big-budget studio ones. This week, I wanted to push out pieces on a surprisingly moving documentary called Dina, a revolutionary biopic called Professor Marston and the Wonder Women and the previous week’s fave, Sean Baker’s heart-swelling masterpiece of humanity, The Florida Project. But I was fighting an uphill battle.
When news of Harvey Weinstein’s alleged assaults on women in Hollywood went public, I knew it would dominate multiple news cycles. Film Twitter would get their guns out and shoot down the assholes, and no one would care about the damn movies. Honestly, we have bigger fish to fry.
It’s like this a lot these days. And it’s not just Weinstein or the film industry (Cinefamily, Alamo Drafthouse, Ain’t It Cool News, Screen Junkies). Whenever a powerful, narcissistic man tumbles down, we must stop what we’re doing and appropriately react. As a realist who has worked in media for more than a decade, I absolutely know this asshole parade will not be stopping anytime soon.
So what does this mean for us? We’ll be increasingly disrupted throughout our days. We’ve already been primed for this with a Trump administration that strives to keep us on our toes with some of the most nonsensical statements ever uttered or thumb-typed. As I write this, I’m staring at two half-finished reviews of films I enjoyed but can’t properly describe, because my brain has been eaten away by horrific images of a man assaulting women in hotel rooms, of another man issuing vague threats of uncertainty (and possibly nuclear holocaust if he gets around to it) and of yet another man — faceless — waving jazz hands around as he sputters, “That’s showbiz, baby!” over and over, like the time I got stuck on the It’s a Small World ride for two hours, and the only way to escape was to wade through the water, down darkened tunnels, while little animatronic people sang at me from all directions in whining falsettos — oh, BTW, Walt Disney supposedly was an anti-Semite Nazi sympathizer.
I want off this goddamned ride.
I want to laugh maniacally like Liz Meriweather did when she proclaimed to Weinstein that her worst nightmare was coming true. I want to stand up and sing at the top of my lungs like Cara Delavingne to pretend I haven’t seen what I’ve seen and heard what I’ve heard. I want to toss my laptop in the garbage and escape to a place where women aren’t subjected to humiliation and degradation — and where I don’t have to constantly write about it — but I am reminded endlessly (thanks, dudes online) that the U.S. of A. is actually not the worst place for women, comparatively, to which I can only respond with loud, messy tears.
I do not know a woman who does not have a dark story about being sexually harassed, assaulted or raped by someone in her industry, myself included. If that math holds correct, and we are really at a turning point in the culture, where abusers will finally be exposed, we’re about to have a massive emotional, public breakdown. A new revelation every day. Another weight piled on our backs. Another distraction from our life’s purposes. Every single day. And those who are largely tasked with breaking these delicate stories? Women. I’m tremendously proud of these women and want to send them all a bottle of wine because we are reporting on our own trauma for mass consumption.
If we are really at a turning point where abusers will finally be exposed
On the one hand, I feel electric about all of this — what could happen if the Harvey Weinsteins of the world really went down, sending a message that it’s not OK anymore? Look at Rose McGowan on the warpath, putting Ben Affleck and Michael Eisner in their places (and getting suspended from Twitter). Look at Gwyneth Paltrow dropping a bomb with her accusation — these are big stars! Could you really imagine if we laid every open secret bare for public consumption? See Terry Crews bravely coming forward about his own alleged assault at the hands of a Hollywood executive. How many men also have been silently battling their own depression from assaults?
I’m getting a voltage spike just thinking about it. But I know I’m running on a reserve battery. I keep saying that it can’t go on like this, but it probably can. We have, after all, a president who treats sexual abuse and harassment like they're competitive sports. Amid all this tumult, how can we live somewhat fulfilling lives? How can we find the energy to carry on?
There’s no easy path forward. There have never been such swift, public and massive revolts against systemic abuse in our history as the ones we are witnessing and participating in right now. It will get uglier. In all of this, I can’t help but think of Weinstein’s family. Every act of his alleged abuse hurt so many more than the one person lured to that hotel room, including those who realized that fate could be theirs and left the business altogether. What great things could those women have done?
But the solution for me in these troubled times is to keep tweeting out links to articles about all the movies I’ve loved that have filled my heart with joy. It’s to quietly remember why I got into this industry in the first place. It’s to read and watch and support the work of other women. Because I know it took them double the effort just to get out of bed in the morning and do what they do best.