News & Commentary, Screen

Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, Gal Gadot and other reasons to stop reading now

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Do not apply cleaning solvents intended for glass to your TV screen. As it turns out, TV screens are no longer made of glass. Who knew? Not me, apparently, until I tried to give the LED a streak-free shine. Today, there’s a big magenta stripe down the middle of my telly. Please, use a dedicated cloth for all your media screens.

This is, perhaps, the only practical advice you will ever derive from this reporter.

But, wait. There’s more: stop reading. This is also good advice. It is offered freely to anyone buoyed by the current dedication of our society’s most powerful women to “empowerment” of the masses.

Stop reading if you were “inspired” by Nicole Kidman at last night’s Screen Actors Guild awards.

Stop reading if you were “inspired” by Nicole Kidman at last night’s Screen Actors Guild awards. Stop reading if you buy Kidman’s claim that her industry “instigated” change for all women. Just how can she claim to have “instigated” a modern movement which began one hundred years ago through the action of women textile workers is anybody’s guess. The powerful do not instigate mass movements. They appropriate them. They profit from them. Then, they kill them at the grassroots.

Stop reading if you have faith that the possible end of comedian Aziz Ansari’s career is the start of a good conversation. It is plainly the start of a shit conversation. We have one type of feminist media commentator insisting that the 23-year-old woman who recounted the story should man up, per Ashleigh Banfield’s spray, and another suggesting that all men should.

Stop reading if you don’t agree that a question from theAnsari case remains unasked. That is: were all Millennial women raised never to tell a sexual partner “this isn’t working for me”?

At some point, media workers may realise that moral instructions do not work on either men or women. Stop reading until then. Stop reading if you don’t agree that a question from the sorry Ansari case remains unasked. That is: were all Millennial women raised never to tell a sexual partner “this isn’t working for me”, or just those posh white ones who end up in the paper?

Stop reading if you misread the above as an apology for abuse. There can be no apologies for abuse. Abuse is no less abusive if its target was unable to utter the word “no”. Stop reading if you believe it is misogynistic to suggest women may take greater part in their pleasure. That this may be expedited through use of terms including “no”, “faster” or “whoa, Nelly” is not an anti-feminist statement.

Stop reading if you found Scarlett Johansson heroic when she upbraided James Franco.

Stop reading if you found Scarlett Johansson heroic when she upbraided James Franco last weekend at a “women’s” rally. Johansson is a coward. It is possible that Johansson echoed allegations about Franco’s “inappropriate” use of power, said to have occurred during a sex-scene workshop and a filmed sex-scene, with heroic intentions. It is unlikely that heroic intentions led her to silence the “inappropriate” truth of Palestine.

Stop reading if you have already decided this connection, made by the Palestinian American Women’s Association, is whataboutery. Stop reading if you do not believe that women’s rights are also human rights. If you do believe this, you will agree that Johansson currently does not. When the actor consciously dismissed BDS, a campaign that seeks to counter news stories generated by Israel’s state apparatus on its brutal occupation of Palestine, she suspended her belief in human rights. Until Johansson takes one of the many opportunities she has been given to apologise for her profitable defiance of BDS, she cannot be heard as an advocate for human rights.


Stop reading if you believe that it is gracious to overlook the occupation of a territory and noble to forget bodies under military and economic control. You cannot speak, as Johansson did, of a woman’s right to control her own body when the bodies of women, and men, remain under state control. Stop reading if you continue the white Australian feminist tradition of calling for the incarceration of Aboriginal men or of advocating for state control of Aboriginal communities. To save them from “the men”.

Stop reading if you intend to spend this International Women’s Day at a big bank networking lunch.

Stop reading if you found Gal Gadot’s depiction of Wonder Woman sufficiently powerful to excuse her cheerleading of death. Stop reading if you think that the celebration of “women in power!” can be anything but a celebration of unequal power itself.

Stop reading if you believe that Lean In feminism is true justice. Stop reading if you overuse and misuse the term “intersectional” as your free pass to justice day camp. Stop reading if you intend to spend this International Women’s Day at a big bank networking lunch. Stop reading if you believe that the finance sector, Hollywood, the political class, the media class, arms manufacturers, Silicon Valley or any other elite group is equipped or even inclined to represent the many.

Stop reading if you want your daughter to grow up just like Hillary Clinton. For the sake of goodness, get your daughter a better role model. Clinton ordered the devastation of Africa’s most prosperous state. Stop reading if you think that all criticism of war and cruel death should be suspended just because a Powerful Woman ordered it.

Stop reading if you understand the liberation of women to be possible without the liberation of all. Stop reading if you admire the demands by Jennifer Lawrence or Lisa Wilkinson for vulgar, equal paydays. Stop reading if you think Christine Lagarde is magnificent. Stop reading if you find Angela Merkel a true delight.

Stop reading if you would prefer to see no connection between the brutalisation of women and the brutalisation of men.

Stop reading if you do not wish to address the truth that the “gender pay gap” gapes most among Western white high-income earners. Stop reading if you would prefer not to concede that it is no longer gender so much as it is class, nation and race that will determine wealth. Stop reading if you would prefer to see no connection between the brutalisation of women and the brutalisation of men. Certainly, stop reading if you are very white and very eager to make a connection between the premeditated gang rape of a black woman—an act of war—to that time some brown guy didn’t know what you wanted in bed. Or, that time James Franco got handsy in a sex-scene.

Stop reading if you are not now sick to the tits of elite pain. Yes, it is true pain. But, to ignore the background to this pain and to universalise it for all women is not very—what’s that word you keep using?—intersectional.

We’re now entering the fifth “me too” month following the Harvey Weinstein allegations, and I am yet to read a major press account of sexual abuse or harassment in any major employment sector. I am reassured daily that this movement is for all women. Yet, the lives of very atypical women are the only ones described.

Retail, eldercare and healthcare are the sectors where most Australian women labour. Yet, my tiny sector is the one under scrutiny, save for occasional journeys into elite athletics or politics. Again, not huge employers. Do you not think, ever, that these stories about acting classes and hotel rooms and awards nights have been so plentiful, they now fail to empower “all women”? I imagine folks outside my knowledge class hear much more offensive things at work than “I’d like to lick your back.” I might ask a hospo worker if that’s not nicer than anything they heard in the kitchen all week.

Or, I might ask a typical worker—one of those people who earn a weekly median of $662—if they think harassment at work would be easier to counter if they were not at risk of losing their job. As 40% of Australian workers are casual, contracted or self-employed, 40% of Australians can get the sack tomorrow. Women are more likely than men to be of this number. This number is growing, however, and we will close that gender pay gap when everyone is shit broke. In just a few years, those now young and needful of a way to understand the many forms of abuse they face at work will recall the antidote recommended by journalists in 2018. It was to “speak your truth”—an activity, to date, confined to celebrities or their associates.

Stop reading. Keep applauding the powerful. Retain your belief that the USA will start behaving well for the very first time in its violent history.

Perhaps you believe that the guidance to “speak your truth” is useful. Stop reading if you believe that Oprah, the person who advised this so prominently and to such acclaim, would make a wonderful President.

Stop reading. Keep applauding the powerful. Retain your belief that the USA will start behaving well for the very first time in its violent history if led by a person who has so often declared that “Asking The Universe” is the surest route to fulfilment for all. Be your Best Self. It’s all your fault if you’re not. You have chosen your failure. I’m looking at you, Congo. Use the laws of attraction to end your ineffable poverty. And, you, Yemen. Stop thinking negative thoughts to conquer those airstrikes.

You all choose not to be empowered. Except, I guess, when some famous male comic chose this for you. Otherwise, you’re on your own, sister. Those thin cheers of Hollywood’s narcissists, amplified by an obsequious media class, will not last much longer.

Oops. I intended to corrupt your beautiful view of the world no more than I intended to corrupt my view of TV. Stop reading. Just be your Best Self. Tell me how empowering the Oscars were, and how you were moved by Meryl “African” Streep when she accepted a Lifetime Achievement award for her services to the delusions of a liberal, largely white, elite who believes itself to be good. I won’t see it. Telly’s on the blink. Lemons. Lemonade.


97 responses to “Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, Gal Gadot and other reasons to stop reading now

  1. Totally agree. When they all (ridiculously) wore super -expensive black to the awards night, I wondered why the hell they couldn’t have worn dresses that cost less than $5oo and donated the money to a women’s shelter or something. That would have been a political statement, partly directed at themselves.

    1. No celebrity walks a red carpet wearing an outfit they’ve paid for. And while more wealthy people should contribute to charities, it’s the governments of the world putting a choke hold on opportunity for the lower socioeconomic groups. What we need to demand is governments that actually serve the public, and who make legislation on how it will best benefit the country and its people long-term, not how best to serve their wealthy benefactors. National debt is rising in Australia while the mining boom declines, education fees are rising and there’s far too much focus on money-centred professions and too little on technological and creative professions. The SSM plebiscite was a shocking waste of money and the lifting of the ban of propaganda meant that a lot of dangerous lies and half-truths were spread, and caused a lot of unnecessary pain and anguish for the LGBT+ community. Celebrity has become more important than knowledge, experience and work performance, and people accuse celebrities of being selfish with their money while continuing to vote in the government that enables them to do so, and while the Rupert Murdochs of the world remain unchecked. There’s too much jumping on bandwagons and not enough focus on the roots of the issues.

      1. The SSM mail survey was a very mildly shocking waste of money. I’d say the fact that it encouraged many young people to become involved in (at least an appearance of) democratic processes makes it worth the fee. A whole bunch of 18 and 19-year-old people just had their first survey, and their first win. Good. Let’s see what they do next.
        And a mail survey (that did end up producing a legislative result) compared to purchase of, say, an F-35. Which still doesn’t fly. Or fuel rebates for Gina. If we want to impose austerity, we could impose it on the very well-to-do.
        However. Government debt isn’t really a problem. They can keep going into debt for quite a while without debauching our currency. They can print more money (which they do sometimes) and put it into the hands of people, rather than into financial institutions, where it is called “quantitative easing”. Our record-breaking household debt is a problem. Highest in the world, I believe. Most Australians are enslaved by banks. We live to service institutions who decide how much we should pay for houses, and for credit we need for groceries that our regular wages, which have been stagnant for years, don’t buy. (See Ann Pettifor, The Production of Money, if this interests you.)
        I agree, however, to urge for charity in the Peter Singer style is a nonsense. The defence fund for Time’s Up is a nice idea but it is nothing, as you suggest, to widespread reform.
        I mean. Seriously. This money is a small bonus to the legal profession. Not a long term solution for workers.

  2. Okay no reference to our participation to killing innocents via drone, how about this, my issue is that The Issue centers around Hollywood and once equity is achieved then the issue dies.
    How many women Tennis players turn up to picket lines for their sisters.
    It’s the old adage about the actions you walk past, it seems women are plenty blind.

  3. “We’re now entering the fifth “me too” month following the Harvey Weinstein allegations, and I am yet to read a major press account of sexual abuse or harassment in any major employment sector.”

    Here’s one, or something like it:

    I think I can rely on you to relish the fact that the ladies of Ford are also ladies of colour, what with the “working class” so often not being “white” or “male”.

  4. Thanks Helen,

    I made it through!At ‘Oscars’ time I’m reminded of something my father told me many many years ago;
    “The only two things at which the Americans have ever excelled are hotel management and self congratulation.” And I’m not too sure about the hotel management bit…

  5. I would love to say I stopped reading because of the subject matter. I actually stopped reading because of the angry spirit of the writing. Because of my Best Self, someone who doesn’t know the women you target in your article, and prefer to not label them or judge them because of their ‘elite status’, fame and wealth. Honestly Helen, you write like a person who needs to take a break, breathe, and find your Best Self. My Best Self, someone whose history of abuse, poverty, discrimination and various forms of inequality you mention, cannot feel any animosity towards those women who feature in your article. I know they do not speak for me, but I have some ability to appreciate the effort and their use of a specific platform to do so. You do not speak for me or for my experience by attacking others who are raising awareness of abuse in one specific Industry. My Best Self wishes you all the best, and time to think before you hit the keyboard. As for your telly, are you sure the view is clouded because of the cleaning solvents?

    1. I hear what you’re saying Judy Bee but many of these women in the film industry are acting as sexist as any man from the 1950s ever did and are joining an absolute witch hunt. How do we know this? Rose McGowan came out attacking Kevin Spacey within hours of the allegations that were not and still have not been substantiated. As someone who has fought for equality all my life, I am offended that we now celebrate women for being women and demonise men for being men.

      Grandstanding and looking for photo opportunities is not the way to fix a problem.

      1. Shane. It doesn’t matter more, really, that women are sexist any more than it matters that men are. I think this tendency to identify bad behaviour in women (such as, Judy, their “tone”; really think about if you would apply the same criticism to an author you knew to be male. You might say he were wrong, but not that he had the incorrect way of expressing himself) is often used as an anti-feminist reflex.
        And I am not, in any way, anti-feminist. I know there is a need for feminism. So, to address you directly, Judy, this is my problem: the platform itself is not to be trusted.
        Remember just two years ago, Hollywood was all “let’s end racism!” Where did that go? Did they end it? Did they decide the minute Moonlight won Best Picture, their work was done?
        I suspect they did. And I suspect that to trust the very powerful, even that they are able to identify with others with no real power, is deluded.
        What annoys me is that this moment is seen as one of great change. Just as Moonlight was. You can have all the indicators you’d like that racism is more widespread and weaponised since 2015. But, still, Hollywood is satisfied.
        That others can also be satisfied by this moment infuriates me. Justice is not a matter of being represented by the powerful and endorsed by powerful institutions. It must be seized. If justice is given, I mean…I think I made my point.
        I am not discrediting individuals. I am attempting to show that individual emotional acts played out on powerful platforms are short-lived, self-interested and not one nth as effective (I believe they are destructive) as a movement led by the mass, not led by the elite.
        No. I am not “empowered” by a woman who has said directly to the BDS movement, “I will take my money from a soft drink company in Israel and ignore you and your plight”. You simply cannot refuse to help people who have asked for your help and then get to bang on (and elevate your status by using a fashionable cause) about how people need to be in control of their own bodies. Four million in Palestine are rarely in control of their own bodies. If it is not a commitment to justice for all, it is not a commitment to justice. It is a commitment to one’s own class.
        Please. Try to think beyond “Helen is being mean about some people”. I am being mean about the relentless depiction of pain of the elite. Yes. It is true pain. (Although some of the cases are very, very unconvincing and this does not help at all.) Try to think about my key point, which was: the fifth month of “me too” and we are yet to look outside the tiny entertainment industry.
        You may be able to relate to these stories and they may very well help you out emotionally., That’s good. I am genuinely happy that some good has come for you.
        Real psychological good is important. But first, it doesn’t have that effect on everybody (many abuse victims have found it triggering and frustrating). More importantly, second, it is not a solution. A solution would be (as I described) safeguards for workers. Power for workers who will not fear getting the sack when they are abused. This is not happening. Because we continue to talk about the experiences of the few and not the many.
        Maybe re-read? Or, if not, just consider that my critique is not of the women in Hollywood, really. But of the belief that a movement from the top ever does any good. Or that we can all “relate” to stories. No, we can’t. Even if we could, “relating” is just one small part of an enormous solution. And no, I do not even think it is a start. Not if it keeps going as it has been. Another celebrity gardener. Another former soap star.
        Where do you think this will go? A few women will go up against powerful men in court and become absolutely shattered in the face of top dollar Silks.
        Your pop feminists will keep saying “be strong!” still absolutely certain that their own industry, media and entertainment, will help everyday survivors.
        This moment has become very ugly. The Ansari stuff has completely derailed it. If Spicer and McClymont has decided to take a non-celebrity approach in their investigation and go beyond their own industry, they could have helped a bit in Australia. But, unfortunately, they see their own industry as very important.
        Rest of us are a bit suspicious of media these days. It’s not just me.

        1. Helen, I find offense in using Scarlett Johannssen’s refusal to discuss BDS campaign in order to prove your point. The way I have interpreted your article makes me feel that you are using the current #timesup movement as a means of voicing your own political views on foreign policy rather than focusing on the arts/ entertainment industry, which is what I believe Daily Review’s main focus is.
          And for what it’s worth, YOU may think that the BDS campaign is a worthwhile cause however in MY eyes the BDS is a discriminatory campaign against Israel used by anti-Zionists who claim that Israel is the reason behind the Palestinian’s pain and suffering. They use Israel as their scapegoat rather than looking inward at their nation’s own wrongdoings and the fact they have a terrorist organisation leading their country wasting foreign aid and valuable resources on terrorism and violence against Israel (as well as their own people) rather than education, healthcare and rebuilding their infrastructure. The Palestinian women’s bodies are not being ábused’ by the state of Israel but rather by a mysogensitic, violent , terror-inducing government that are on par with the Taliban.
          Therefore, if you have issues with Johanssen’s comments about Franco, by all means rebutt and rebuke away, however please don’t use her actions as a link to another situation which is not connected and very much two-sided and not as black and white as you have portrayed and seems to justify a very malicious, nasty and ruthless campaign.

          1. Sharonne.
            I’m afraid I can’t agree. To be very clear, I understand the history and the need for the establishment of a Jewish state. I despise antisemitism, which I see is on the rise.
            None of this has anything to do with my distaste for the control of bodies, whatever colour or faith these happen to be.
            I dispute your claim that Palestinian culture is particularly sexist. I remind you that the chief Rabbi for the IDF made comments in 2002 which justified the rape by soldiers of gentiles.
            This has nothing to do with him, or Bibi, being Jewish. It has everything to do with an imperialist state. Israeli policy in Palestine is not Jewish policy.

          1. Didn’t take long for a pro Israel, pro Zionist (paid) troll to jump on and paint Israel as the victim (again). Never before in history has an occupier (abuser), land stealer (imperialist/settlers) and apartheid loving state has turned themselves into victims. I was hoping that at least 1 person would come on here and raise the concern of Ahed TamimiI? Why is there virtual silence from international feminism, human rights liberals, #MeToo campaigners et al over the brute incarceration of the young and brave girl, in a cold Israel cell, openly threatened with rape and murder? Ahed slapped an Israel soldier for raiding her home for the 3 rd and for an Israeli soldier shooting her brother in the face with a rubber bullet (disfiguring him). Disgusting, horrible and the endless crimes of the Sate Israel. Racism pure and simple.

  6. the ‘gender pay gap’ is 13%
    1st world vs 3rd world ‘pay gap’, 83%.

    keep up the good work helen. sadly you’re the only one with any voice in australia saying this stuff.

  7. Not having a TV has given you time to reflect but has poisoned your values.
    The antidote is to buy a bigger TV and then watch it twice as much as you did before.
    The old feeling of being at the center of things that matter will return. This I guarantee

  8. Thank God, a strong voice who can write who is fed up with the “bravery” of those who follow like cowards. As a man, I have been shouted down for noticing the predictable, sexist narcissists (including those who remember things often as they were not) that are about to make 2018 the new 1958. Glad you could speak up for me.

  9. Thanks Helen – an excellent contribution to this usually one-sided debate. Your comments are like oxygen for me……. again, many thanks.

  10. It’s difficult to know where to begin when responding to this scatter-gun drivel. How about the ‘devastation’ that Hillary Clinton wreaked on ‘ Africa’s most prosperous country’. Any evidence Helen?

    1. There is a link in the text to a foreign policy journal. It details the economy of Libya before and after Secretary Clinton ordered attack.
      The Clinton-led invasion of Libya in 2011 has been documented well. Even Obama has expressed his regret. Read this in the conservative publication, Foreign Affairs.
      This famous footage gives us an indication of Clinton’s delight.
      She has just learned that minority Islamist forces, whose protection was her rationale for the devastation of an oil rich state, had assassinated her fresh enemy. By sodomising him with a bayonet.
      This matter has been widely reviewed. Since Libya became ungoverned, it has exported terror. Perhaps you remember the Manchester bombing. Even if you elect not to recall Clinton’s defining crime as Secretary.

      1. It’s a fact that Gaddafi and his sons had been ready to surrender and be tried in the Hague (related to me by someone who was there). Clinton actively prevented his orderly surrender to enable the rebel forces to exact ‘justice’.
        Gender has nothing to do with the ability to address power nobly. Or the opposite.

      2. Thank you Helen for the Libya links. They might make people think before supporting the constant harassment of North Korea, although from what I understand it does not have all the enlightened economic, social and democratic principles of Gaddafi’s Libya.

  11. I gotta tell you Helen, you make my day, I look forward to your original, working class perspective on the Nicole Kidmans et al! Working class women so often overlooked and neglected, struggling to hold on to their livelihoods, are the sisters who will save us, but we need to support each other,and not be sucked into popular folklore of the ‘great stars of film’, gotta know whivpch way the wind blows. Love your writing, keep going!

  12. Hmm. That’s 2 pieces in the last week I’ve actually enjoyed. With fear of it all being over-egged in the end, more please.

  13. ” That is: were all Millennial women raised never to tell a sexual partner “this isn’t working for me”,”

    It’s a good question Helen. I felt so uncomfortable about that episode. So unseemly, and the woman involved being lionised as brave for being so weak. I shuddered to think of the times I have been less than perfect in sexual congress, and all the times that means I was an insensitive and foolish and abusive man, when I just thought I was struggling to pick up signals that I was desperately searching for.

    And for the rest of this, such a wonderful list of gross hypocrisies that trouble me greatly, that burden me every day as I get out of bed, and weigh in my mind all night until I have to get up in the morning and carry them again, all day. N wonder I feel so tired, wherever my energy is pushed it must be, by definition, supporting a corrupt regime.

    There is no answer to this. We just need immense periods of deep reflection, and come to realise that we have been living wrong for so long, it’s hard to know exactly where it went all sour. We need a revolution, in politics, in economics, in socialisation, in the corporate world, in understanding the concept of sustainability and living it, in every possible way.

    I remain, shattered.

    Same same.

  14. Helen, I didn’t stop reading. Thank you for articulating what I have been thinking. I feel less lonely now. It’s ironic that privileged Hollywood women who have set the feminist movement back decades, regularly posing as pathetic fashion objects at awards ceremonies are now using the same forum to claim they are fighting the good fight! In solidarity they wear designer black gowns. And why is this witch hunt environment considered a positive thing? 1984, The Handmaids Tale, The Cruciable. Where is the wisdom? Thank you, Helen.

  15. Helen note how many fellas express the delight at finding a woman to speak for them… you. Cool piece of writing but I can’t help thinking that you have chosen easy targets to shine the light of truth on..,, actresses… no other women, silly white women, out of touch, self serving..,,

    Let’s stop patronising working class women, we have faught every second of our lives to survive and are not as stupid as you think. We are totally aware that the big girls in big black dresses are in the moment feeling empowered and in control, over zealous and self congratulating. Poor men have suffered 5 months of having to check themselves, think about the actions being misinterpreted by women, they dont know what they can say anymore, terrified some rampaging women will accuse them next.., what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty.? no justice…. well mofo’s why do you assume that men deserve justice, that you have a right to justice, you assume it because you are used to having it. What about the billions of women (not in Hollywood) who have survived despite the control the dominant culture, state and church have had our choices, our bodies, our access to education, economic or social equity, what do we know of justice? Woman up! 5 months is nothing women have had to suck it up and somehow survive your cultural empiralisom for centuries… and does anyone find the witch hunt rehtoric just bloody intellectually laziness? …next we will be saying the royal commission in to child sexual abuse is a witch hunt….

    Maybe the rest of us mere mortal women are enjoying the girls in Hollywood using their elite privilege to speak about justice for women, even if they are politically naive or may very well not need or deserve the protection they are demanding but the rest of us do….and you are right Helen these women cant speak for all women but you bet your bottom dollar, they too are waiting for the blacklash..,,which will be tusnami of hatred when the power is handed back to blokes of Hollywood. But we can all be thankful that everything will return to business as usual and there will be a bunch of new girls on the block to scratch Harvey’s back.

    1. I have no control over who finds solace in what I write.
      It is, I agree, unfortunate that there are a few comments made be people with male user names here that seem to have just read the bits which say “feminism has problems.” They interpret this to mean that there is no reason for feminism and that women are just banging on.
      I don’t have control, either, over who finds offence in what I write. It’s unfortunate that you seem to have misinterpreted my jeremiad as both condescension toward working class women and unkind to the “easy targets” of Hollywood.
      I’d ask you to read it again as I have advised those apparently male users to do. It is not anti-feminist, what I have said here. It is a statement about how great power never trickles down.
      It questions the receipt of wisdom from mainstream media and Hollywood. And, no. Many of the women named here (who will never read my blathering) are not “easy targets” nor are they exempt from critique.
      Especially Johansson. Do you really think the Palestinian women who boycotted her speech had no case?
      Think I should not criticise Clinton, Merkel , Lagarde or any other purported feminist icon who has acted against the interests of many?
      I am glad you feel personally cheered by this moment. That is good. It is good for you to feel better. I would prefer that you and everyone lives better. This moment will not achieve this. This moment will stop real change. Is my view.
      Make things look better. By these means, you obscure reality.

      1. Me Too is an opening salvo Helen. It took a hundred years for women’s suffrage to be achieved in Britain, 50 in Australia. If we all support this movement, we may be able to tick off one more thing that will make our lives better now. Not just for actors, not just in America but for women everywhere.

        In a way, a rights movement like this couldn’t have had a better strategy than having such popular and loved public faces bringing it to the world’s attention.

    2. “well mofo’s why do you assume that men deserve justice, that you have a right to justice, you assume it because you are used to having it.”

      Seems you’ve bought the lie that rights are the exclusive property of the privileged.

      That’s what your sentence above says.

      Justice is for everyone, whether you like them or not.

      I also think you make a lot of assumptions about Razer, whether she’s working class or not. I recommend reading her recent book Total Propaganda. Think you might be in for a few surprises.

    3. Sad. The only ‘tusnami’ of hatred here is yours. The me too thing is odius and repulsive and when the tusnami comes it will be deserved.

  16. If he didn’t earn 50 times more than anyone really should I would feel so sorry for Aziz Ansari, who by the reports of one young woman had to endure a date from hell a few years ago. Did anybody at the papers read what she said before the sub editors added their ‘accused of sexual misconduct’ headline? I believe we should focus on those cases where a report was made at the time and an employer did nothing. On so many of these other matters I don’t think anyone who wasn’t there can really get a sense of what happened. Clearly there is a lot of sleaze out there, but I find underpaying a few hundred hamburger makers a few thousand each far sleazier, yet I don’t see mass indignation, or mass boycotts, we almost expect the downtrodden to be ripped off. Watch a TV sales channel for an hour and see the sleaze as the uneducated are parted from their money. Surely individual’s sleaze is not as profound a thing as corporate sleaze, oh a shiny black dress, sorry I forgot my thread…. keep going Helen!

    1. The real message to be found in Ansari’s accusation is the sleazy sensationalism of The same Babe that prints ‘You’re about to become an absolute sex demon next week — and you can blame it all on the moon.’ and even then has a readership of only around 4000. I suspect the Ansari article was to give Babe more exposure.

      Ansari himself, when replying to the Babe article finishes with, “I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture (Me Too and Times Up). It is necessary and long overdue.”

  17. How refreshing to hear it, to read it from the perspective Helen Razer brings to this discussion. She is able to clearly present all of the arguments that I would wish to bring to my conversation – especially the hypocrisy abroad in Hollywood and the celebrity class. I could have stopped reading the article for all the reasons HR suggested, but then I would have failed to be suitably primed about the issue!

  18. I didn’t stop reading either, normally I stop reading because there’s too much BS.
    Not today. Thanks. I’m going to research a few of the points you made for my own edification.

  19. great article Helen. I too have been finding it difficult to fathom how naming and shaming a list of elite celebrity men within a social media ‘echo chamber’ is going to lead to any sort of meaningful behaviour change or dialogue between men and women.. I wait with baited breath for the definitive list of correct male behaviours to emerge from twitter

    1. Que? I adore Clem Ford and I LOVE this piece by Helen Razer. Being challenged to be better is A Good Thing, even if – nay, ESPECIALLY – if it hurts; we white, cis, het women have a LOT to answer for and a LOT to work on. Bravo, Helen! This is a fantastic read, thank you.

      1. Hi, Kim.
        I am glad you are ecumenical in your reading!
        But, this piece is not a challenge to be better.
        While Ms Ford’s work is largely an address to the individual who wishes to feel more empowered and is predicated on the idea that individual awakening is the beginning of a feminist future of “equal opportunity” rather than one of equality (her only criticism of capitalism is that it makes women buy stuff) mine is not.
        This is not an address to make a particular category of people be more moral. And it is not a blow exclusively at white cis women. It’s not about guilt. It’s not about you being better. It is not about the individual. It is about the political landscape.
        There are plenty of white cis women who have nothing to answer for, in particular. Members of the ruling media class who spread ruling class ideas like “we need more inspirational individuals to help us all feel inspired”. They’re doing wrong.
        Unless you are one of the people working to exclusively focus on the media and entertainment industries while failing to engage with the many (which would include loads of white cis women) you don’t need to be better. You just need to think about what justice means. If you fancy.

  20. Helen Razor makes many strong points, but to dismiss the powerful women of the world does a disservice to women generally, as the powerful women are but the thin end of the wedge of change. They highlight inequity generally. To pick on individual hypocrisy is oxymoronic, as we are all rendered hypocritical by our state of reality … our affluence and our inaction. Sorry, Helen, but you are implicated too. Your article will not get you off the hook.

    1. No.
      No. No.
      Lasting change for the powerless is led always by the powerless. Not their glamorous associates up the top.

      1. Name me one revolution led by the powerless, Helen.

        They were led by the intelligentsia: Lenin, Mao, Castro, Martin Luthor King, Gandhi, Eddie Mabo -by those who could formulate and communicate a dream for a better life. That’s real power, that can move whole populations forward.

    2. “Sorry, Helen, but you are implicated too. Your article will not get you off the hook.”

      Nah, wtf is that?

      How generous you are, Simon, to excuse the powerful’s hypocricy declaring, “to dismiss the powerful women of the world does a disservice to women generally, as the powerful women are but the thin end of the wedge of change. They highlight inequity generally”, to then dismiss Helen, the tireless, consistent, warrior of the powerless, who is not so powerful, due predominately possibly, to her generally unpopular opinions on the powerful, who constantly highlightis inequity SPECIFICALLY, and finish off with accusing her individually of what, hypocricy? Oxymoronic indeed.

      Trickle Down social policy fan are ya? Well then I hope it’s not lost on you Simon, that all of the speeches were broadcast on pay TV.


      1. Thanks Helen for your insights; I remember Germs Greer in Female Eunuch saying that a rich white woman has more power than a working class male. As for the points you made about Palestine and our indigenous population, we had an Israeli ambassador get off the plane and congratulate Australia on its successful policy (like his own country) to control aborigenes. He was too outspoken and was immediately returned home.

  21. It seems to me that those who stopped reading are the root cause of the problem; and I’ll bet quite a few of them are men who dressed in black at a particular awards ceremony.

      1. Exactly. The issue not consenting adults. It’s the power imbalance of a man or woman in authority who uses that power to sexually bully employees.

        It occurs in all industries and relationships. So if you are “yet to read a major press account of sexual abuse or harassment in any major employment sector.” I suggest you are not looking.

        Here’s some:

        Business has its own slant on sexual harassment in the workplace – it costs them money.

        The ACTU of course has been on this for years and even has a site for schoolkids, And many other reports and articles such as

  22. This is probably one of the best things I read in a long time. It brings back feminism from the red carpet to its real roots: inequality and economical power. And the need to remember that only a collective subject (not a couple of illuminated leaders) can actually lead a change.
    Nice words and appealing speeches are empty if they forget that feminism should be one of the legs of a bigger movement that looks for equal rights with no distinction of gender, race, religion or social class.
    I’m glad I found this article, and I’m eager to keep on reading Helen’s work.
    My sincere congratulations!

      1. First of all, I apologize for my writing, since English is not my first language, but I’ll do my best to reply to your comment.
        Thanks for the link to the article: it’s quite surprising at the same time, because as per my knowledge, that kind of things didn’t happen there (I’m from Argentina and currently living in Mexico, both Latin American countries).
        But two things caught my attention there: 1. “We have come to a certain level, we have a big awareness around gender equality, but the petitions and women coming forward show that there is still injustice. And women claim justice – that is what’s happening now,” she said.” In Sweden, at least, they are aware of gender equality, they do have legislation about gender equality, but there are injustices, probably because the law is not fully applied (maybe because one of the parties has more… power?). So, even now, they are a step ahead of us (Latin American countries). And 2. “Pascalidou noted, however, the movement so far focused on women of privilege. “What I miss, with [my] working-class background from the poorest suburb in Sweden, and a mother that was a cleaning lady, what I miss are the voices of the voiceless,” she said. “But they will hopefully come.” Cute. Nice. Let’s hope that the voice of the voiceless will be heard, someday, somehow… And those are precisely my questions: When and how?
        Don’t get me wrong: I do condemn the harassment and humiliations these women went through, and I’m pretty sure they are in a better position now to get the justice they deserve than before. But, in my opinion, the fact that these men felt they were entitled to their coworkers’ body is about power. Gender differences are not divorced (allow me the use of this word, please) from power differences. And that is the point it is necessary attack: power and where it comes from.
        When I talked about a collective subject, I was thinking in Hector Oesterheld, an Argentinian writer who went “missing” during the latest dictatorship in my country (he was killed by military forces, but since his body was never found, he’s considered missing, following the logic: no body, no crime). He said in one of his works that the hero is never an individual, but a collective hero. What I feel when a I read about the #metoo is that it’s not a collective subject, but only a movement for white-privileged-first world-women (ironically, it was started by a black woman, but this is how appropriation works…). Even in my country, the women who adhere to the movement (mostly, actresses or celebrities) never talked about the inequalities that come from different backgrounds, and such a complex subject is reduced to a woman vs man issue, which is neither useful or accurate. By the way, the moment you start to “count people”, it’s the moment the notion of “collective” disappears.
        After reading Helen´s article, I remembered the first time I heard Nicole K. in the Emmys, shouting to Reese W. something like “this is a friendship that created opportunities out of a frustration because we weren’t getting offered great roles. So now, more great roles for women, please”. I thought in that moment: “Welcome to the world”. A world that does not pay enough to both men and women in the lowest working class (is still valid to talk about classes?) but also makes difference in the most privileged classes (1 million vs 2.5 million a movie, or whatever). Honestly, and call me mean, I think these actresses the only thing they are afraid of is getting old in an industry that does not allowed them to be old. Unfair, yes. But good for them, because that industry also allowed them to have their own production companies. To be honest, I truly enjoyed “Big Little Lies”. As I enjoyed Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella or Maleficient. It’s kind of a fairy tale: a beautiful house and a monster inside. Good they could kill the monster. Most women in the world that are trapped in domestic violence are likely to die. And as lower the income of the family is, the incidents of domestic violence worsen.
        And then you have Oprah in the GG. One of my coworkers who is Afroamerican once told that to those Afroamerican that spend a lot of time with white people are called “Uncle Tom”. Of course, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” gave me the first glimpse of slavery in USA, so I almost felt outraged by his comment (silly me). Oprah mentioned Recy Taylor and that was a race crime, not a gender crime. She was attacked for being black, not for being a woman. Being a woman only determined the kind of aggression she would receive. Having been a man, he made have been hung or beaten. This is a quite interesting article I found:

        What I really expect from a feminist movement is that they address all differences based on power relationships, because that is one of the basis of the feminist movement. And in Hollywood hands (or celebrities’ hands) it may become trivial. Or a trend, like the red ribbons a couple of years ago. Feminism in Hollywood reminds me of Reese W. with her pink beret and a red star in Legally Blonde 2, symbolizing revolution (yes, I saw it… I’m guilty).
        Having said that, I really hope this movement evolves in a bigger movement. But if doesn’t include minorities and overlook the differences in social class (can I use it again?) and only focus on gender, well, I’m afraid that in the end, white rich man will be replaced by white rich women. And that would be all. Maybe some changes in legislation regarding sexual harassment at workplaces. Although most of the problems can be solved now if you have a phone and a social network account: record it and load it, and you will get instance justice. And later, you can sue the harasser. Of course, if you have the money to buy a good phone.
        Have a good one. 🙂 And sorry for writing this much.

        1. Thank you for taking the time to write an extended response. Your English is excellent. I absolutely agree with you. The issue here is the power imbalance of a man or woman in authority who uses that power to sexually bully employees and job applicants.

          I would be easy to think that #metoo is not a collective, but only a movement for “white-privileged-first world-women” because that is what the ‘witch hunt’ misogynist backlash against Me Too has been publishing all over the net. I was shocked to see it even on a socialist site although most socialist and union sites thoroughly support Me Too.

          If you look at the Grammys, they were not all rich whites; there were many blacks, Hispanics and others. Many were not rich, although the richest by far was a black woman who had every right to say me too after an early life of poverty and severe sexual abuse.

          I also recommend that you read Salma Hayek’s Me Too story of her experiences as Mexican female film maker trying to get a film made about communist Frida Kahlo in sexist, capitalist Hollywood.

          Me Too and inequality in wages and opportunity for women have the same root cause but it’s impossible in a capitalist society to fight on all fronts at once. I often hear that because some actresses are rich, most aren’t, they shouldn’t be listened to when they speak on women’s issues. The logic of that escapes me. Why shouldn’t women fight for the same wages and opportunities in the acting industry as men… and have a safe workplace?

          I’m surprised at the demonization of Oprah by Charlie Peach, that has so far been the province of white male misogynists. I cannot find anywhere in her speech where Oprah says that the rapes of rich white women were the same as Reccy Taylor’s. Look for yourself. I wish Charlie Peach had.

          Choose any country and I’m sure you will find a Me Too movement, some such as Brazil started long before America.

          The Hollywood version of Me Too did one good thing. It bought the attention of the whole world to the problem of sexual abuse in the workplace in a way that no amount of protest has done. Now it is up to us to continue the fight in whatever way we can. But let’s not fight amongst ourselves and let the misogynists win.

  23. You know. Up until now, these ‘privileged’ white women have been mostly like all the other women of the world; born to a life of childbearing, childrearing and domestic service, largely to a single man within a patriarchal society. I know, these are banal observations. One may even call them ‘truths’. But we haven’t really changed. It’s all smoke and mirrors. Women will NEVER be equal because equality still measured upon a man’s terms; ‘lean in’ etc. Helen doesn’t care about the individual in a political sense, she sees structures and I get that, but it’s ok to discuss the individual too, don’t you think? This whole wave of metoo is still trying to shoehorn women into a man’s world. Ain’t never gonna happen honey. The most interesting thing is never discussed: how can we be free women, actually truly women – is it a woman’s ‘nature’ to put others first, to be nurturing, compassionate, selfless? Fuck yes, our bodies and millions of years of evolution have made it so. I cried when Jesinta Ardern announced her pregnancy as the youngest and second female PM of NZ. I had my ‘go girl’ moment. But I also know the searing bond, the leaking painful breasts, the constant waking in the night – often just before the baby wakes. Being female is both anima and animus. We are both (XY) and men are only a single way of being. We have so far to go, but I don’t even think we possess the language for what we ‘want’ yet.

  24. Helen, we are all of us on our own, sister. Grow up girl. The world isn’t fair. Some of us have loving parents who support us through our early life to the best of their ability. Rich or poor some of us have terrible lives of early abuse and degradation. Some of us here in Australia are white or Aboriginal or whatever we may be and live in this country of ours being generally safer than just about everyone in the rest of the world except from the violence perpetrated on us by “our nearest and dearest”. On the other hand some of us are tortured in Chinese jails. Some of us are killed in North Korea for just the hell of it at the whim of our leader. Some of us are tortured by the Russian secret service because of our ethnicity. A lot of us starve to death because the dictators running our countries are building their own fortunes at the expense of work and food for the ordinary people. There is disgraceful behaviour and injustice everywhere.
    Value any person who has the courage to speak out against injustice! If you are poor you will always be vulnerable and you will always need to have more courage to manage the adverse consequences of speaking out. That is a reality. You will need the strong and maybe even the “elite” of some kind or other to speak out for you. Thank you Abe Lincoln and all the rest of you. If women or men of power in our society start conversations promoting fairness and humane behaviour toward women I don’t give a shit about who is wearing black dresses, about polemics from overseas political movements or the correctness of other political issues that are not relevant to women’s rights in Western democracies where I live. To conflate these things with the subtle and unsubtle wrongs that women in my own society suffer daily is wrong. Neither you nor I or our fellow readers can make the world fair and just or change the horrendous fate of so many of our fellow human beings. Sadly we all suffer on our own, one at a time, and even in the best of worlds neither you nor I will eliminate suffering and unfairness. Lets not belittle the efforts of anyone trying to make life better for more people who are suffering injustice right under our noses. Do much more than that if you can but don’t belittle those at last doing some bloody thing that might effect change. Let’s see if anything does change!

    1. On our own ?
      Like islands?
      What no community ?
      No social interactions or negotiation.
      No social contract ,law or rules?
      No Co-operation with each other?
      No social influences or forces ?
      Good luck with that.
      Always collective action to get change.

    2. “Thank you And Lincoln.”
      Goodness. Someone needs to brush up in Black History Month.
      Black people in the USA were “saved”, in 1865, were they? That’s news to many.
      And the war itself had nothing to do with the financial competition posed by the south, and everything to do with freedom?
      What can one say but, “Grow up girl.”
      Your post is without logic, knowledge of history or anything much but a liberal line of imperialism. Enjoy your Driving Miss Daisy marathon.
      I truly give up talking to those who refuse to accept that the powerful act on their own class interest.

      1. Nit picking Helen.

        Margie is right. All, men and women, rich and poor need to support the movement against sexual bullying in the workplace and that includes the entertainment industry. By not defending the men and women who speak out, rich or poor you are effectively supporting the perpetrators whom, if you haven’t already noticed, are often capitalists in positions of power over their victims.

        The few, such as Geoffrey Rush, and Aziz Ansari who may have been unfairly targeted, are not accusing the complainants but the media such as the revolting In fact Ansari said in his response to the allegations, “I continue to support the movement (Me Too) that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”

  25. Some people need to read the article again. I agreed with every point you made. Usually, something in your articles makes me yell abuse at you through my device but this time you hit every mark.

  26. If there is to be real change in the world, it’s not going to come from those who believe that equally rich means equally loved. These two kingdoms can never form an encompassing alliance, as duality demands inequality for former to exist. ‘Equally rich’ is the biggest of all oxymorons, and ‘equally loved’ comes only through the absence of richness altogether. Those who lead from the top are incapable of seeing this truth. Their eyes are blind to the understandings of those who don’t worship the great money god. As long as they see money as love, they can never be the motivators of real change.

    The #MeToo movement pulls at the heartstrings of the yearning wannabes, but lacks the spiritual wisdom required of true leadership. Oprah may well be the right candidate for the first female president, not because of her ability to bring change, but solely because she fits the bill to become the latest in a long line of rulers who know nothing of our true inner nature, but everything about how to make money for herself and her starry-eyed followers.

    While powerful women are quickly taking up the mantle of losing their inner humanity, to join the powerful men who fell before them, I still yearn for a true earth-born woman to rise from the ashes of the human race, to lead us out of vanity and back to the loving of all people-kind. If there was once a male representative of God who rose to show us the way of Truth, perhaps there can also rise a female representative to show us the way of Life. Until then, I have no faith at all in anyone born of this capitalistic world, who tout limited riches as our saviour, rather than the limitless love of our hearts.

    1. “I still yearn for a true earth-born woman to rise from the ashes of the human race, to lead us out of vanity and back to the loving of all people-kind.”

      What would such a woman look like Dan, a mother goddess who was born to an unmarried teenage mother. One who was so poor she wore potato sacks to school in rural Mississippi. One who suffered beatings, and so much sexual abuse from three male relatives, she ran away when she was 13 and fell pregnant at 14. As she grew up she experienced prejudice, bullying and discrimination. Yet in spite of all that, through education, hard work and preaching humanity on screen, she became Oprah.

      In his book Dude, Where’s My Country?, Michael Moore praises Oprah Winfrey for being the only mainstream media to show antiwar footage two months before the war that no other U.S. media would show.

    2. “The #MeToo movement pulls at the heartstrings of the yearning wannabes”

      The #MeToo movement started with ordinary people – not celebrities. It was in fact an improviser from Austin that started the hashtag and many ordinary women were on board before Alyssa Milano saw it and amplified it. But by all means, lets continue infantilising and discounting the voices of the millions of brave women who – under no obligation – came forward to share their personal, traumatic and vulnerable stories in the hope that finally someone, maybe might listen.

      Trust me – as a friend of that Austin improviser and someone who shared in #metoo as it erupted, there was nothing ‘wannabe’ about it. But perhaps those of you so keen to kick the boot in to the elites missed that the movement is largely led by ordinary people because you’re too busy watching the celebs.

  27. Agree with almost all you say Helen. They may be the 0.001% but like it or not stories about celebs make news (= sell advertising) and stories about the rest of us mostly don’t. And just occasionally it does have a wider effect. Kylie wasn’t the first woman in Australia to have breast cancer but it led to a significant upswing in women getting tested which hopefully means a better outcome for many non-Kylies. And all the metoo publicity at least means many more people are now discussing this than before which also may eventually lead to a change. Maybe.

  28. The unions need to be paying more attention to this. When the actors/theatre workers went public with allegations on C. McLachlans ‘s behaviour I wondered to what extent their Union was involved.
    Particularly salient when it came to the point where their employer claimed they had not lodged any complaints with them.
    Always a good idea to have an advocate representative with you .
    This is the role of those grand old working class institution the Trade Unions. Obviously begs the question of The now tenuous and nonexistent relationship of the Unions to the workforce particularly in small businesses where employees are isolated and low paid and thus difficult to organise.
    I would assume this is high on the agenda of the ACTU under the leadership of one of the women whose words I do pay attention to along with your good self -Sally McManus.

  29. You make some good points Helen, but I wonder about your incredibly conservative assertion that with the Aziz Ansari case #metoo has gone too far.

    I disagree – I think it is an important widening of the conversation to finally speak of the very different conditioning men and women get around sex and the very different expectations we have as a result of destructive and shaming socialisation. I found this article a far more nuanced and intelligent take on this issue –

    You ask: “were all Millennial women raised never to tell a sexual partner “this isn’t working for me”” and seem blind to the fact that answer is largely – probably – yes. You make no allowances for those of us raised in religious or culturally conservative settings in particular for whom shame around sex absolutely has disconnected us from our own bodies and thwarted our ability to speak up in our own interests. You completely disregard the socialisation that makes pleasing a male partner or at least keeping him happy primary for many women. Do we seem fragile to you? We’re not you know but from your comments I think you must find us very silly.

    But the thing that bothers me most about the way you speak on this issue is how you just chuck every woman into one bucket – not distinguishing the many different women who are feminists and who are part of #metoo. The movement didn’t even start with ‘elites’ as you put it – although perhaps their voices are so loud you didn’t hear the millions of other women who are also speaking up and who have felt empowered by this movement. You ask why is nothing changing anywhere else but how could you possible know that? I personally know of women who have acted to challenge harassment and abuse in their workplaces that they would not have before #metoo.

    That aside – your post almost assumes that if we found Oprah – for instance – inspiring, then we must also be inclined to support Scarlett Johanssen’s rejection of the plight of Palestinians. That if we thought in fact a positive move that Hollywood women are starting to fight back against the system that creates so many of our mass-digested stories (and therefore impacts culture), then we must also support Hilary’s attack on Libya or not support working class women or women of colour or not understand the need for deep systemic change.

    I found that you made some great points in this piece but once again you lost me with the tone which I found a judgemental, vitriolic attack against other women (rather than the system itself). You explained yourself in fact much better in your responses to the comments here than in the piece itself.

    1. Hi, Vasiliki.
      Leaving aside your possible misuse of the term “conservative” (in this case, you are using it to mean “a position I do not find palatable”) let’s move on to your other concerns.
      First, I lack nuance. Well, consider that you may overvalue “nuance”, a quality lacking in most works of under 80,000 words. Jumping ahead to your not-unrelated critique that I see all feminists as one, here.
      Yes. Blah blah blah. Feminism and the female experience is a “broad church”. Yes, certainly. There may be many kinds of feminism. It’s just that mine is under-represented, whereas yours has coverage in every major news outlet. Liberal feminism and the liberal media that upholds it has little truck for the “broad church”. I am doing my little bit to show the diversity of feminist views. My view happens to be that liberal feminism, the dominant feminism which seeks to change nothing about the world save for sexism, is not diverse.
      Yes, women who are not famous participated in #metoo. Yes, the hashtag comes from community worker Tarana Burke. But feminism itself comes from the ground up, yes, and, like many other apparently political movements, it is quickly stripped of its power by a culture industry eager to sell itself on this basis. Have you ever seen pictures of the old Virginia Slims ad campaign which depicted liberated women of various ethnicity smoking in a liberated way? Did you ever see the Torches of Freedom campaign of the 1920s? This was the brainchild of the father of advertising Edward Bernays, and his move to appropriate the political urge of suffragettes in order to sell cigarettes was very successful.
      As for finding women silly. I find people in general very silly. We’re peculiar, no? This is a source to me of endless awe. For example, I find it a bit silly that you have taken my critique of Grace, a knowledge class Brooklyn gal who gets invited to awards nights parties, and Cat Person, a knowledge class New England girl whose fictional self is promoted by the New Yorker, and said that I am ignoring women from particular cultural backgrounds. FFS. This particular cultural background is white US knowledge worker. I say “posh rich white girl”. And, yes, I do think that this WASP background and boho present *may* predispose women to a particular view of their bodies. I say, or imply, that it’s a class thing. Women of elevated classes may be more interested in pleasing men than others. This is not, in my experience, how many working class women of Anglo-Celtic/European/Asian traditions (the girls I grew up with )were raised. This is not how many Millennial women of my acquaintance were raised. They were, and remain, frank with me if we are close about their impatience with a dud bash.
      Now, I know this is not the case for everyone. I know many women are taught to venerate men. But, not all of us. Hardly. In fact, I’d say white working class women, especially those of Irish background, take it further than not caring so much about men’s pleasure and actually deride them for their incompetence.
      So, let’s agree that the experience is diverse, shall we, and not read that awful thing in The Week which reduces the socially marked body to biology. Awful. What an awful piece of “nuance”. An article that believes it is unfair that women’s bodies HAVE NOT been sexually medicalised as much as men’s. (By the way, the author does have discomfort with the word “nuance”. So I did enjoy that bit.)
      Let me say, as I do often, that I feel genuinely sorry for your pain. I have also experienced pain. I have been fairly paralysed in the face of violence enacted by a man, too.
      And it is for this reason that I think a little problematising should be added to the conversation.
      Will we fix it by accepting a media campaign? Will we have the power to change things if we allow that power to be diluted by powerful interests? I say not. I also say the conflation of every single “women’s issue” into one great lump is destructive and sexist. Say, for example, the pairing of sexism with sexual abuse. Are you certain the two things are as closely connected as you say? Are you really?
      And, conflating a perceived feminine inability to enjoy sex (I would here advise to anyone reading that having sex with another lady is surprisingly pleasant; political lesbianism was a good choice for many second-wavers) with sexual abuse? What’s the good in that? It’s actually harmful. Separate the issues. Is it abuse or is it a “natural” lack (somewhat emboldened by the social) as described in that awful, awful piece from The Week or is it that Aziz and Grace are just two pricks?
      You can’t just say, “I’ll put that in the rape pile”. This is such a temptation of contemporary liberal feminism. If you say that everything is connected to rape (and this is the claim) then you automatically get to win all arguments, and address very few issues. None, possibly.
      As for Oprah. Her speech just sucked. It was empty drivel. Understood politically. If you want to paste the words on your vision board, I guess it was okay. But it is otherwise empty rot that makes Personal Goodness a substitute for political action. And, yes. I think the failure to understand this is consonant with the failure to see Johansson’s hypocrisy. I do not mean that you eat Palestinian babies if you like Oprah. I just mean you are afflicted (“you” as in “one) with liberalism and all its stupidity.
      Please. Try to engage with the writing and do not claim always to be hurt when confronted with claims you don’t like. It’s not always personal. Sometimes, it has to be entirely political.

  30. I’m confused how these hollywood women, who have been historically leaders of the cause against women’s empowerment ie: dressing to please men, going naked on screen when it really wasn’t necessary except to please the male audiences, taking on gratutous roles in a male dominated workplace etc are now celebrating what? the very next event after the black dress affair they were back in their plunging necklines and body exposing dressing – what is empowered about that? Because women aren’t enjoying seeing all your private parts and their are plenty of exquisite dresses that don’t over expose any sexual organs. They don’t realise that empowerment in a man’s world isn’t empowerment at all.

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