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There was a time in America when women were neither the breadwinners nor a large part of the workforce. The cult of domesticity dictated that women stay at home and not work outside of the home. This durable philosophy of “true womanhood” further ordained that women should be more religious than men — pure of heart, mind, and body, as well as submissive to the men in their lives. We were not allowed to vote, own property or have credit of our own.
The gendered laws that cemented those realities are off the books but many of the attitudes, customs and desires remain. Segregation into lower-status jobs, denial of asset ownership, exploitation of physical labor and sexist propaganda that judges women by youth, weight, and beauty are but a few examples.
In 2017, the Harvey Weinstein scandal makes clear that sexism is alive and well. Combining bullying with sexual extortion, the Weinstein-style sexual predator styles himself as a pimp. Indeed, Harvey Weinstein used sweet-talk, bribes, depraved violence, and women’s paychecks to obtain sex by threat.
The ability of Harvey the film mogul to make or break careers is legendary. The overwhelming horror of this chronic exhibitionist masturbator and diddler was not enough to trigger a correction until thirty years later. A man built like a hairy pineapple sought to fulfill his selfish ambitions to be a “lady's man” at all costs.
The outcome of The Weinstein Company scandal represents a shifting kaleidoscope of needs – both business and personal.
Let’s examine why: The troll bridge
The sexual harasser sets up the workplace so that he can misuse his power to the max. Male privilege thrives on segregation of women into less powerful roles. A woman can be a writer or producer but rarely, if ever, the head of the film company. Though beautiful actresses and news presenters are the lifeblood of film and TV news, they are paid less than male counterparts and exploited in ways that go beyond business. Part of the set-up is that businesses creates a façade of following the law; a culture of misogyny hides beneath a mask of beyond-reproach workplace standards.
Greta Van Susteren (@greta)
"Sex harassment classes can be a way a corp tries to hide having 'looked the other way.' $$$$$$$$$$$$$"
The company a sexual predator rules is the toll bridge he lives under and harnesses for his pleasure. Anything that serves his ego and libido is A-OK. Just like in the Norwegian fairytale “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” the Harvey Weinstein is the troll and you are the scapegoat who must pay the toll to get the role. It’s absolutely sickening to hear Youtube Truthers like Paul Romano and “old-school, fuddy-duddy, second-wave feminist” Mayim Bialik saying that harassment and assault are a consequence of the victim’s own failure to prevent it.
The Harvey Weinsteins of the work world drive a granite-hard, singular bargain: they can destroy your life and career or you will become their sexual slave. The sexual predator doesn’t ask; he demands. If you want your job, he shakes you down for sex. From hostile work environment to obscene comments to all-out rape, sexual harassment is about control and exploitation comparable to that under chattel slavery. The Harvey Weinsteins of the work world drive a hard singular bargain: they can destroy your life and career or you will become their sexual slave.
Workplace sexual predators count on not only your shame and silence but also their lawyers and their cult of paid-off minions. The harasser’s best case scenario is that you blame yourself for trauma at their hands and that you keep on putting out, cooning, and buck-dancing for them. You’re supposed to get Stockholm syndrome and become “trauma-bonded” to your abuser. You’re supposed to stay. You’re supposed to like it and want it. Just like with Bill O’Reilly. Just like with Sandusky.
One hears certain actresses names whispered in connection to “long-term arrangements” for their own acting success and Weinstein’s “happy endings.” Each of these women got turned out, strung along, and rewarded. It wasn’t about one job; it was about her career and livelihood.
None of the women were special. None of these arrangements were new. Just Lather. Rinse. Repeat.