WARNING: The following descriptive image may be found disturbing. If you do not find the next course of the action at all repulsive, then you might be part of the problem for its occurrence.
Kneeling is symbolic. Kneeling has become a gesture, whether conducted in an act of praise under the towering roof of a church or to someone’s partner taking a knee to propose a lifelong bond of love and mutual financial support on a special evening. When someone gets down on one knee, it is considered a great sign of respect; even if it is in front of the anthem of the United States, kneeling is admiration for a cause or a body. That person has lowered themselves to the dirt to show their respect.
Apparently in Hollywood, kneeling shows no respect but forces it. Kneeling in Hollywood can get someone a job.
In the entertainment industry, an up-and-coming actress can meet with a man assigned to her movie and give herself up on her hands and knees for the role. For work, a woman can get down on her knees and offer her own body against her will to the one who decides everything. This fictionalized woman can disrespect herself to follow her dreams. She is not only violated by the perversion of a potential, successful employer, but completely dismissed for any of her ability to perform the role on her own accord without doing a male a favor.
She is now disrobed in more ways than one, exposed of her clothing and her skills.
But she is not alone. One of the largest producers in all of Hollywood, Harvey Weinstein, has invited countless into his private suite in the Four Corners and gave them similar offers. He is just one of many men who’ve used their platform this way. Even as of today, actresses continue to come forth about their experiences with sexual assault in the industry, whether their stories relate to Weinstein’s accusations or from the dirty remarks of another in a position of power.
With one accusation came a rush of many other Hollywood voices and women from every corner of entertainment in statements made today and the ones caught on video are all coming forward together.
Even with the sheer number of these horrifying recounts, some men still ask why. Why did they wait until now to speak? What kept them silent? Why must they point their fingers at this hard-working man like this?
Harvey Weinstein lost permission to be a hard-working man trying to make a living the final minute he allegedly closed his hotel door to trap a female acquaintance for the first time.
Let’s return to kneeling for a moment. We know how much some of these men like to talk about controversial kneeling. Colin Kaepernick has been facing severe backlash for seating or taking a knee during the national anthem of his last year of his NFL career. Kaepernick faces more direct conflict, from the criticism for protesting the country itself to now disrespecting the soldiers who fell for the flag to be flown.
But like stated before, to kneel is to show a sign of respect and Kaepernick’s respect was placed towards the lives of black men who died at the hands of police. It was not a disrespect to those who served.
Like the victims of Weinstein, Kaepernick’s cause was almost silenced by voices whitewashing his protests into the NFL against the administration and his celebrity status as a professional athlete making him into the image of a man who cannot sympathize since ‘he is detached’ from the everyday man.
Colin Kaepernick was never asked why it happens, it was asked why he had to do it.
Entertainers are told to stick to what they are good at despite being part of our country; celebrities are told what to do and how to act like they are no longer part of the rest of the world they reside in.
Why didn’t the women come forward sooner?
First, a quick Google search will tell anyone that there were a few cases where early victims tried to but media and other actors quickly bypassed any accusations Weinstein then received. Weinstein was Hollywood, their place of business, so how could they allow their business to be shown this way? After all, it wasn’t happening to them.
Yet that question remains in the mouths of most men who don’t want to know the answer: why didn’t these women come forward? Why did they all choose to act now instead of at the times of these attacks?
Well, other men. Men don’t have to worry about their superiors coming onto them and ask for any kind of sexual pleasure, just for being female. Their careers aren’t endangered by the mere thought of opening firsthand about their experiences, whether it is a role in a film or a role in anymore films ever again.
Not to mention that a poll done by ABC News shows that more than half of average women regardless of status have experience with unwanted sexual advances with a third of those turning into sexual abuse.
The article also mentions the bone chilling statistic that 95% of the men who are accused often go unpunished, even if something is proven. Abusers can walk away and continue to force themselves onto women because society allows them to. Men who ask why don’t women come out earlier, who dismiss accounts of assault and demean the victim instead of the action, are why women stay silent.
That unnamed, imaginary woman from before who wants to act, the one who was pushed to hard hands and knee to put herself on display because the man in front of her had the key to her future, may not even get a lead on her assault case if she chooses to fight the trauma and come forward. She gets asked why she didn’t do or say something to her abuser instead of asked why or how it happened to begin with.
The viral trend of #MeToo only further proves how quiet women have been forced to become, regardless of financial power or not. Countless men and women used the hashtag across social media to signal that they too are a number in the statistic of assaults a year. An article from the Guardian tries to talk about why more people haven’t been outspoken of Weinstein’s involvement in the business. This article highlights bystanders, primarily men, as a potential reason for its continuing spiral. It references how these insiders can use their voices without the same risks that the victims have, such as being painted as envious of their male peers or hysterical women ‘just as women are.’
One voice earlier this month had been brave enough to start to pull back the curtain Hollywood was carefully tightening over the horrific line of women that Weinstein greedily lit fire to. Like #MeToo, several voices chimed in and helped pull it back even further. The scores of female voices, the men who now begrudgingly admit to knowing of even the smallest Weinstein rumors, give power to the claim the higher the number climbs.
Even when Colin Kaepernick answers the press after the third game of sitting during the anthem, the other side still asks why he did it that way, not why his cause happens?
As Mark Shields once said, there is always strength in numbers.
It remains hard to argue with straight numerical facts, especially when they range in higher ranking no matter what the study is. A few accusations will make no progress when a number like 95% exists for an everyday woman, but an army of upset, tired women who are willing to speak out and use their platforms to finally put an end to their trauma are going to join the ones who start the real fire.
The next time a radio host wants to criticize the Weinstein story or any of the women attached to it for audience review, why don’t they ask the real why in the story: why are sexual harassment and abuse of power over women allowed to happen in the first place?
But that would make me, a female, asking ‘too many sensitive questions.’