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Antisocial, Social Media: A Response to Comments on "Post-Weinstein" Article

My article on post-Weinstein and Social Media has received many compassionate comments, but also a few disparaging ones. When writing it, I knew the reception could be hit-or-miss, as I do speak out and alongside the MeToo campaign. It wasn’t just something the entertainment industry needed, but also greater society.

Certain viewpoints were “don’t turn this into ‘pity the poor men’”, and “women have had to deal with it for ages.” It was hard to advocate for the dissolution of hyper-masculinity, when it was met with “that’s meninist!” Across Australia we’ve had a new campaign of adverts, they’ve been subtle, but powerful. They have spoken out against “boys will be boys” in relation to knocking girls down in the hallway or playground. The child then turns to their parent and says, “so it’s okay for someone to hit me.” The parent is railroaded and comforts their child, “that’s not what I meant.”

When my son receives unwanted attention from a woman (or a man) in power, or is assaulted/harassed in a sexual way; am I to turn to him and say, “that’s a female issue, not a male one.”?

No. Because it was MeToo, not UsToo. It was a powerful campaign meant to be inclusive of all genders, because individuals in the industry were taking advantage of those wanting to progress their career. The truth is, assault and harassment on any spectrum should be defended and a voice given to those who are too frightened to speak up — regardless of gender.

Instead, defending a man’s experiences with sexual assault and harassment meant I inherently believed women are unintelligent. I’m a survivor of such acts, and men have told me stories of theirs after the article was published. Stories of rape in gay culture – loosely tying in with the acts of pedophilia conducted in Hollywood and the disgusting antics of Weinstein.

My views, morals, and compunction to speak for the voiceless has come from the many strong, opinionated, and vivacious women who have been in my life. It is also from them that I’ve learned to be compassionate, retrospective, and open-minded.

Gender is a social construct, but compassion is universal.

  • Hi Joshua, You are breaking ground with your voice and please keep in mind that your article may save many boys whose parents may previously not have been vigilant to look for signs of abuse. While parents can't always protect their children from the harsh realities and abuses of life, they can stop anyone from prolonged exploitation. Even if there is pushback, the action is still worth taking. I loved your article and hope to write my own on freedom of speech sometime this year. Munjeera : ) – Munjeera 6 years ago
  • Thank you for being so honest and sharing your story on a public platform with us. Many others would stay silent. Masculinity is wildly different than femininity. However, both men and women are victims of sexual assault. Members of the LGBTQ community are especially ignored. You have an amazing piece here that tells your story. Personally, I will always support victims regardless of their gender. I hope you remember that there are women who feel this way. I enjoy a follow-up article, but this topic is so unique it deserves its own platform. I would rethink the title. – Emily 6 years ago
  • I think it's important that one group of people is not ignored or maligned in an effort to hear the voices of another. As a woman, I have had to deal with factors that men usually do not. I was telling my husband today that women often carry the fear that unwanted attention will lead to something potentially violent because we know we can be physically overpowered. It is good for men to hear that, so they can understand where we are coming from. However, it is equally important for women to hear the voices of men in the areas where they struggle. It is called valuing people. – tclaytor 6 years ago

How do we deal with famous artists' history of misogyny?

Renoir claimed that he "painted with his pr*ck" and chastised his female models for appearing like they were "thinking too much." Picasso was a known womanizer, with multiple mistresses one after the other while actively avoiding divorcing his wife in order to prevent her from gaining half of his net worth. Rodin refused to marry his life-long mistress, hooked up with Camille Claudel who eventually went mad and was confined, destitute, to a sanitorium after her affair with him ended. Yet blockbuster exhibitions of these artists, such as the worldwide #Rodin100 exhibitions at over a dozen museums this year, continue to laud the genius of these "great men", without even a nod to their misogynistic personal histories. If men should be standing up and talking about how they will change in the wake of #MeToo, are there ways we should change in how we talk about the historical men who perpetrated abuse upon the women in their lives?

  • A really interesting topic. I suppose part of the issue is separating the myth from the truth also, because it is also important to consider the context of the period when even though artists often portrayed themselves as "free" they were heavily reliant on the support of their patrons, and ultra-masculinity was a trait that was accepted and admired, note that artists of the period that were tainted by the brush of being "homosexuals" were often less lauded publicly. However, that said a lot of this does not account for the ongoing reiteration of these men's misogynistic behaviours as either acceptable, or worse part of their their "genius". A complex discussion to have, but a worthy one to highlight this need to consider the social cost of lauding the unacceptable. – SaraiMW 7 years ago