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Harvey Weinstein

The Weinstein Watershed

Masculinity

What the verdict means culturally, for men...

The conviction of the Hollywood producer is a watershed in both legal and cultural terms. 23 years, a life sentence for him essentially. It feels right, and unequivocal.

How many thought he’d get off? We thought he might, not because of any potential innocence but simply due to the money and power he has wielded in the past to cover the tracks of his predatory behaviour. But no, not this time. Even the Untouchables like him can be brought down.

Is this the end of the #MeToo era? For the last two and a half years this social media tag turned campaign has created revelations revealing the vast scale of sexual harassment and abuse that women have to face. It’s not just been actresses and Influencers, but women from all industries, all walks of life, all ages.

With Weinstein’s conviction it feels appropriate to suggest that this should be not just a new beginning for legal cases but a cultural new start – for men.

Otherwise it may just become another celebrity scandal.

Of course not all men are like Weinstein, but most of us, surely, at the least, have witnessed some form of sexual aggression amongst the people we know which has made us uncomfortable (not as much as the women involved we should add). Often some of it comes with power and the resultant ego, but not always. Because we are brought up in in a system of male dominance when it comes to power there is learned entitlement to behave with a degree of impunity. Well, that dominance is undeniably shifting with rising equality and it’s time for men to get with the new world, this shared world.

One aspect is a revamp of what is and isn’t acceptable with regards to behaviour towards women. We know this. We know what’s right and wrong, only the true monsters don’t know where the line is, or rather, don’t care. But it’s not just true monsters perpetuating a culture of oppression via sexual aggression, there’s plenty of it by people who do it because they think they can get away with, and because we live in a society which suggests women are there for the taking, and that your status as a heterosexual man is often dependent on your ability to do just that, and to push your luck every now and then. These are the learnings we gather from peers, family, colleagues and permissible public space behaviour.

Now it feels we should discuss these things as men together, and not because we’re being told to by women!

#MeToo is not women’s business, it’s all our business.

Once again: it’s not all men.

But: all men can help make the world a less threatening place for women.

You imagine there will always be men like Harvey Weinstein, but other men can make sure the likes of him don’t get to operate for so long. Bystander syndrome should be locked away with him.

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