It seems that I am now officially obsessed with the Roman Polanski insanity. As I’ve gone further down this rabbit hole I find my compatriots on the internet to be with me in force but others who I expected to hear from are just silent.
The silence is deafening. Where are my feminist leaders on this issue? Leaders are supposed to lead. They are supposed to be out in front on issues, especially one as big as this. I guess this could be another funeral marker for mainstream organizational feminism which for some reasons has been mostly silent. The only person I could find yesterday was Katie Buckland (and I heard Susan Estrich on NPR) who runs the CA Women’s Law Center who said this to the LA Times.
Most troubling to me is that people just don’t understand the impact a crime like this has on a 13-year-old girl, and the fact that he has made some fabulous films is utterly irrelevant…It sends a message that the rich and powerful can get away with crimes that no one else can get away with.
Other feminists and organizations are starting to get on the band wagon, but in my humble opinion they are really late.
The Women’s Media Center folks released a statement: “The rape of a child is at the heart of the case. That is not disputed, and should not be represented as subjective.”
Robin Morgan said this: “Simple. Child abuse is child abuse. Rape is rape. One justice for all. And Woody Allen defending Polanski would be hilarious if it weren’t so sick.”
Gloria Steinem is sadly out of the country and I really believe she would be kicking ass on this, but hers is not the only voice we need.
NOW is working on a statement and their president is talking to the media. Whoopee.
But no one in Hollywood, — especially the women — is talking, so here am I little niche blogger going on the record big time about this. You know what’s scary to me? That conservatives are agreeing with me. Do you know how much it pains me to say that? Why the fuck aren’t the progressive people standing up to this, and more importantly why the fuck are progressive people standing behind him?
The growing petition list makes me want to wretch. I’m thinking the issue touches close to home for many a director who has probably employed the “casting couch” and may have committed an action similar to Polanski’s sometime in his career. Plus, I’m sure there is pressure being applied to people to get on board and support the artist. (wink, wink) The good news to me is that I can’t find a single American actress or director (I am not counting Debra Winger’s rant at the Zurich Film Festival) on the list. But there are European actresses and American male directors on the list.
I know that Hollywood is a scary place to speak out about things, especially about women. This fear has allowed a culture of misogyny to take root and to spread its tentacles all over. The thing about the Polanski case and why it is resonating across the country and the world is that lots of people don’t like the double standard that Hollywood is showing here. Hollywood is liberal when it feels like it like with the environment, but not when it comes to women. It’s safe to drive a hybrid but not safe to hire a female director.
In my gut, I believe that the women of Hollywood are appalled by what is happening. The fact that they are silent is a reminder of how little clout they have. I know there are feminists in the business and I believe deep down that if they would do something they could. But that is the exact reason why they should speak out because one day someone they know, or someone’s daughter will be in a situation that is harmful and no one is there for her.
We can use this moment for something bigger than just throwing in jail a 76 year old man who was a coward all those years ago. We can actually start a conversation about how women are treated in Hollywood and in the world. Girls are trafficked, and are raped, and are denied schooling all because they have two x chromosomes.
Here’s the deal. The world is watching Hollywood and what they are seeing is not pretty. Maybe when this becomes about money and not art then someone will stand up and say something.