What’s Current: #MeToo has outed at least 414 high-profile executives and employees

What’s Current is Feminist Current’s daily news round up.

Harvey Weinstein
  • According to a study, at least 414 high-profile executives and employees in various fields and industries have been outed by the #MeToo Movement in 18 months. TIME reports:

“Among the 414 people accused, 190 were fired or left their jobs. Another 122 have been put on leave, suspended or are facing investigations since December 2016. For about 69 people, there were no repercussions. In recent months, the rate of accusations has been slowing but the percentage of people being fired has increased, Temin said.”

  • At the Aspen Ideas Festival, Lise Eliot, a professor of neuroscience and the author of Pink Brain, Blue Brain, said, “The brain is a unisex organ… There is absolutely no difference between male and female brains.”
  • Australia’s Federal Government will introduce legislation no longer allowing self-represented litigants to cross-examine their victims in cases of domestic violence. Attorney-General Christian Porter said:

“There is no question that ­directly facing a perpetrator or alleged perpetrator of family ­violence compounds the trauma of that violence and can also ­impact on the ability of a victim to give clear evidence in legal proceedings.”

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, I-D, Truthdig, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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  • Kathleen Lowrey

    & the Kokanee Grope, too.

  • Meghan Murphy

    They say seven were women. Like, lol please.

  • Cassandra

    Infuriating, isn’t it?

  • -Jane Don’t-

    There was an issue with sexual harassment at my job, so now we are having a whole quarterly meeting themed on it in the fall. I’m annoyed that they’re touting it as a “how to create a positive work environment” type of theme as opposed to saying what it is. Why they didn’t change the theme of a meeting when #metoo was in full force is beyond me.

    I’m ashamed to say I’ve been verbally harassed by coworkers at these meetings, but I never said anything because I didn’t want to be “that person,” and I’m still pretty new. Also, I’ve had much, much worse said and done to me in the past.

  • Alienigena

    The #MeToo movement to me is connected to the human tendency to worship powerful people, people with influence, people wanting to start their own personality cult (e.g. personal trainers or fitness empire builders, ugh) or people with an expertise. A person with an expertise is not necessarily a moral person as a recent story about a physician who had many accolades proves.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/janke-alert-child-exploitation-charges-sylvan-lake-1.4728644

    Ethical behaviour in academia seems to be limited to a concern around convincing research ethics committees that you are not doing anything that will violate their rules. It doesn’t mean that the people conducting the research are ethical or that they deal with their students, spouses, children, or the community in an ethical manner.

    Until people start questioning power dynamics I am not convinced that these situations (between powerful men and women with little power) won’t keep arising. Having alienated a lot of men over my lifetime (just don’t like them, as people) I don’t really get the desire to be close to them or to impress them. And I am now unwilling to ally with women who seem to be in the ‘oh, the poor menz’ camp. I have met these women everywhere including in feminist organizations.

  • Jani

    I believe I’m witnessing a lot more challenges to third wave fluffy feminism by a younger generation. There’s a greater respect for radical feminism from this new generation that I haven’t seen in a long time. Whether this gathers momentum remains to be seen but I’m cautiously optimistic. These young women don’t want to put up with all the misogynist shit that’s going down, and let’s face it, there are so many out-and-proud misogynists finding each other online who think threatening a woman’s safety is some sort of fun sport.

    My take on third wave feminism is that it’s very much founded on consumerism. It’s the ultimate conformity. The role of women today is not to be the wife/mother/homemaker, it is to be a good consumer. I shop therefore I am, and so on. Women spend a lot of money on clothes, cosmetics, shoes, bags, beauty treatments, hair, nails, eyebrows, hair removal, fashion magazines, and on and on. Almost all of which is not necessary to survival but are nevertheless vastly profitable. Women are portrayed in movies and sitcoms laden with shopping and lusting over shoes, and that’s the portrayal of the successful woman. Ultimately all that time and money and earning power are given over to the futile pursuit of being attractive to men (and being the envy of other women). Third wave feminism is more about the right to shop and only makes sense amongst pampered, affluent western women. Do third wave feminists actually CARE enough about the conditions their clothes are made in (by women working long hours for a pittance)? And do they even care enough to find out in the first place?

    I read the dumbest article on a third wavey site about wearing red lipstick, how it was “feminist” and empowering… well, that’s what I THINK she said, she used a lot of nonsense words to say practically nothing at all. She wears lipstick? I mean, who cares if she does and who cares what colour? It’s not actually doing ANYTHING except buying and consuming.

    But all that aside, sexual assault and harassment pre dates third wave feminism, as we know. I was just a 13 year old kid when I experienced my most traumatic and life-changing assault so it wasn’t anything to do with dressing to please men or anything like that. Sexual assault is the ultimate in female disempowerment, so if a woman feels vulnerable in her “sexy” clothes and heels, that’s actually disempowerment she’s experiencing. It annoys me when I hear women say that wearing heels makes them “feel sexy” and then complain about their feet hurting. As if being in pain, and being unable walk properly is “power”. No. Don’t kid yourself! Getting s guy’s attention is a very fleeting false power. What happens to that “power” when nobody is looking? So, I agree. There’s a lot wrong with this third wave stuff and that there’s a lot of man-pleasing in it. My only consolation is that some women will actually move on from this naive fluffy pink “feminism” to the real deal.

  • Jani

    What Lierre Keith says is absolutely correct and I’d say around age 11 is exactly when unwelcome adult male attention begins. As a society, we are still not providing girls with the information and tools they need to negotiate the patriarchal landscape. When I was a teenager, I’d see soft porn-type models wearing school uniforms and sucking on lollipops, hair in pigtails, etc etc etc. I’d get comments from adult men saying things like “ooh, on your way to school now?” when I was quite obviously walking to school. We’ve become more aware of men who predated on kids and as a society we now take a dim view of paedos. Even so, there’s this “teen porn” crap and it’s still fetishising kids with lollipops and pigtails and teddy bears, so you have to question how much of the good work is bring undone by the Male Masturbation Industrial Complex that produces this shit.

    Oh god, yeah, that nonsensical language on those third wavey blogs, trying to decode so much NONSENSE made-up jargon, and all the disclaimers they throw in. Cis this that etc. I stumbled upon a few by supposedly well known third wavers but the content was laughable. One of them only ever wrote about HER eating disorder and HER latest sex toys, and this is someone who shows up on respected podcasts etc. From what I can tell this “sex positive” so-called “sex educator” had only recently discovered how to have an orgasm because presumably she spent her adolescence with her head down the toilet so she was a bit late to the table. (And I don’t mean Judy Chicago’s table, I doubt she’d have a clue who Judy Chicago is.) In other words, she was just another pampered, moneyed brat who had no clue about anything other than what went on in her own little bubble. To think this passes for “feminism” these days….,
    That’s why I really hope the new generation of radicals will kick this nonsense to the curb. Sometimes I despair at how the clock is going backwards.

    What you say about make up and feminism, I also say about clothes and fashion. That firstly, we can express ourselves, adorn ourselves, decorate ourselves, AND be feminist. Male clothes aren’t automatically neutral or asexual just because they’re worn by men. Colour, pattern, texture, embellishments, etc aren’t necessarily a deviation from what’s neural/practical and conventional for men. I once had someone confront me on FB (he is typically confrontational in his manner) when I posted some photo/text images by Barbara Kruger from her Face It series. One said “This luxurious garment won’t make you rich or beautiful”. Another said “This fantastic outfit is really ridiculously overpriced”. My (male) friend was going “So you think we should all wear uniforms made out of sacks?” completely missing the point the series makes about consumerism. He didn’t get the point, that expression isn’t dependent on how much we spend or wearing labels. And unfortunately we have this big business called “fashion” and it’s all about buying and consumerism, to the extent that we’ve lost the idea of adorning and expressing ourselves and instead express ourselves by making a show of what we can afford to buy. That guy probably would wear an old sack if it had an Armani label and a steep price tag. I was a fashion student many years ago and I have a love/hate relationship with fashion. I can’t stand the fashion industry for many reasons but to create something that adorns the human form that becomes more like a moving sculpture can be incredible. I still have many issues regarding dress and feminism too.

    • Yes. To everything you said, basically. I was particularly moved by the following assertion:

      “As a society, we are still not providing girls with the information and tools they need to negotiate the patriarchal landscape.”

      Exactly, and women collude in the oppression of their daughters by openly or covertly supporting a wide range of patriarchal practices which have come to define “true womanhood.” An example would be mothers encouraging their daughters to become cheerleaders, a practice which will involve them engaging in athletic activities while wearing revealing clothing. The message is mixed here, and I think that you can appreciate the complicated, convoluted nature of the issue given your background in fashion. Whenever women attempt to assert themselves outside the prototypically patriarchal sphere of “woman=sex, woman=body,” their attempt to prove that they live in strong, capable bodies is tempered with the ongoing need to bare flesh in a manner designed to engender male attention. Cheerleading is a sport. Football is a sport. Why are the girls, not the boys, wearing revealing clothing if the primary purpose of each sport is to display bodily agility? The answer is that any realm that involves women or girls is constantly being appropriated as a site through which to sexualize us.

      The sexualization of young girls with the pig tails/lollipop/school theme is ongoing. One can also note how there’s an attempt to invert this perversion by suggesting that adult women can and should behave in the passive, sexually vulnerable manner of these young girls by wearing similar garb as a Halloween costume and in other realms. (We can see adult women in the kiddy costumes through music videos and various other systems of patriarchal power.) The purpose of the patriarchy encouraging this type of garb in any female is to ensure that our bodies are always available to men. (One of my favorite radical feminists, Monique Wittig, points this out in her important book The Straight Mind.) If you look at the cover of Britney Spear’s Album “Baby One More Time” (with the red blouse and blue jean skirt), you’ll see how the “girlish/childish/innocent” disposition is displaced onto a teenager for the purpose of creating a staged, perverse mode of sexuality marked by complicity/vulnerability/availability. This appears to be culturally normative as I see this depiction over and over again on billboards, commercials, etc. One purpose here seems to be to reinforce the idea that no woman is “off limits.” Adult women are represented as innately childlike and passive creatures (not independently thinking individuals who might be disinterested in or disgusted with male attention) who welcome advances from mature men who will “take care of them,” and little girls are already sexual entities who want to comply with men. This is the mentality being created, circulated, and sustained not only through the world of images, but almost all ideologies and institutions that are operative in daily life.

      Your assessments regarding male clothing are accurate and astute. You point out that “Male clothes aren’t automatically neutral or asexual just because they’re worn by men.” Exactly. I would even argue that the fact that many of the clothes marketed to men are loose rather than tight works to convey a sexual message. Women=sex by wearing tight clothes depicting their bodies, and men=full human subjects whose sexuality is about pursuing women-as-sex rather than being-sex-as-a-male and being-looked-at by displaying the body to women through various corporeal stylings.
      Thanks for your response. 🙂

  • Michael Gullion

    You’re avoiding my question. Do you think it is ok for careers to be ruined based on unproven accusation alone, in some cases not even revealed to the person accused? You weaken your argument by going Ad Hominem. Any thinking person will recognize it as coming from weakness of argument. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong. Describe how I’m wrong. Insulting me helps my credibility, not yours.