Tuesday, October 17, 2017

VIEW: Harvey Weinstein. Quote. Unquote.

Alyssa Milano  #MeToo
 A View by Beth Abramson Brier

Grateful to have something scandalous to talk about that (for once) didn’t arise from the Oval Office, along comes Harvey Weinstein.  While he is “rehabbing” somewhere in Italy (seriously?? pizza and Prosecco??), the rest of us are left here at home placing blame and pointing fingers. Fox Business News accused Gwyneth Paltrow of being a ‘complicit fraud’. 

Always baffled by “Fox Speak”, I used my still-sharp-crackerjack- lawyering skills to look up the definition of “complicit”.  (Note:  You too can do the same without paying wildly expensive tuition but I wanted to get my money’s worth so I consulted a legal dictionary.)   The definition is bland- “Accountable for a criminal offense committed by another due to previous knowledge of other crimes”.  That didn’t tell me much so I looked it up again, this time mistyping so that autocorrect led me to the definition of “complacent”.    Complacent- “Marked by self-satisfaction especially when accompanied by numerous actual damages or deficiencies.  Also see ‘smug’, ‘self-righteous’ and ‘unconcerned’. Ah, now we are getting somewhere! Or are we?

Critics of Gwyneth, the “Goddess of Goop and Jade Eggs”, will no doubt be quick to label her and her brand ‘self-righteous”. But what responsibilities do Paltrow- and others in the enviable positions of power -have to those who struggle behind them?  To call her “complicit” puts her on trial without the fabu trip to Italy.  But is she complacent?  (See above.)

Soon after the Weinstein story broke, the clothing designer Donna Karan rushed to comment and blamed women for dressing provocatively.  Her words:  “asking for it”.  Although she later regretted her statement and made an anemic attempt to deflect backlash, it’s difficult to not think “smug”.  Stay tuned for the 2018 DKNY Spring Collection featuring long-sleeved, high-neck schmatas.

But what about the group of women with whom I had dinner last night? We have been friends for more than twenty years but never once discussed our shared experiences of harassment in our early careers.   How did this never come up before? We found plenty of time to talk about our husbands, our children (Note: call if any of you are reading this) and, yes, jade eggs.  But harassment?  Each of us highly successful in a variety of once male-dominated careers, we endured it, even accepted it, and two decades later are we “complacent”?  “Complicit”?  Perhaps we need a long weekend get-away to Tuscany to discuss.  

So where do we go from here?  It’s time to step up, put on our pink hats, and talk about harassment.  Perhaps the gorgeous soon-to-be-ex-wife of Harvey Weinstein, Georgina Chapman, will help us when she writes her tell-all.  And just maybe the First Lady will weigh in.

About Beth: Beth Brier is an attorney cum aspiring screen writer. She is currently best known as a long time customer loyalty card holder at ShopRite.

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