The questions being asked about what men are going to do to change their behavior in our post-Weinstein world are misplaced. There isn’t anything that they can do short-term that will turn the ship around. They are too ensconced in their own confusion, shame, and defiance to turn on a dime. The question should be, “What are women going to do?” Gal Gadot (yes, the one who played Wonder Woman) is the first high profile woman to answer that question by wielding her power as Wonder Woman, literally. She’s won’t work unless accused predator, Brett Ratner, is removed from the project. Gadot’s decision has gotten coverage, but journalists continue to ask men their opinions. It puzzles me.
I read yesterday’s New York Times article about Marc Maron’s internal struggle with Louis C.K.’s behavior. My first reaction, despite my positive feelings for Mr. Maron, was “So what?” What male comedian A, who is friends with male comedian B, thinks of male comedian B is of no interest to me. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s relevant to the current conversation about gender dynamics in the workplace as a whole, nor the entertainment world specifically.
I’m tired of hearing, or reading, about men who, as commentary on the victimization of women as described above, bemoan their fate as:
- Hapless victims of their own gender biased upbringings.
- Sweet, dumb lugs who saw something but didn’t say something because, at the time, they didn’t think it was their business.
- Sweet, dumb lugs who saw something but didn’t say something because they didn’t want to screw up their careers.
- Repentant opportunists who climbed their respective professional ladders on the backs of others, but now see the error of their ways. And they’re really
It’s very nice that you feel rotten about what you did or didn’t do, guys. But, as my best friend in elementary school used to say, “Sorry doesn’t mend a broken doll.” Stop talking about your life pre-Weinstein and let us know how you plan to change the system moving forward. For all of the hand-wringing, confessions and self-flagellations on display, I have yet to hear any ideas about how to own, and change, the male side of this situation.
On the other hand, women seem to have processed what’s going on with alacrity and have already put the wheels of change in motion.
Women know from their long history of “If you want something done, do it yourself” that there isn’t any time to rest on laurels (although being on the receiving end of admissions of criminal activity can hardly be categorized as “laurels”). The only option is continuous movement forward and, maybe most importantly, zigging when the Tobacks, Weinsteins, Wentworths, et.al. expect women to zag.
That’s what Gal Godot has done. She’s moved forward without much evidence of hesitation and intelligently used her available resources to best advantage. Gadot has demonstrated exactly what women’s number one, real, necessary step is to gaining ground in this scenario; hit anyone who is unfairly holding you back in the wallet.
Here’s why Gadot is smart:
- She knows that our culture has not and will not change overnight.
- She knows that the hugely profitable franchise will not continue to be hugely profitable without her in the lead role.
- She knows that many entities stand to lose astronomical amounts of money if the film doesn’t move forward.
- She knows she’s in a business, and business (sadly) isn’t about ethics. It’s about money.
- She knows that all those other entities couldn’t care less about Brett Ratner if the choice is between solidarity with him and making a killing on the next Wonder Woman movie.
- She knows that is the best way to prove a point…women aren’t safe for all the reasons we know, but men aren’t safe either. If anyone is faced with the choice of defending a pal, even if he isn’t a rapist, exhibitionist, groper, whatever, they won’t do it if there is even a whiff of a possibility of losing money.
Marc Maron doesn’t have millions of dollars to lose. His stakes in the game of “name the predator” are low. Louis C.K. has not called on Maron to defend him. And yet, Marc Maron has volunteered his censure and distanced himself from his friend. Imagine what would happen if he did have skin in the game. It isn’t personal, it’s just business.