By now you’ve probably become well acquainted with the ongoing slew of sexual assault allegations against big-time Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. The running list of women who have claimed some degree of sexual misconduct on Weinstein’s part over the past 20 years include Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Many people, men and women, famous and unknown have been quick to denounce Weinstein and his behavior. However in taking a closer look, the rationale given amongst many high-profile male actors for finding Weinstein’s scandal despicable, shows how pervasive poor rhetoric and lack of empathy are when dealing with sexual assault against women.
Many men are using some version of the phrase “As a father of daughters . . . “, to convey their disgust. They’d say, “I have daughters, so this is appalling …” or “Now that I’m a father, I really find this disgusting …”.What’s the problem? Well, empathizing with the absolute horror of sexual predation, should not be contingent on you having a daughter. As always, Twitter was quick to jump on such poorly thought out comments:
For some people, deep rhetorical analysis of these males’ explanations may be considered ~extra~. These men are simply expressing their feelings from the perspective of a father right? But here’s the thing, obviously we know that these men don’t condone Weinstein’s actions, or presumably those of any other individual who chooses to sexually abuse women. Yet, this rhetoric shows refusal to acknowledge sexual abuse against women, until it could potentially be your daughter. You can call it mincing words, or reading too deep, but in the end, sexual assault is the abuse of power and position against people – whether or not they are/could be your daughters should be irrelevant, and you should be appalled regardless. I’m with Twitter on this one, let’s retire the phrase, and not just be appalled, but do something about it.
By Malki of Feminist JAMMS