As the Harvey Weinstein story continues to rip through all media channels and abuse is hurled at the Hollywood casting couch phenomenon I am wondering how all this stuff is affecting the male of our species?
I have noticed that more often than not men are cast as the villains, the abusers, the wife beaters, the rapists and the pedophiles. Even in the lighter romantic novels like sloppy old 50 Shades of Gray which gripped the nation the male was a depraved sex beast who used various forms of sado masochism to arouse his virgin bride. Looking at the familiar nursery tales, apart from the occasional demented witch, most of the baddies are male.
Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris, Max Clifford were all convicted of appalling sexual abuse. There have also been numerous cases of sexual harassment in the work place, bullying and general stereotypical behaviour. The late Prime Minister Edward Heath is currently being investigated and the entire catholic church's priests are under suspicion. What sort of message does this send out and how does it affect the male gender's reputation?
None of this behaviour is excusable but the majority of men are not like Harvey Weinstein. Where are their representatives and who is batting for them? Women have had a large share of voice recently. Gender equality, pay, working conditions, maternity leave, boardroom representation and women's health have all been high on the media and government agenda. So I was quite surprised to hear a female voice pipe up on Woman’s hour (is there even a Men’s Hour?) proclaiming that there was too much focus on Women and particularly on Women's Health hence the lower levels of health compliance among men. Great point I thought, and how daring of her to make it!
Most of the men I know are decent, hard working, caring people. They are kind, appreciative, emotionally intelligent and very supportive in both the work and domestic environment. Of course there are some rogues but equally there are some extremely unpleasant women out there.
As the author of this article notes below, its not about gender but about behaviour. The sociopath is gender neutral and when in positions of power they invariably abuse it. The phrase ‘power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely' has never been so true of both the sexes.
I think it is time for a more balanced portrayal of men and the media, film and entertainment industry needs to address the imbalance. If men continue to be portrayed as the villains of the piece, what sort of role model is that for the next generation?
I definitely think men need a rebranding and reputation management program or the Harvey Weinstein figures will become the expected norm.
But it’s not just me we’re talking about today. And actually, it isn’t just Harvey Weinstein. As long as there are sociopaths in positions of control in Hollywood (and sadly these people, both male and female, exist in every industry) who are known to use their positions of power to torture desperate, hopeful people but never publicly denounced, then Harvey’s fall from grace will mean nothing.