Learning from the Weinstein morality play

A Hollywood brushfire about sexual misconduct by producer Harvey Weinstein has become a raging forest fire which has jumped the Atlantic.

Obviously, criminal allegations have to be proven, but apologies and obscure admissions of guilt show that the flames are spreading far and wide.

After Weinstein, other Hollywood figures, including Oscar winner Kevin Spacey, have been denounced for sexual harassment. And now the UK’s Defence Minister has resigned after allegations of inappropriate behaviour surfaced.

We can expect more, much more, so we need to think about how to respond effectively to the maelstrom of sexual abuse. I suggest a three-stage therapy process.

The first is to acknowledge that the Sexual Revolution which began five decades ago in 1968 has been a disaster. It takes about 50 years for revolutions to fall apart.

The Russian Revolution of 1917 had run out of steam by the mid-60s. After 50 years, our Sexual Revolution is starting to disintegrate; free love has become sleazy sexual abuse.

They scoffed when Harvey Weinstein half-defended his appalling actions by saying that he grew up in the 70s. But perhaps Weinstein was right, in a way.

He may never have had a chance to learn how to behave properly with women.

The 70s was a decade of mass disruption of mutual respect between the sexes. In many environments, it was a free-for-all.

Married women had been using contraceptives since the early 60s, and their daughters thought that if it was good enough for mum, it was good enough for them.

Right and wrong disappeared. Hooking up, adultery and homosexual acts were acceptable if they were consensual.

Some feminists helped the cause by trying to outdo men in raunchiness. Some of them are still defending pornography. If you were a man or a boy, the expectation was that you would bed as many females as you could.

If you were a woman or girl, you were expected to get involved or at least not complain about it, regardless of the man’s further intentions with respect to your life and well-being or any children you might conceive. Continue reading

  • Martin Fitzgerald is a teacher at Redfield College, in Sydney.
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