Women Turning Tables

I have been keeping up to date on the Harvey Weinstein trial. 27 witnesses have testified. These brave women have sat in the witness chair often losing their composure having to recall the abuse. There seems to be no real physical evidence but essentially it appears to be these women’s words against his. I fear that Weinstein will get off.

On the Daily this past week, I listened to Donna Rotunno, Weinstein’s lawyer, discuss the legal lens of the trial but when she was asked if she herself had ever been sexually assaulted, her answer was “I would never put myself in that situation”.

We went to see Amy Poehler interview Amber Tamblyn at the Writers Guild in LA. Both women are so smart, sharp and witty. Poehler said something that really stuck with me. She said that women have been raised in a patriarchal society and that she is really good at managing that male world while other women not so much. I am good at it too. I have met with so many women over the years that aren’t as good at playing the game. We should not have to play any game. We should be able to be our authentic selves.

Rotunno is definitely throwing women under the bus that she believes is not as strong as her. She believes the women against Weinstein knew exactly what they were doing or getting into when they met with him. That they then continued to have a relationship with him even after being assaulted because they wanted something for it. Why is there even a situation when getting to the top means going through a special door held only by a powerful white man?

When we were at Sundance, there was a scene in the movie Herself, that I continue to think about when it comes to Weinstein and essentially echoing what Poehler said. Claire is a Mom of two young girls and she has been physically abused by her husband. She is now living on her own, with her daughters, in an airport hotel room, due to the lack of housing in Dublin for women who find themselves in the same situation. Her husband gets to see the kids every weekend. Her youngest refuses to go because she witnessed her father beating the shit out of her mother. The father takes Claire to court because she is not holding up her end of the weekend visitation rights bargain. He is hoping to get full custody.

In the courtroom, the female judge gets frustrated and asks Claire, “why didn’t you leave”. Claire looks at the judge, then looks at her ex-husband and says “why didn’t you stop hitting me”?

It is time to start changing the dynamics and thinking through a new lens.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Anne Libby

    I just listened to that episode this morning, horrifying. Also, related: Vance has got to go.

    1. Gotham Gal

      For sure!

    2. Gotham Gal

      for sure!

  2. Laura Yecies

    Such an offensive comment – reveals total lack empathy and sensitivity for victims not to mention the lack of recognition of how many women are powerless to not put themselves in that situationRegarding being our authentic selves – recently listened to the excellent “Good & Mad” audio book (terrific hearing Rebecca Traister read it aloud) if we could show our authentic anger maybe that could hasten change.

    1. Gotham Gal


  3. awaldstein

    I listened to that edition of the Daily as well and came away with similar thoughts.Yes, he could get off.No, stuff hasn’t changed as it needs to.Just because there is nuance doesn’t mean it is squishy.Crazy to me that this is still the status quo.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It’s insane.

    2. Miranda

      Agree! As women I wish we could do more.

      1. awaldstein

        As a man, all I can do is be open, write about my opinions, make changes in the companies I run or influence and the support of the products I buy.Like many important things–like climate change–there needs to be more people can do individually to make a difference.@gothamgal:disqus Miranda raises a good point about personal action as a man or women. What would your answer be I wonder if asked, what can I do?

        1. Gotham Gal

          Be yourself. Call out things that you see immediately. Hire a balanced team. I could go on and on but the important thing is never walk away thinking I should have said something.

          1. awaldstein

            perfect”never walk away thinking I should have said something”

  4. lisa hickey

    This really struck me: “I have met with so many women over the years that aren’t as good at playing the game. We should not have to play any game. We should be able to be our authentic selves.” I love that, as a vision of what the future would look like if we somehow manage to get rid of a patriarchal society. The rest is horrifying, maddening, infuriating. But I have to focus on the pieces of it where I think I *can* create change.

    1. JLM

      .I want that utterance to be true, but there is a “game” in every endeavor in life. We all have to learn how to play the game.It does not make it right, but it makes it real.If you want to be authentic, it starts with being real.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. jason wright

    “We should be able to be our authentic selves.” What does that look like?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Whatever we want it to look like

      1. jason wright

        In the public space nothing is an entirely authentic action or response. The more visible we are the less authentic we become.

  6. JLM

    .Guys like Harvey Weinstein have always been around — rank scumbags who have parlayed their power into sexual abuse.Hollywood knew all about this — Weinstein wasn’t the only guy with a casting couch — and did nothing.Uber successful women who no longer needed to “audition” didn’t do anything to stomp out the Weinstein’s of that world. Men who had character didn’t either.When right confronts wrong, we have to be firm enough to ensure that right prevails.Weinstein used his dual roles as a first rate casting couch scumbag and as a prolific political fundraiser to buy insurance at every turn.Who is responsible for this — other than Weinstein himself?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  7. M Harris

    Reading “She Said,” listening to the interview with Rotunno on The Daily, and also seeing “Jagged Little Pill” (particularly the messaging of the rape story line) — makes clear to me that we all need to continue calling out the assumed male behavior, the boys will be boys, this is real life argument women have been hearing their whole lives. I hope the Times Up, Me Too and other similar movements continue to inform. And that male allies speak up, speak out on the sexual harassment, sexual assault, etc that occurs regularly in their presence.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Let’s hope so

  8. Pointsandfigures

    Weinstein is despicable. If he gets off it is a loss for all of us.On another note: Would an actress like Natalie Portman say, “I won’t act unless the flim is directed by a woman” And stick with it? Would any other actors/actresses? Once they decided to do that, if Scorcese, Spielberg or another major domo director called and asked them to do a part for them, would they decline? Would an actress of Portman’s stature turn down the money on principle-or a role they wanted on principle?Or extend it to producers, screen writers etc.

    1. awaldstein

      Already happening.Especially from people like Reece Witherspoon and her production company not only choosing the product and financing it but producing it. Why The Morning Show was such a Huge step forward on all of those fronts.

  9. jason wright

    Weinstein was probably never an any time in his adult life an aesthetically pleasing proposition for any woman with a positive self imagine. His behaviour could be explained by his inability to cultivate authentic ‘free’ 1:1 relationships, and so he strategised a framework to exploit women in the way he’s been accused.

  10. TanyaMonteiro

    Wow, I’ve just listened to the podcast. The lawyer kind of got me thinking then she said she would never be assaulted and went on and on with words, I felt like shaking her! Wish I could articulate how this makes me feel. The up side is we’re talking about it, it’s going to take time to help us see how warped, even out thinking is. Thanks for posting this Podcast.

    1. Gotham Gal