So many young women (and men) have been the victim of sexual harassment and sexual assault on the set and in the workplace—and the script usually follows an all-too-familiar pattern, says Tia Tolentino in her powerful essay in The New Yorker:
A powerful man sees you, a woman who is young and who thinks she might be talented, a person who conveniently exists in a female body, and he understands that he can tie your potential to your female body, and threaten the latter, and you will never be quite as sure of the former again.
This is how powerful men like Harvey Weinstein implicate the victims of their acts of sexual predation, notes Tolentino.
“There is no good exit from a hotel room with Harvey Weinstein,” insists Tolentino literally and metaphorically.
“The sense of diminishment,” Tolentino argues, “is exacerbated by the fact that men like Weinstein do not show themselves, spiritually or literally, to women above a certain point in the hierarchy of power, and they generally hide the worst of their behavior from other men.”
The painful truth is that when you are a young woman, or man, who may even tentatively believe in your own self worth and agency, it’s more than likely that an older, more powerful man “who takes an interest in you does not necessarily share these beliefs,” Tolentino points out.