Living a Feminist Life

Jacqueline Rose writes:

At the very least we need to ask why it took the fall of Harvey Weinstein to turn the sexual harassment of women into front page news, and whether the endless photo spreads of his female targets weren’t so much designed to provoke outrage or a cry for justice as to grant the voyeur his pleasure. That of course is a pleasure on which the cinema industry thrives and which made these women vulnerable in the first place. Pictures from the archive of Weinstein with one smiling actress after another, his arm proprietorially around various parts of their bodies, deepened the offence – and undermined scattered accounts of resistance to his behaviour, since everyone looked as if they were having such a good time. More institutions and public figures were to follow – from news anchors and comedians to MPs, publishers, schoolteachers and Benedictine monks – but they had less screen potential. I couldn’t help feeling that the actresses were once again being asked to audition for their part. Or being paraded across the red carpet on Oscar night.

(LRB 22 February 2018)

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