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Weinstein allegations desserve more than an apology

It’s funny how no one talks about sexism or harassment within an industry until a bigwig gets caught with his pants down. It’s funny how a woman can tell her coworkers, bosses, and friends about an uncomfortable and dangerous situation and be pushed out the door. It’s hilarious how sexual harassment and “locker room” banter has been normalized over the years.

In case you missed my sarcasm – no, it’s not funny at all. It’s sickening. When news of film producer and director Harvey Weinstein came out, I couldn’t help but think back to Jian Ghomeshi case in Toronto. The press went crazy and people expressed their disgusted, but as soon as a trial started the women making the accusations were shamed and Ghomeshi disappeared. No one got justice.

The latest allegations against Weinstein have done more than tarnish the reputation of the accused. They have opened up a larger debate about the treatment of women in Hollywood. The number of women who have now come out and made accusations of rape and sexual assault against Weinstein increases every day. And he has hardly denied it. In fact, he has fled the country to “seek treatment”’. While police have opened a formal investigation, there is not much hope these women will get their day in court.

While the world waits to find out if the Hollywood mogul will ever be charged, there are a number of debates that have circulated the press and the Internet. Women’s Post discusses three of them:

Apologies

One of the byproducts of a big scandal like this is that all sorts of actors, producers, and directors are coming out to speak on the subject. Women and men are now talking about their abusive experiences in Hollywood, which is absolutely necessary if the system is to change. However, there are a lot of apologies circulating as well–mostly men apologizing for not taking their female colleagues seriously after they confided in them.

Friday, Colin Firth came out and said he was ashamed he didn’t act on what his co-worker Sophie Dix, one of the women making allegations of sexual assault against Weinstein, told him during the filming of their movie The Hour of the Pig. He told the Guardian she never went into detail regarding the incident, but he could tell there was something wrong and all he did was sympathize. And Firth isn’t alone. Dozens of men have come forward and apologized for being party to this system of abuse.

And then there is Ben Affleck, who admitted to sexually harassing a co-worker (grabbing her ass) and then proceeded to apologize for it. There may have been a good intention somewhere in this claim, but honestly it seemed like a slight defense of Weinstein and the whole sexist Hollywood mentality. Sure, I guess it’s a good thing Affleck recognized he was in the wrong, but does it take a big Hollywood scandal for men to acknowledge their role in perpetuating the sexualization of women? Or even in harming them physically, emotionally, or psychologically? And how much do you want to bet there will be no repercussions for the men who come out now and say sorry?

Fathers of Daughters and Husbands to Wives

A lot has been written about the use of this phrase by men speaking against sexual abuse. Actor Matt Damon was quoted recently used this phrase in relation to the Weinstein allegations.“‘As the father of four daughters, this is the kind of sexual predation that keeps me up at night,” he said. And it caused a big uproar on the Internet. To be fair to Damon, he isn’t the only one to use the phrase “as a father to a daughter’” or “”as a husband” and the rest of his interview showed deep sincerity in his disgust. 

But, let’s get back to the phrase itself. “As a father of daughters”. Let me get this straight. Before, it was okay to grab a woman’s ass, but now that you have a daughter and you don’t want some guy sticking his hand (or anything else) down her pants, all of a sudden it’s not okay to sexually harass a woman. It’s like these men suddenly have skin in the game – they can’t picture their little girls being harmed like their co-workers, colleagues, and friends were.

Men often use these phrases without thinking. I’m pretty sure most don’t mean they were disrespectful before they had their offspring. But, just in case, listen up guys. Here is what you need to know about the phrase “fathers of daughters” or “as a husband.”

You should be respectful to all women, regardless of whether or not they have something to do with your penis. Teach both your sons and daughters to respect each other, and treat all of the women you meet the same way. It doesn’t matter if you are married or have children. Be a good human being and recognize when someone (of any gender) is being mistreated — and then say something.

And just stop using the damn phrase!

A broken system

There is a very real possibility that Weinstein’s abuse of women was an openly known secret in Hollywood. There are a lot of people who had to know this was happening. And yet, it took the strength of a few select women and a group of reporters at the New York Times to actually get people to listen and open their eyes. 

While these public revelations have disturbed most of us, there is a slight glimmer of hope. Women and men who have been sexually assaulted are speaking out. Regardless of whether or not Weinstein is charged, the system will have to change, if only because less people are going to accept it now. 

And it’s not just Hollywood. Social media users are starting to see that sexism exists within large corporations as well. Following Affleck’s sexual harassment revelations, actress Rose McGowan tweeted about it. Twitter then suspended her account, claiming she included a personal phone number. It has not been confirmed if that is the case. McGowan was one of the women featured in the New York Times expose on Weinstein and has alleged Weinstein rapped her.

Twitter is not getting a kind response from its users. In fact, numerous women have vowed to boycott Twitter on Oct. 13th in support of McGowan.

For most, the irony over what is considered a violation of Twitter’s terms is too much. Most compared McGowan’s use of Twitter to that of United States President Donald Trump, who has used the platform to threaten foreign countries, attack free speech, and personally bully reporters and politicians. Trump has never been suspended.

Many users have also said that Twitter violations are not enforced fairly.

What do you think? Can this system ever change? Will this scandal be enough to help spur it?

Love will conquer all

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary and my husband, Greg Thomson, started our day by playing a video on his Iphone of the Flintstones singing “Happy Anniversary, Happy Anniversary.”  Like our wedding day, today started with reckless giggling.

My husband is an amazing man. In that quiet time just before we get up in the morning, I sometimes feel as if there is an angel beside me.  He is man who has made it his goal to balance compassion, tenderness, strength, wisdom and grace — and he has succeeded.  Greg has never chased after power or fame, and he doesn’t need social status or wealth to define him – but he makes allowances for those who do.

Greg is rarely critical of people or ideas, he doesn’t possess the arrogance that too often develops in men who achieve success. Greg believes in human potential – in that ability people have to achieve things that others think impossible.

Greg would never hurt anyone and he would never try to limit or undermine someones confidence. He is wise and knows that those who think they know best are fools (although he’d never say that to them). He is a man who feels a duty to give back the world, to tackle mediocrity, and conventional thinking. In his work, he studies the social impact of charities hoping that he can help the small charities who have a large social impact. He gets frustrated over the amount of funds that get wasted by charities that have little social impact, but are filled with influential board members.

When I think about our marriage, I believe our happiness rests on our willingness to give up our individual selves to become part of something bigger. I remember when we were just married, I used to write about my love for him; about the things he did that inspired me, about the awe that I had over this man who chose to share his life with me. Today, I realize that my love is now weaved together with the love Greg has for me. It is constantly expanding. It encompasses our children, and, like a warm breeze, it spreads out over our family and friends. I think our love grows with the choices we make, with the friendships we have, and the experiences we gain. By living up to the people we want to be we are able to feel more deeply, and experience things more richly.

When we were first married we talked about what we wanted in our future. Greg wanted to feel more, to do more and to make a difference in the world. Back then I couldn’t understand what Greg meant by ‘feel more” because I had been raised to put both my heart and mind into everything I do. At the beginning of our marriage I realized that Greg put his head and thoughts into what he did, but not his heart.  He learned to be cerebral, to hide his feelings, but part of him knew he was missing out on something. Over time as our love weaved together Greg let himself feel more, he put his heart and not just his head into everything he did. He allowed himself to go beyond just thinking about the world to sensing it. I learned to see the world through Greg’s eyes just as he learned to see it through mine. Our world became much bigger, more vibrant, sensual, and beautiful. We are soaring above the ground we walked as individuals.

A few months ago a man told me that I should be much more afraid of failing than I am. I’ve thought about his words a lot since then; about what he thinks is failure, and about the limitations his kind of thinking has placed on him. In the world of keeping up the Joneses he’s succeeded, but in the world that Greg and I live in, he seems shackled by fear, limiting his involvement in things that might expand his world because he fears failure.

The love that Greg and I have has allowed us to embrace the world. Together we can take on any challenge. And the only true failure that either of us could have is to fail to live up to the moral code that guides our lives. Our love has made us free, and has given us confidence. Together we experience life, we set out to achieve our dreams and we live every moment to the fullest.

When our eldest son was born, I remember sharing that moment when we both realized that our duty extended beyond just what we could give to the world, but to provide our children with love, compassion and a value system that will allow them to find the love we have managed to build.

Everyday I wake up and I know how lucky I am to have such an amazing man in my life. Greg is the strongest man I have ever met. He would never compromise himself for gain, or use “business” as an excuse for hurting someone. I think he would actually be physically sick if he thought his words had hurt someone. He is kind, compassionate and every day he defines what it means to be a gentleman.

The vision of who Greg wants to be captures all the qualities that go into making a true hero.  He is a part of how I define myself, the pulse inside me that drives me forward and makes me want to put everything I have into everything that I do —  so that one day I just might be good enough for him.

Should I be jealous my husband watches porn?

Whether it’s behind your back, leaving a trail of computer history behind, or right next to you, he’s watching porn. Some women hate it; others don’t care. If your man’s porn fixations are getting under your skin, it’s time to face your feelings head on. Perhaps you’re burdened with questions buzzing in your brain, or worse, a closet full of insecurities bred from feeling upstaged by his favourite pornstar. Despite all this, you hide your jealousy because you don’t want to play porn police and rain on his boobie parade. Fortunately, you don’t have to feel this way.

Read through this question-answer guide to gain some clarity on your husband’s porn dependence.

Is it cheating?

The question of whether porn counts as cheating can be a confusing debate. The answer really depends on your personal definition of cheating. For some, cheating could be as simple as a small crush on a friend or co-worker, while for others, it’s being sexual or emotionally intimate with someone else. So, let’s say cheating can be understood as the latter, then no, watching porn is not cheating—unless he’s fallen in love with the porn star. Eek!

In simple terms, porn allows people to fantasize about spectacles that are not normally attainable in real life. Is this necessarily bad? Well, think about it this way: what’s the root cause of your jealousy? Is it the fact that his eyes and juices are shooting elsewhere or that it’s being directed at another woman? According to sex therapist Alina Palin, “most men do not necessarily watch porn for the women. Rather, the excitement comes from the super sexualized actions that the women are performing.”

Shane Panser, 31, agrees with this view. “When I watch porn, I don’t really care for what the girls look like. I just browse around for videos until I find one giving a crazy good BJ.”

Matt McMillen, a medical writer for Web MD, confirms this sentiment in his article, “Why Men Like Porn”, explaining that for most men, the reliance on porn is not grounded in a preference for another woman, but rather the rawness of the sex she’s performing. He says, “It’s not about what he’s not getting at home. It’s the novelty. It’s a turn-on.”

So, is porn cheating? All signs point to no.

What if it’s too hard core?

It’s common to worry about the type of porn your man watches and its level of intensity. Some types of porn can be pretty hard core, involving all the bells and whistles, from face-slapping degradation to frantic “juice” guzzling, topped with mascara running down the poor girl’s eyes. You get the picture. And all the while, the pornstar is loving it—so not realistic! Consider her size quadruple Z bust, big blonde hair and sky-high stilettos, a look that no regular grocery-running woman would ever wear. Clearly, it’s all just make-believe.

Many women think that their man’s favourite porn is a representation of his sexual desires for his relationship. It’s not. These videos are not real life—it’s pretend, separate from his intimacy with you. There’s also a good reason why he might keep these two realms apart. In the porn world, it can be thrilling to watch a woman get battered up by three schlongs, as distasteful as that may sound to some. However, with you, he can disconnect and compartmentalize his porn cravings, and appreciate your unique sexual dynamic on its own.

It’s not necessarily about being better or worse—it’s just something different, like enjoying a different spice. As explained in the men’s sex guide, featured by Intimate Village, men use porn to supplement and vary their sexual urges. So, while most women hope that their men’s porn appetites remain safely along the lines of low-rez lesbians and homemade videos by couples, realistically, many men enjoy much fiercer exploits.

Am I less desirable?

The true allure of porn for a man is rarely a negative reflection on his partner, says sex therapist Lonnie Barbach, PhD, in practice in San Francisco. “Some women feel threatened because they don’t think they’re as sexy as a porn star,” she says.

Yet, as previously mentioned, the seduction of porn is set in the sexual performance, not the actress’ looks. She could be gorgeous or plain—either way, he’s usually not imagining himself with her on a personal level, but rather enjoying the possibility of experiencing that pleasure.

According to sex and relationship specialist Luke Gilkerson, it’s really just part of a guy’s nature to just look at naked women in general. In turn, women should not personalize this behaviour, which is instinctive, as long as it’s kept respectively controlled within the confines of porn and not with another woman.

If you still feel that your man’s fantasies are alienating you from his sex life, you can always join in on the action. Together, you can role play or experiment, supplementing the experience with twosome toys, as R.Esco suggests in her article, “The Health Benefits of Sex.” Whichever way you fire it up, the main goal is to streamline his porn fetishes to align with your sexuality in a healthy and agreeable manner.

 

Like any habit that needs curbing, your jealousy can be easily diffused with the right attitude toward porn. Accept your husband’s porn as something natural and inevitable, but most importantly, never see it as your competition.