Trigger Warning: Mentions Sexual Assault and Abuse.
There’s always been a double standard when it comes to men and women. Things feminine-presenting people would still be crucified for, masculine-presenting people can most of the time get away with.
When we look at the intersectional identities of all and any groups, we see these disparities come to light with more urgency. For example, it will always be true that white people are the ones benefiting in every situation because everything was designed for them. However, this does not stop the violence that we often see done to minorities by men the majority of the time.
This contradicting set of morals is most prevalent in today’s society when it comes to male celebrities, especially those accused of sexual assault and harassment.
Look at British singer Rex Orange County, who was facing multiple allegations of sexual assault in London over a month ago.
Even though there wasn’t sufficient evidence to take the case to court, people were quick to denounce them immediately. Some even claimed that they never stopped being a fan of his even after the fact that he was being charged with a whopping six sexual assault charges.
Brad Pitt was literally investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for beating up his ex-wife Angelina Jolie and his children.
Yet, as an affluent member of the entertainment industry, he actively participates in sweeping these allegations under the rug.
A legal battle over a winery that the two famous actors once owned together became irreconcilable once Pitt stated that there were conditions for Jolie to sell her part of the company.
According to The New York Times, “Jolie stated that negotiations to sell her share of the business to Mr. Pitt had broken down over his demand that she sign a nondisclosure agreement that would have contractually prohibited her from speaking outside of court about Pitt’s physical and emotional abuse of her and their children.'”
The devil works hard, but Hollywood works harder.
Another example is James Franco, who had sexual assault allegations dating back to 2014, yet long-time friend Seth Rogen didn’t stop working with him until 2021. Not even in 2018 when Franco was accused by five women, four of them his acting students, of inappropriate behavior and abuse of power in and out of the classroom.
This is not to say other demographics are not to blame in their own settings for encouraging said behaviors, but gender inequality makes women, LGBTQIA+ and disabled people more prone to gender-based violence.
As a result, this is not something that happens in male-dominated spaces only, but it occurs during our daily lives and only those that experience it seem to acknowledge it.
How many times have men covered up for their friends, encouraged disgusting behavior in public settings against women and people that do not fit the beauty standard, refused to listen to a survivor on grounds that there wasn’t enough proof, consistently vouched for men that they know are guilty, because chances are they’re probably guilty of something themselves?
Creating a threatening environment for everyone else other than yourself and the creeps you surround yourself with only makes you a coward.
It is more than clear that men’s silence is complicit in violence against women and minority groups. Toxic masculinity ultimately perpetuates a culture unsafe for those that don’t get to enjoy the benefits of the patriarchy.
Why do you seek to make peace with these people, some of them with very well-known reputations of questionable behavior, for what they do?
Everyone is entitled to their set of moral standards, values and how they follow them, as long as they don’t harm another human being in the process.
I urge you to think if your friend’s or peer’s concerning behavior around those vulnerable to being preyed upon should be made out to be a joke, or if you should wake up and realize what influence you have by staying quiet and participating in locker room talk.