Tuesday, March 04, 2014

The Oscars and violence against women

Number of nominees for best director who offered their support and friendship to a man after he was arrested for raping a 13 year old girl: 3 (Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese, Alfonso Cuarón)

Number of winners who thanked men who have abused women: 1 (Cate Blanchett thanking Woody Allen)

Number of Oscar winners who offered their support and friendship to a man after he was arrested for raping a 13 year old girl: 2 (Alfonso Cuarón, Paolo Sorrentino

Number of nominees for best supporting actor who broke their girlfriend's nose: 1 (Michael Fassbender)

Number of nominees for best supporting actor who  have raped multiple women: 1 (Jared Leto)

Number of nominees for best adapted screenplay who have sexually assaulted their relatives: 2 (Woody AllenDavid O. Russell)

And that's without the men who were rumoured to have been violent towards their partners but I can't find a link (Bradley Cooper), the abusive men who presented (Bill Murray) or the many many men who were more successful in silencing their victims.  Woody Allen's abuse is most well known and his nomination was still applauded.  So many in the industry have answered Dylan Farrow's question: "What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett? Louis CK? Alec Baldwin? What if it had been you, Emma Stone? Or you, Scarlett Johansson? You knew me when I was a little girl, Diane Keaton. Have you forgotten me?" with a shrug.

Hollywood is not exceptional - actors and directors are not exceptionally violent, or exceptionally prone to rape apology.  The same level of violence against women has been present in the social circles I have moved in, and the industries I have worked in.  There are generally fewer awards, and sparkly loaned jewellery outside of Hollywood - but the process whereby abusers are supported and accepted, and survivors are silenced and ignored is the same.

I would like less celebration of Woody Allen, Michael Fassbender, Jared Leto, David Russell and Roman Polanski.  I would like the rape apologia of Alfonso Cuarón, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese and Whoopi Goldberg (another presenter) to matter. But beyond Hollywood I'd like more people to think how not to be Cate Blanchett, how not to applaud abusive men, how not to cover up what they did.

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