During the Oscars this past week, Hollywood staged the latest scene in a morality play that began with the outing of Harvey Weinstein’s predatory sexual debauchery. The #Metoo movement continues to gain momentum and we expect other sexual predators to be exposed by the women of Hollywood.
Victims accusing Weinstein are universally lauded as perfectly innocent and perfectly courageous. Such beatification of victims is as true inside as outside the church. Whenever the church and the world can come together on anything—particularly when the subject is sexual ethics—it would be wise to pause and do some deeper analysis.
Harvey Weinstein has been a wicked sexual predator abusing his power as a well-connected Hollywood producer to indulge his sexual appetites for actresses, and this went on for decades. But note this all happened in Hollywood, a small town that is as well known for its gossip as its films.
Interviewed by The New York Times, Ashley Judd recalled her own encounter with a bathrobed Weinstein:
“How do I get out of the room as fast as possible without alienating Harvey Weinstein?” Ms. Judd said she remembers thinking.
Notice the qualification in Ms. Judd’s question: ”without alienating Harvey Weinstein.” She did not ask “How do I get out of this room as fast as possible?” She did not leave her cloak in Harvey Weinstein’s hands, slamming the door behind her.
What Judd wanted was to avoid sexual congress with Weinstein and to keep her working relationship with him intact. Here’s what happened (reported in a Daily Mail article that I will not link to because of the pictures they post on the right side of their pages):
She eventually made her escape by joking that Weinstein would have to help her win an Oscar before she would be willing to touch him, stating that the prestige of working for his studio made it too difficult to forcefully shut down his harassment.
“There’s a lot on the line, the cachet that came with Miramax,” explained Judd.
There was a time when men respected women’s virtue and women protected it with fierce resolve. At this late date, am I still allowed to make the obvious observation that any virtuous woman would have left the room without wanting to keep a working relationship with Weinstein intact?
But no, I think I didn’t get that quite right. Let me try again. The virtuous woman would have realized Hollywood is no place for a woman.
Which brings up a few more questions.
Was there anyone in Hollywood who didn’t know Harvey Weinstein’s pay-for-play predations against women? How could he have been a sexual predator with actress after actress without his reputation preceding him?
It doesn’t seem plausible.
Before entering the pastorate, I studied music composition while my wife studied vocal performance at Indiana University, a dominant opera training school. A decade or so before the New York Times got woke about his corruption of boys, James Levine’s debauchery was common knowledge in the music world. Yet we’re supposed to believe that Weinstein’s sins were unknown—and this in a community known for its sexual decadence and its approval of any and every form of salaciousness and debauchery? Really?
Which leads to more questions. If these women knew about Harvey’s appetites, why did they ever allow themselves to be alone with him? Are they not responsible for using their bodies to further their acting careers? Are women not moral agents also?
Don’t get me wrong. Women, men, boys, and girls are raped and sexually abused. I do not deny this. But do the women who, as Ashley Judd put it, desired to get out of the room “without alienating Harvey Weinstein”—often going to sickening lengths to avoid alienating him—not also need the light of truth to show them their own faults? Do these women not also need to come to repentance?
But then, men have been hardwired by God to bear responsibility, even when the abuse is not in any way their fault.
If masculinity is defined most prominently by the assumption of responsibility—Adam was given the task of keeping and cultivating the Garden—perhaps we do not have a #metoo movement of formerly sexually abused boys because no one is even inclined to deny their moral agency. Their responsibility.
It appears that deference to women remains intact even in our decadent culture. Eve was called to serve Adam as his helpmate. Perhaps the almost-exclusive femininity of the #metoo movement is because everyone is more willing to assign responsibility to men than women?
This morality play we have all been watching is a clear testimony to God’s creation order. Women are not assigned responsibility and men are not assigned victimhood.