GUEST BLOG: Nadine McDonnell – Why Harvey? Why now?


Given that so many women have for so long suffered harassment, in all of its forms and severity, the questions which should be asked are  “Why Weinstein?”  and “Why now?”  What did he do that a guy like Trump didn’t do? Did he annoy some drug dealer or other powerful guy?  Or was it political, his financial support of the Democrats or women’s projects lead to his outing?  Or maybe it was personal?  He felt badly and tried to excuse his behaviour when confronted etc.  Certainly Trump didn’t seem to suffer any embarrassment from being shown to be a sexual predator.

The term sexual harassment is a bit distracting as the activity is more about power than sex.  Sex does often come into it – but most of the time it is about men using their power to abuse women in any way they can.  Sex makes the stories titillating but women usually look bad (cheap, stupid, naive, or worse) in  such tales.  So talking about sexual harassment without talking about power, who has it and how they use it, is fun, but not helpful.

The problem is misogyny. While there are many more women in the public realm than there were 40 years ago, the equality of women with men remains an idea which is not universally accepted.  Many people believe, perhaps unconsciously, that females are, quite simply, an inferior lesser form of human being to males. And it is a matter of belief.  The equality between any two people, whether male or female, cannot ever be ‘scientifically proven’.  And men still ‘run’ the world. Most countries are ruled by men, most armies are staffed by men, and nearly all sports are dominated by men – some men run and jump faster and further than any women. And most corporations are ruled by men and for men.  Very few CEOs are women.  The wage gap may be narrowing but that may be more about male workers being paid less, than female workers being paid more.  The brutal reality is that in the world as it is, women are not the equal of men.  Equal treatment is even seen at times as pandering to political interests.  Even in the west,  demand for equal respect is often belittled, labeled political correctness  Many, including many women, believe that men are more capable than women and the desire to treat women as equals is like being nice – not necessary when the going gets tough.  Putting down women is ingrained in our culture…  just look at honourifics – an honoured man is a Knight and a woman a Dame; a university degree is a ‘bachelor’ not a ‘mistriess’.   It is an insult to ’throw like a girl’ and so on….

It helps to listen to women talk publicly about their experiences with men because the stories reveal the insidious and ubiquitous quality of misogyny.  But to say that anything will change is to ask a lot.  Things can change but it would require men to publicly call out other men for their bad behaviour. And maybe this is what happened to Harvey Weinstein.  Did he make the mistake of harassing the daughter, wife or mother of someone even more powerful than he, who wasn’t prepared to accept his behaviour?   Or did he call the bluff of someone trying to black mail him?   Or was the male journalist who broke the story was better than female journalist who tried to write about the guy a few years earlier?


Nadine McDonnell is an Auckland writer forced by circumstances of birth and life experience to worry about the status of women.


  1. I stopped reading at “he felt badly”, how would this person know how weinstein feels, to me, I saw a man who was already talking of second chances and he hasn’t even owned up!!! Spare me.

  2. “The equality between any two people, whether male or female, cannot ever be ‘scientifically proven’.”

    That isn’t entirely true. Men have a chromosome (the “Y”) that women don’t share. This scientifically means men are actually slightly more “genetically complex” than females (who have two “X”s). Females are almost certainly the origin sex (disproving the notion that Eve was made from the “rib” of Adam in Genesis – if anything it’s the other way round) – the “Y” chromosome is simply a genetic aberration that created sexes. It’s also become increasingly clear its presence isn’t anything to be remotely proud of.

    • I think I agree with most of what you say, and I find it odd to be proud of a chromosome, but there have been men who have made wonderful contributions to our civilisation and to their families and I think that is something to be proud of.

      At this time, I think it’s hard to be proud to be male because the male leaders aren’t really showing any positive attributes to be proud of. John Key may have led the government for a long time but the way he did it, with brain fades and lies, is hardly inspiring. And then there is Trump – enough said.

      Maybe, having Adhern as a leader for a while will give the next generation of male leaders a chance to reset and come through with new values and ideals.

      • I really hope so. The likes of Trump have really done nothing positive for our gender. Fortunately we have the likes of Teresa May to lead the charge. Oh wait…

        • You still have no idea what Trump is. Trump and Theresa May no more or less what they can get away with, with in the context of there yuppy voters who are vile, selfish, so on and so on.

  3. I read about a proposal where a women could complain about sexual harassment to a central repository and she could keep it under wraps until a certain number of other people had also complained. That way she didn’t have to be the one solely carrying the (wrong and unkind) stigma of being a women of so little worth that she can be used and abused by a man. When there were two or three other victims, the (incorrect) focus moves from her and what she may or may not have done and becomes about the perpetrators pattern of behaviour.

    I think in Weinstein’s case, his age plays a part. Chasing young women starts too look way more predatory and gruesome when the women are 20 years younger.

  4. He’s just part of a much wider systemic problem in Hollywood. It’s been going on for decades.

    What saddens me is the lack of response from the progressive/left.

    Where are all the women’s marches? Where is the protest? Why aren’t there a million concerned citizens stomping down Wiltshire Boulevard?

    The media over there are deliberately looking the other way too. There has been a total absence of commentary from the various chat show hosts. It’s uncomfortable for them – they’re all part of it

    It’s disgusting!

  5. I have been following this and my question is where are the statements from all the children who have been abused within the film industry? All we have are a bunch of women and a few men, who, allegedly, are Satan worshiping witches and warlocks dumping on one of their own. The giveaway for most of these women is the tattooed pentagram star either base of thumb or back of neck or wherever else these foolish people chose to brand themselves.
    Question is … what’s really up in Hollywood that they want to hide with this distraction?

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