Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is having a very bad month with decades old accusations slowly surrounding him with more than one accusation.
This sort of body-count reporting, in fact, is nothing new.
Spy magazine did it to Clarence Thomas in 1992.
The title is extremely telling.
The next time someone fawns over Joe Biden, just refer them to that article.
The rest of the press made it sound as if Anita Hill was the only one…and yet Spy magazine found more than one.
They started that kind of specific rock-turning, but it was ignored.
William Kennedy Smith was also the subject of that kind of reportage from Spy.
However, their impact was negligible. We had women who were harassed back then, and yet it struck no significant chord the way we are seeing now with #MeToo.
As I have mentioned before, Spy had a big impact on me, and one of the reasons was they didn’t ignore stories like those and did serious investigative journalism.
Back then, they had no support from anyone, including feminist groups.
Nor did the press give them the kind of grit of traction to make that story resonate.
But fast forward to 2018, and it is a whole new ballgame that political operatives and activists alike have realized give them an advantage. Some for the good, some for the bad, and sometimes a little bit of both.
Had we had social media in the early 1990s, Spy’s clout would have been greatly amplified. A story about numerous accounts of abuse would bypass the traditional press and make the rounds.
In 1992, you could have had a Ronan Farrow do the same thing, but not get attention, let alone a Pulitzer, and even now, unless social media gave the story a push, the press would have ignored it, if they could.
That is the advantage when you don’t have a gate-keeper slamming a door in your face.
For many people, they thought a #MeToo backlash would have happened by now, but as the old abusers have found out, they are not getting their back their glory days any time soon.
It is a number of factors. We have men grouse how horrible a force #MeToo has become, but they don’t get what happened.
Women were always sold a bill of goods that they had to endure things as they settled and sacrificed, meaning they had to be degraded in order to “play the game.”
The implied promise, of course, was they would be treated like human toilets for them to relieve their crude urges on, and they would get rewarded with some paper crown to validate their suffering.
Hillary Clinton endured and then she ran for president. Except she lost. She was a bad candidate who had no understanding of the nuances of strategy, but for those women who supported her, it proved that enduring abuse is not an actual strategy for real success.
It is a game of misdirection where you end up being a sucker and a pigeon making your abusers look like Great Men.
And then they realized their daughters and granddaughters were going through or would go through the same game.
That’s when they snapped. It is the reason it has taken off in the US: because they were lied to and cheated, and now all that bottled up rage exploded.
For young women like me, who had the strong guidance of a mother and grandmother who were both radical feminists, I never fell for it. I didn’t care about paper crowns. I was taught from an early age not to play games on rigged boards and was trained how to spot them, and how to fight against them.
Then came along Spy magazine that gave me additional evidence how important it was to take the long road and never compromise — and fight no matter what threats were lobbed in my direction.
It didn’t matter who was in authority; they were not gods to make decrees. If I had to stand up for myself in a group of my peers or a teacher, that was what I had to do. My feelings came first, and if something was unfair and abusive, there was to be no sugarcoating any of it or try to spin it as if I were in control. That was how people were tricked and fooled. It was my duty and my responsibility not to passively march to someone else’s orders.
Popularity, fame, fortune were all worthless if someone was going to try to enslave me.
I would get in trouble if I blindly went along with something that would exploit me.
It wasn’t as if people didn’t try to exploit me or do me harm in exchange for something. I always rejected it, and forged my own path, never pining for things predators paraded as being desirable things to possess, such as popularity or “fitting in.”
Spy was my real-life textbook. It showed just how predatory those predators were. They were cruel, dangerous, deceptive, and always blaming victims when they refused to be a victim anymore.
Spy didn’t take the side of predators. They weren’t fooled or beguiled, and they exposed them as being such.
What is happening now in the US is long overdue.
You are never to blame when someone victimizes you. You are not supposed to be perfect; so that’s no excuse for a predator abusing you.
Predators held power and indoctrinated others to be primed to be exploited — that is the reason fame and paper crowns are used and why they are in fact worthless.
How you are being treated is the only thing that counts, and you treat others is the only true value that you have.
So if the abusers thought it would all die down, they are misreading the zeitgeist and ortgeist.
There is a lot of unfinished business up ahead. There is a lot of pent up rage that was unleashed.
Had Clinton won the election, the notion that to endure exploitation was the key to female success would have been reinforced, and we would have never had #MeToo and all the predators would have blithely continued.
Reality intervened and held up a mirror to those people who saw they were broken, in chains, confined, and powerless.
No, that was not the recipe for winning at life.
Yes, you took abuse, and made your abusers more powerful as you gave them your power in the bargain.
No, it is not set in stone.
Yes, you should expose them and liberate yourself immediately.
No, the past traumas are not your fault or reflect on you as a person.
Yes, not everyone fell for it.
No, they don’t look down on you because they respect truth.
And yes, there is always a better way if you stand up for yourself, regardless of the circumstances because it is not about applause or appeasement.
But the truth…