So, on the 24th of February, 2020, Weinstein was finally convicted of the rape of two women. The sentencing is set to take place on the 11th of march where Weinstein is set to potentially spend 29 years in prison. The reason this is so significant is that it was the Weinstein allegations that set of the hype around the #Metoo movement.
#Metoo movement began gaining traction in 2017 after various charges of sexual misconduct started flooding in against Weinstein. For many women, within and without the industry, the conviction of Weinstein marks, a step in the right direction for feminism. Mira Sorvino, calls it time for “closer” and Zoe Brock claims to be “so happy” that “right now he is sitting in jail” with the Evening Standard calling it a “Watershed moment, for the #Metoo movement” and a means of “empowering women”.
But in my opinion, it’s all far too little too late. The #Metoo movement began as a push for women’s voices to be heard, trusted, believed and understood as part of the broader move towards feminism. But the problem with the #Metoo movement, as with Western Feminism as a whole, is that as much as it preaches inclusivity and the rights for women it only really concerns itself with the rights of, a specific class of white women.
Weinstein finally got what he deserved, yes. But the allegation against him came up in 2017. Since then, many men have been fired as a result of sexual assault allegation, but very, few have faced trial, let alone prison time, including high profile cases such as that of Kesha vs Dr Luke.
However, many women of colour have been ignored in favour of men. Even the #Metoo slogan itself has become an emblem of white-film-star-feminism and many people, ironically, associate it with Weinstein and the beginning of his accusations. In actual fact, it was started by Tarana Burke, a black woman from the Bronx is who is rarely publicly accredited with the phrasing, and it’s usage in pop culture.
If the #Metoo movement and western feminism had fulfilled the role it was supposed to fulfil, Weinstein would have gone to prison when Cosby did, instead of starting the #Metoo movement and then going on to living in comfort and freedom as the media conveniently forgot about him and began to point fingers at less high profile figures and high profile black figures, such as Jamie Foxx, Morgan Freeman, Russel Simmons, and the courts side-lined Weinstein to focus of ensuring Cosby died in a jail cell.
The R.Kelly indictment would have been taken up sooner, and lives of young women and girls of colour would have mattered more.
And the facts are, despite the 80+ allegation of sexual assault, Weinstein is only being convicted of 2 accounts of rape, the sentence for which, in the US carries a maximum of 29 years, and, for a wealthy white man, will probably be significantly less than that.
Let’s be honest if he had assaulted more women of colour, OR lower working-class white women, there would have been no trial and no #Metoo, because the Western feminism is not concerned with the well fair of all women, only of women which Western capitalist society deems worthy of protecting: the rich, the powerful, the beautiful, white.
The #Metoo movement has fallen short of everything that it is supposed to be, liberating no one. Feminism is supposed to free all women and give ALL women equal voices and choices, but only a few able women ever benefit from and only against a particular type of type of man.
If you ask me whether Weinstein’s conviction is a victory for the #Metoo movement, the honest answer would have to be, #Metoo. Undoubtedly, it is a good thing that he is going to prison, and I am happy for all of the women who needed this news to begin healing. But as a cultural movement and for women more generally, it is all just too little too late, and all his conviction really does is show up all the ideological flaws of Western feminism.
Further reading: Evening Standard Online.
Credit of the Display image: Christians Adam. https://www.instagram.com/adamstoon/