The powerful men are falling like dominoes, seemingly every day, from accusations by women who were very young and very vulnerable but are not any longer. To me, this feels like a new wave of feminism, one that might even be more powerful than the waves that have washed over us for decades.
What’s different this time is social media. Facebook, Twitter and social media in general take a lot of abuse (and they certainly have their flaws) but has any other medium given these sexually abused women such a powerful forum? Today, any woman who was sexually abused or harassed by these men decades ago, is now able to make the accusations public in a way that was simply unthinkable before.
It’s true that most of the allegations (hello Roy Moore, Harvey Weinstein & Louis CK) have surfaced first in fine publications like the New York Times, the Washington Post and the New Yorker, but the way the stories have spread and been added to would not have been possible without social media. And that goes for the publications themselves. Would they have been able to get those stories out and read by so many without Twitter’s help?
A side note here about Twitter. It feels to me like it’s the most powerful social medium there is. Not only does it have the President of the United States in its thrall but by facilitating hashtags like #metoo, it is responsible for this latest cultural revolution. I can see how Facebook might someday be passe and I can certainly live without it, but I would dearly miss Twitter. It’s all the more amazing that the company cannot figure out a way to make money. It is akin to the creation of broadcast television and there would be a giant hole in our culture without Twitter. The days when people made fun of it because some posted their morning meals is long gone.
What is going on today with the endless charges of sexual abuse, harassment and yes, rape, is breathtaking. This may actually have lasting repercussions because, thanks to social media, any young woman can reach out and grab her abuser/harasser by the throat and bring him to his knees. Maybe this is what it took to teach men how to behave but fear and shame are powerful inducements and it feels like this revolution is for real.
Can anyone doubt the accusers are telling the truth? We’ve come a long way from the days when President Clinton’s paramours were met with scorn. To that end, I spotted a tweet by Juanita Broaddrick, who claims she was raped by Clinton, in which Broaddrick says that NBC withheld an interview with her until after Clinton’s impeachment hearings. The gatekeepers are now gone and the gates are wide open.