Why Weinstein’s Conviction Isn’t the Watershed Moment People Want

I know a lot of people are high-fiving themselves over Weinstein’s conviction for the two sex charges that actually stuck. Already, I have been reading one story after another about how this validates the #metoo movement, and that it is going to change things in Hollywood forever.

Unfortunately, that’s not really the case. It will change things for Weinstein, and it will change things for those who participated in the trial, but the reality is that it won’t really change much.

Why not?

Well, let’s examine why the situation happened in the first place. Some time ago, creative men realized that if they wanted to have sex with very attractive women they could never date in a million years, they could entice them by giving them something they want: a glamorous job.

It’s no secret that a lot of women sold their souls to become Hollywood starlets. It’s no secret that quite a few more will gladly do so in the future.

Now, having said that, the immediate reaction is “not every woman wants to do that” but the allure of the fame and the possibility of the future wealth and power is enough to create an atmosphere that makes people think that any woman who is trapped in a hotel room with a movie producer pretty much brought it on herself. We know she didn’t. And we know the rapist is obviously scum of the Earth, but when 12 jurors are required to decide beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s so easy to create that veil of uncertainty.

Which is really surprising that Weinstein’s case didn’t end with a hung jury, or some kind of misplaced exoneration.

The reality is that the same elements that put these women into the room with Weinstein are the same elements that will continue to put vulnerable women in rooms with future Weinsteins. The business was designed around the idea that that’s just the way the business works. And as long as movies require attractive actresses to play in movies, aspiring actresses will constantly be pushed into situations that are not healthy for any woman. And while a few will gladly go into such situations with eyes wide open, it will be enough of a draw to set up a new round of potential victims who will have to one day sit in a witness chair and listen to a female attorney talk about how they brought it on themselves because “she” would never have been foolish enough to subject herself to such situations.

The industry hasn’t changed, and it’s probably not going to. There are some really sleazy movie people out there who see this as their one way to get in the same room on an intimate basis with someone who probably would never give them the time of day. I imagine they’re a lot like me, as in I realize that I’d never get the time of day from them either; the difference is that I can live with that, and I’m not going to pattern my life on trying to figure out a way to have sex with women who wouldn’t want anything to do with me in the first place.

If anything does come out of this, my hope is that it at least gives us a moment’s step towards a better future where steps are taken to clean up this industry. I’m old enough to realize that we’re still too close to this moment to have grown any, but it’s a nice thought to think that perhaps it might just be enough to cause younger people than myself to start thinking these things through and to start creating inroads to making Hollywood (or movies, in general) a more welcoming place.

But I’m not really holding my breath. Not yet.

Author of Innocent Until Proven Guilty and 15 other novels. Writer, college professor and computer game designer.

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