The great reckoning

By Grace Hamilton, Staff Writer

Many of the events of summer 2022 can only be seen as an attack against women. 

These events should be looked at as a backlash to the progress made by feminists in the last century, or even in the last decade. Or rather, they signal a lack of change in the thinking surrounding women and their rights and dignity.  

The overturning of Roe v. Wade, the reaction to the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation case, the release of a new film by David O. Russell with a dozen Hollywood A-listers and the rise of the cult of Andrew Tate all serve to teach us that the attitude towards women hasn’t really changed, not in the global consciousness. The ways in which we view victims of abuse, women and others who can get pregnant, famous men and their treatment of women and the vitriol spat out by a man who moved to Romania because it would be easier to rape people there, represent a lack of care and respect for women. In fact, they represent the worst of our feelings, and the dangerous attitudes and ideas that indoctrinate young men into the alt-right pipeline. 

Andrew Tate may have been banned from the major social media platforms, but it doesn’t matter, because his ideas have been spread to men like wildfire, and the scary part is that even those men who don’t necessarily agree with him still don’t think he’s that bad. They think he’s funny, or just another easy-to-ignore man with not that much to say. According to The Guardian, in July, his name was Googled more than Kim Kardashian or Donald Trump. 127,000 men pay about $45 a month to be a part of his “Hustler’s University.” His followers post clips of his hate speech – he says women “bear responsibility” when they are raped, he dates 18 year olds because they are easier to mold into what he wants – to spread his message to an even wider audience. 

I think that there is a lot of overlap between this audience and those who hate Amber Heard. The defamation suit between Amber Heard and Johnny Depp inspired a reaction of misogyny so shocking and disgusting, it made the MeToo movement look like it never even happened. Amber Heard is an imperfect victim, but the truth is that most women are. And because she is an imperfect victim, people wished violence upon her. They hoped she would fall into poverty; they hoped she would be forced to take up sex work in order to survive. 

We have learned nothing. Sexual violence is still wished upon women who dare to speak out against their abusers, even if they don’t represent the innocent and pure victimhood as desired by those who claim to want to help victims. 

The MeToo movement was meant to change the way we see victims of sexual assault and harrassment. It was supposed to shed light on the issue in Hollywood of powerful and abusive men. But it’s like we all forgot what happened. Johnny Depp has been brought back into the limelight. He just made an appearance at the VMA’s in a spacesuit, making jokes about “needing the work.” And David O. Russell, the director accused of groping his niece and then defending himself by calling her “promiscuous,” is releasing a new movie, Amsterdam, starring all kinds of Hollywood heavyweights like Christian Bale, John David Washington and Margot Robbie.  

So, I guess the things we thought we changed have not changed at all. 

And all of this is overshadowed by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. The decision for abortion rights has gone to the state level, and we’ve all seen where that has gone. 

And it’s not even that I’m angry anymore. I mean, I’m angry, but I’m too tired to do anything about it. That source of rage that fuelled me and inspired me is now overshadowed by true exhaustion. I’m exhausted by these events and these people who have managed to learn nothing. These people believe that women are less than human, and are not deserving of the same rights as everyone. This summer has only proved that men see us as their servants, their chefs, their baby makers and sex slaves. We are not human to them. We are not deserving of rights or justice or freedom. 

I implore you to examine your own biases. Analyze your reaction to Amber Heard and why you reacted that way. Think about your feelings on Andrew Tate and the influence he holds over young men. Donate to abortion access funds, to Planned Parenthood, to women’s shelters.  

I am exhausted, but I am not done. And you shouldn’t be either. We have influence and we have power. We just have to use it. There is no other option. Not for me, anyway. I have to see the fight all the way through. Wherever it goes, I will follow.