‘Weinstein, yeah, he’s probably a nice guy’

As heard by a man in his sixties on a patio at a hostel in Northern Thailand – an American who retired there, I discovered, after briefly chatting with him the night before.

As I overheard his commentary on Harvey Weinstein, I was working on something at a table nearby and despite my gigantic urge to weigh in, I chose not to – I figured where exactly would it get me? I’ve tried having these types of conversations before – with men who think that women should just calm down and basically ignore all of the double standards, power plays, indignities, assaults. Just quiet down because…. because of art, status quo, and well, it usually goes back to – ‘what about the men?’

Perhaps this guy identified in some way with Mr. Weinstein because his next subject of conversation was about a 25-year old Thai woman who was ‘playing shy’ after they had gone out the night before.

I don’t know too many (read: ANY) women who would make a statement about Weinstein probably being a nice guy. Most of us have experienced some version of the guy and his behaviour – sexism, misogyny, assault or normalization of women as second-class citizens – that we simply believe. I know I’ve been waiting for the day when the conversations would change – one of the items on my bucket list is to see women and men have equity in all spheres of life. Ellen Page said it well in her recent Facebook post: ‘this is a long-awaited reckoning’.

I believe the stories about Weinstein because as Maya Angelou (that sage of all sages!) wrote, ‘at the end of the day, people won’t remember what you said or did, people will remember how you made them feel’.

I know loads of men that I would put in the category of ‘nice guys’. Despite never meeting him, Harvey Weinstein wouldn’t be one of them. What a trail of disgrace and bad behaviour he left behind – and how many voices have we not yet heard about this one man? What about the many, many others?

Harvey Weinstein is just one of many power-hungry men who was able to act the way he did because of power dynamics – because people accepted the status quo, because they felt like they had no other choice. Thankfully power dynamics are finally shifting. My hope is that this reckoning leads to the amplification of the voices that we haven’t heard.

And to the man on the patio in Northern Thailand, I hope someone shows you ‘The Rock Test’.

Stay noisy, my friends.

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