#MeToo Won’t End With Weinstein’s Conviction
The former Hollywood executive’s punishment will be vindicating, but there’s still so much more to be done
Harvey Weinstein’s long-awaited comeuppance is close at hand.
On Monday, the former movie mogul’s criminal trial finally kicked off in New York. That same day, he was indicted by Los Angeles prosecutors on rape and sexual assault charges. That Weinstein’s trial is getting prime-time coverage, particularly in the midst of the upheaval in Iran and the ongoing election drama, is vindicating. And I’m as hopeful as the rest of American women that this man accused of so much wrongdoing and pain will be punished in some way and that his victims will feel some sense of closure.
There is no “winning” an ongoing movement. There’s only progress.
But one thing continues to nag at me. I’m afraid that if Weinstein does face some sort of jail time — if he is found guilty by the courts — #MeToo’s job will be seen as done. I fear that his irrefutable guilt and punishment will be pointed at as proof that the movement has done its job, that the bad men are getting their comeuppance.
But the truth is, there is no “winning” an ongoing movement. There’s only progress. #MeToo doesn’t end with whatever happens to Weinstein.
Still, from the start, Weinstein has been a focal point of #MeToo — in part because of the many, many horrific accusations against him but also because those crimes have become the standard by which to judge any man accused of wrongdoing. “He’s no Harvey Weinstein” is now the canned response when men’s bad behavior doesn’t rise to the level of violent assault.
“Masturbated in front of her? Well, at least it wasn’t rape!”
“Her boss pretended to be her mentor in an effort to sleep with her? Big deal, that’s not a crime!”
Rather than consider nuanced power dynamics or how less explicit abuses are still an issue, #MeToo skeptics have weaponized Weinstein’s crimes as a way to demarcate what kind of behavior can be criticized and what kind of accusations they claim are overreach.