Two years ago, I wrote a few pieces about my thoughts on Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen. Here are some excerpts from The Power of the Mask:
Often times in situations like this, when the details are vague and the “facts” are not in abundance, popular opinion tends to side with the more dominant person. Often this is a man. Or a celebrity. Woody Allen is both. Many members of our culture, short of definitive proof (what exactly that “proof” could be is a mystery), has sided with him. He’s a decorated celebrity. He’s humorous and self-deprecating. He’s worked with many Hollywood icons who admire and respect him.
There’s just no way he could do something so horrific.
Our culture tends to have difficulty looking past a person’s public facade to even imagine that there could be more going on. Is everyone that naive to think even public figures potentially don’t have some scary skeletons lurking in the shadows? Could it be possible that Woody displays to the public only what he wants us to see? That he may be wearing a mask?
Woody is an expert in deflecting any blame or ownership in any aspect of his daughter’s life. He works very hard at playing the victim. He is clearly manipulating his readers and supporters to feel pity for him. Playing on the emotions he knows his supporters feel about him.
My hope is that one day soon, Woody’s supporters would be able to look past his directorial accolades and see the mask he has been wearing his entire life.
What is scary is that the masks of many more prominent people are being revealed. Change the name from Woody Allen to Bill Cosby, David Bowie, R. Kelly, among countless others, and my thoughts remain the same. The mask is powerful and present with these individuals, in varying degrees of incidents and severity.
There are differences within the details of each of these stories, however, a few themes remain constant. The prominent themes of power, opportunity, and secrecy. These themes go beyond an individual mask. These are themes that derive from an environment that encourages and enables these themes.
There is an undercurrent of Rape Culture among our overall society. It has been formed over centuries of hetero-normative and misogynistic values dictating beliefs and behaviors. I’m working on a more detailed piece on my thoughts on Rape Culture. It’s a tough piece to write and it’s ever evolving as (sadly) more scenarios are exposed.
It is vital to point out that any of these individuals would not have the power of their mask if it were not for the overall Rape Culture that allows these masks to be formed and normalized. Rape Culture supports the individuals committing the abusive acts. Moreover, Rape Culture also silences the victims.
The more (mostly) women who come forward with their stories, the more they are doubted and questioned. The situation with Bill Cosby is a perfectly awful example of this. More and more women continue to come forward with their stories. However, each woman is quickly dismissed as being “money-hungry.” Each woman is criticized, questioned for “her role” in the situation, picked apart, and ostracized for “attacking a beloved entertainer.”
Nevermind that when one woman has the courage to tell her story, it often inspires others to come forward with their own story. No, these woman are not viewed as couragous, they are viewed as wanting nothing more than money. Rape Culture is quick to blame the victim, even if there are potentially dozens of victims who share very similar circumstances.
Thankfully more and more people are coming forward and sharing their stories. It’s heartbreaking and powerful all at the same time. We are expriencing a paradigm shift with how our culture views rape, power, and secrecy. With any major shift in our collective thinking, it will not be easy. But it is necessary. We are exposing individual masks one at a time in hopes that one day (soon), our culture will no longer encourage new masks to develop.