Now Reading: Hollywood’s Perfected Craft: Performative Feminism


Hollywood’s Perfected Craft: Performative Feminism

January 14, 201812 min read

Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Woody Allen. Roman Polanski. Hollywood’s own house of cards is crumbling. As it’s key players fall, one by one, like a domino, from cloud 9, who’s loud thud can be heard around the world. Hollywood struggles to combat and fight against, not sexual assault or the toxic rape culture that has been hidden by the glamour of Tinseltown, but exposés. That’s right. This year, more than ever, Hollywood and it’s elite have tried, endlessly to keep up this facade, that La La Land is nothing more than a group of dreamers who work together to produce timeless cinema and art.  Forget about the rape. Forget about the assault. The trauma. The disparities. Forget about the women and men who have been left victims of abuse and assault at the hands of the same people we worship and idolize every day.

The response to this is a shambles of a movement, a faux-activism inspired craft they’ve devised to fool us, the viewers, the common people, the non-elites, that Hollywood does in-fact care. This craft, I shall call, performative feminism. Otherwise known as, the art of pretending to give a fuck. This performative feminism was best displayed this week, at the 2018 Golden Globes awards, as we saw a soiree of men and women, dressed in black, adorned in ornaments and pins with phrases like “Times Up!”. But I wonder what Hollywood truly was mourning this week, the dehumanization of people, or the beginning to an end of the environment and era that fostered Hollywood’s lucrative culture of abuse. In an attempt to “rebel” against assault, all I saw yesterday was perhaps the greatest performance, an ensemble of the biggest criminals, monsters, in all of this world gather, and with smiles and laughter praise  women, children and men for standing up for being survivors and victims, while at the same time they were the faces of this same toxic Hollywood culture.

Yesterday, I saw a man accused continuously of assault get on stage, personally in a room of women, children and even men who had been victims of this culture, and accept an award as Best Actor.

Yesterday, I saw a man accused continuously of assault get on stage, on live television in front of a world full of women, children, and even men who had been victims of a worldwide culture of assault, and with a smile, and laughter, accept an award as Best Actor. The worst part, the part that makes me shiver, is that there were many, many others in that room who we may not even know are the same monsters that have silenced these victims into a corner, come up and accept awards, or perhaps shake hands, smile, laugh, and most infuriatingly, wear black suits and ties and praise those who have come out as victims. Yesterday, in an attempt to denounce assault, an attack on the human spirit and soul, Hollywood praised the same perpetrators, and it has no intention of stopping. So long as there is money being made, Hollywood will churn out a story, an excuse from any gutter, for a star. So long as there is money being made, Hollywood will continue this performative feminism, an act that has lasted decades, made fools of all of us, but most disgustingly, made a mockery of genuine activism and care. Yesterday we saw a room drenched in black dresses, suits, and ties, but in this display, we also hid the same monsters. The same people who had quite actively nurtured this sick culture were amongst the same people who were victims of it. In the same cloth, they remained hidden.

In the same room, hiding, like vultures, they were looking for prey. In the same room, we saw the greatest juxtaposition. We saw women like Oprah take stage and talk of a better tomorrow and then we saw men like James Franco take the stage and talk about himself, not his list of accusers, but just himself. In all his glory he accepted an award, he wore black, but not for the same reason we thought he did. He wore black because he knows that one day, the same little lies that brought down Weinstein, Spacy, Allen, and Polanski will bring him down too, and drag him to this grave. He wore black to mourn his future, which according to these folks, should not be too bright, as they have bravely come out against him, sharing their stories and the stories of others. Here are some of them:

As much as I love Oprah, there is a thought in the back of my mind that every so often bothers me. Hollywood is a small town. It’s filled with elites, but they are not many in number. I am sure word travels, and if anything, I wonder does Oprah know. Does she know the same man that just walked off stage moments before her,  has been accused of assault by other women, or does she know more than that? Do all the people in that room know there is truth to these allegations, every man, woman, and child. Do they all look at these people, dressed in black, knowing they are the same monsters that attack them and laugh, at the hypocrisy? Does everyone in Hollywood know, is it some open secret, some golden rule, never mentioned but always known? I sometimes wonder how these folks feel when they look into a sea of monsters, maybe their own monsters, and are forced to give a speech on moving forward as a community, when the same people pushing and pulling them back are sitting right in front of them. I want to believe that they are just as unaware as the rest of us, I want to believe that they too were shocked, but something tells me in the real Hollywood, these things are not so much of a secret as they are a perfectly accepted norm.

We all wonder, if Hollywood is “trying” so hard to make us believe that they are not a part of the problem, then why are films by Woody Allen getting green lights. The truth is in the answer, Hollywood is only trying to make us believe they are not part of the problem. It’s all a mirage. If it looks real enough, people will buy it. They only have to try a little to convince a whole country, a whole world that they care. After that, they can do what they please.

This year the Best Motion Picture for Drama at the Golden Globes was awarded to Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri but I think the greatest motion picture, and it’s one hell of a display, perhaps the biggest deception, the greatest lie, and image of mockery was this performative feminism. The best motion picture goes none other than to the Hollywood entity itself, it has put on the best show for so long, deceiving us that it was not a messy web of lies, but a sunny path to stardom, a happy town full of happy people making happy art. When really, this whole time, the real Hollywood, was behind closed doors, never to be seen. Always kept a secret, a hush, a whisper. And it makes me wonder, what more is there to the land of fame excess? What else, or rather who else, is creeping in the little crevices of America’s dream town. The real Hollywood is not an airbrushed, edited film, it is a long reel stored in dusty boxes in storage rooms whose keys have been hidden, or maybe thrown away. The real Hollywood is not the land of dreams, its where dreams come to die. But for so long, this little show has kept our eyes glued to our televisions and movie screens aching for this same kind of fame and fortune, little did we know, some of the greatest criminals, in suits and ties, praising their victims, perfecting their lies, live in the same land. In trying to produce the biggest movies, Hollywood become one, the real question is, when will it come to an end?

Prepare for a year full of performative feminism, a year full of this faux activism, but keep your eyes peeled. It’s all a show, rehearsed and scripted, but what about the bloopers? The behind the scenes action. One day Hollywood will fall, the point of interest is how hard and who will fall with it. The show must come to an end sometime soon, and you all should be there for the final scene and acting credits. One day, everyone’s justice will be delivered, until then we must seek it.

Here’s the hotline for sexual assault. Never be silenced. Even if it’s one voice, that one voice can help millions, it can take down and challenge a whole pyramid of rape culture. To all the victims out there, big or small, famous or not, rich or poor, man, woman or child, cis or trans, gay or straight: I am with you, and I know for a fact, there are millions of others behind you too.

800.656.HOPE (4673)

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Iman Khan

Human. Tweet me @ImanDaFeminist. Email me [email protected].