Now Reading: Woody Allen Is Proof of Hollywood’s Performative Feminism


Woody Allen Is Proof of Hollywood’s Performative Feminism

December 17, 20174 min read

Woody Allen is a child molester. He is also an esteemed filmmaker.  Woody Allen sexually abused his own daughter when she was seven years old.

In a recent interview, Woody Allen is described by Kate Winslet as a man who “understands female characters very well.” Winslet, along with Justin Timberlake, Selena Gomez, and Timothée Chalamet, features in a recent Woody Allen productions.

This December, Woody Allen released his seventy fifth film. His forty second one since he was accused of sexual abuse.

It is 2017, and all these sentences are true.

Dylan Farrow, the child that Allen abused and, in her own words, stole a childhood from, has refused to stay silent on the continued treatment (or lack thereof) of Allen from the media and his peers. Apart from the court case that consumed most of her childhood, Farrow broke her “official” silence back in 2014, and has reinstated time and time again, in harrowing detail, the abuse that Woody Allen put upon her.

The New York court, in 1994, decided that according to “the testimony given by the individuals caring for the children that day, the videotape of Dylan made by Ms. Farrow the following day and the accounts of Dylan’s behavior toward Mr. Allen… the abuse did occur.” However, due to insufficient and “inconclusive” evidence, Allen was left off the hook.

Unsurprisingly, the only defense that Allen’s coworkers have against their choice to work with a child molester is this exact question of truth: Woody Allen was never formally charged for his crimes. They ignore the legitimacy of Farrow’s claims that have been public knowledge for a while now, and instead chose the role of the unsuspecting spectator: a stance that has enabled rape culture for decades. They side with and profit from the work of an abuser. And their only saving grace is so weak it’s pitiable: the fact that there isn’t “sufficient” evidence (other than, you know, detailed accounts from the victim) of the time when Woody Allen isolated a literal child in an attic, far away from plain sight of her family, so that he could molest her.

Allen’s supporters and coworkers put their own artistic and commercial gains before their morality. They side with a molester and silence his victim. They are guilty of being complicit in abuse. But that, ultimately, is a their own personal decision (however immoral), one that the public (beyond boycotting the movie) has no say in.

However, what we can do is hold these artists (and there are many) who side with Woody Allen accountable. That means not allowing Justin Timberlake to harp about his respect for “strong women” while blatantly ignoring the strong woman that accused the director he is working with of sexual abuse. That means not allowing Timothée Chalamet to performatively pledge that he won’t be silent about abuse, while still working with an abuser. That means not naming Selena Gomez the “Billboard Woman of the Year” when she is complicit in silencing the ones she apparently represents.

By holding not only Woody Allen, but also the men and women who support him accountable, we don’t allow feminism to be used as just a prop to stay in vogue. These actors may speak the language feminism and profit off of it’s image, but their actions contradict their every word.

Dylan Farrow has been calling out Woody Allen very loudly for a while now. In the midst of it’s march to women empowerment, Hollywood needs to stop pretending it did not hear.

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Vidhisha Mahesh

An avid reader and pop culture enthusiast, Vidhisha spends her time writing, volunteering for the Teen program at her library, and ignoring her calculus homework.