MeToo, in two parts
We don't hear much about #MeToo these days, do we? Last I heard it was in SNL jokes.
When actress Asia Argento openly threatened powerful men in Hollywood, the series of events that followed could be viewed in different ways. One way is to think that everything was accidental, from the death of her boyfriend to her degrading downfall that coincided with Metoo losing all momentum and luster - at least in the main media where she was considered one of the movement's leaders.
Asia Argento was openly out for revenge during her speech at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. She was fighting power with power. The way to undo the power structure requires for us to remove ourselves from the power structure, to be humble actors towards true egalitarianism. Most people in the film industry are too caught up with power to represent this movement which has no leaders, only people with stories to be shared. Argento was clearly caught up in the power system, which, as I have repeatedly stated, is trauma-based. That is to say that her desire for revenge expressed in her speech was already a projection of her own unresolved trauma, probably from childhood.
The young man who accused her of rape when he was a minor approached her after her speech at Cannes, which makes me think that he may have been coached as her downfall was planned. That Hollywood should come out strongly in support of this young man against Argento only shows the hypocrisy from a town where pedophilia has forever been condoned and protected. Sex with a 17 year old ingenue is not frowned upon in Hollywood - it would only be used against someone whose reputation needs destroying. Don't get me wrong, I was never defending Asia Argento, even before all this came out, I am merely pointing out the power games. I balk at the idea of anyone having sex with a teen they knew when they were a child. Let alone her public insistence that she was the 17-year old's victim! All this points, again, to how symbolic repetitions of unresolved trauma are played out unconsciously unless one focuses on healing instead of on power.
In all of this, Anthony Bourdain's untimely death has been the most conveniently timed suicide in the history of MeToo’s media demise. As Argento's ardent supporter, it would have been far more difficult to destroy her public image. After she was outed as a perpetrator, the entire movement was thrown under the bus by the press, who centered the validity of a powerful grassroots movement entirely on the squabbles between two actresses.
Next, you may have noticed how mainstream and alternative media have stopped publishing MeToo stories and maybe how SNL started joking about women complaining about anything through MeToo statements. The media and Hollywood have tried to render MeToo powerless, ridiculous and hypocritical.
Meanwhile people keep getting inspired to speak out and create change. Christine Blasey-Ford spoke up before the entire world and created change in the hearts and minds of millions. Through the countless women who have come forward, big and subtle changes have happened, rippling effects we don’t yet know how they will change the culture. We don't need the media and power-addicted actresses to lead us in this movement - it is ours!
Following up on the #MeToo revelations, started by actresses uniting to speak up about sexual harassment, assault and rape by men in their industry: I would like to relate these events to power dynamics in this context.
The road to fame and power is paved with many spoken and unspoken deals, with crucial choices that determine whether a person is going to be big in the industry, or whether they are going to fail.
The actresses that were speaking up all were adult women, who may feel like victims as if they had no choice - but that is just not true. The choice was: have your integrity, and send the guy packing, and if you were raped or assaulted, speak out loud and clear to prevent other women from meeting the same fate - or - handle the harassment or assault as best or as terrible as you can, and stay silent. I'm not saying that I don't have understanding or compassion for these women; it's far from easy being female, and the options are very slim.
The first choice will be made by someone with a strong sense of self. Such a person will be sickened by the reality of Hollywood, and refuse to pay that price for any career. There are many such people, and they choose another path.
The second choice will be made by those who are not as strong, who will do whatever it takes to be part of this dysfunctional family, perhaps resembling the family of origin dynamics, where the prize is the big secret. Fame is one of the greatest love-substitutes that fakes self-esteem, hides cowardice, and makes it appear as if you are the strongest woman on earth.
Just as in incestuous families, those children who remain faithful to the parents and stay silent, reap the rewards of inner family status and inheritance. Actors gain status on the world stage and are paid accordingly. These are perhaps women who as girls already experienced sexual or other abuse, and while they had no choice in childhood, they continue to blindly grope for external rewards in exchange for their soul. I thought the world of Meryl Streep, believing in her very powerful off-screen persona, until she gave a standing ovation to convicted child rapist Roman Polanski when he won an Oscar and commented: "I'm very sorry that he's in jail." These actions reveal an emotionally immature woman who sides with the abusive power figure (in the name of his art, or whatever justification) at the expense of the child victim, her own young self, and all the other girls betrayed by that action.
There are those in the middle, like Lupita Nyong o, who rejected Harvey Weinstein's advances, and also remained silent, and is now dealing with the fact she did not speak up earlier: a redemptive and healing approach.
Sexual abuse is used on children because it breaks down boundaries. Every child who is sexually or otherwise abused is psychic, which turns their physical vehicle into an easily opened channel. The best actors are extremely mentally pliable, and can, even without make up, appear physically different, depending on the character they inhabit. They are channeling an unintegrated part of them that may be shut out of their consciousness, or they may perhaps even channel another entity.
My own example is unusual, because I lacked the self-esteem from the extreme childhood sexual abuse, and was primed for power - yet chose against it at each step of the way.
I made these choices, not only in Hollywood, but in the yoga world as well. They were very clear choices, and in my case extremely painful - because I did not have the self-esteem to feel good about myself, while appearing to all power addicts around me like a big loser. While my peers rose to fame in the yoga world, I remained painstakingly anonymous. Whenever I made a choice based on principles against power, I experienced ridicule and bullying (yes, in the yoga world, of course) and felt the accompanying humiliation and powerlessness from childhood. I lacked the humility that true self-esteem makes possible. But in feeling the extreme discomfort and pain, I was able to trace back these feelings to their origin, and find healing. The deep insights I received on that journey were my motivation. I always had a sense that I was not just walking this lonely path for myself.
I left actors puzzled at why I wasn't famous, and lost many friendships by being a whistleblower in the yoga world, naming the big guru who groped me, and breaking the big taboo in the ashtanga yoga community.
I don’t name my childhood perpetrators because it is dangerous. Possibly it is just as dangerous to name perpetrators in Hollywood. The question is how much you become part of the problem, how much you enable the abuse. Can the actresses who were silent for decades honestly call themselves feminists? Are we still looking to the stars of Hollywood as role models? And what about the politicians? As more is revealed and Hillary's power addiction becomes obvious, can we take an honest moment and think of all the choices she has had to make that went against integrity, against the best interest of her constituents, and against women and girls, in her ascent in the political arena? Can we stop the partizan craze for a moment and stop to think that she might be dangerous, that there are those who can’t speak about what they know?
The hierarchy is trauma-based. The belief in authority is the most dangerous superstition. All those who have blindly accepted the good intentions of authorities, have become co-opted in the worst atrocities in the history of humankind.
Empowered human beings rely on their own moral compass to make their own choices, and make themselves accountable. Dysfunctional dependence on hypocritical power structures only serves those at the top, fueling the urge to climb the ranks and become part of the select few. Our numbers are so much larger, we can have the power anytime we want it.
Maybe we need more healing, and all this turmoil is only part of the healing process.