This is to my friends who don’t yet get why the Depp/Heard trial is so important. I hope you will soon.
I wasn’t going to say anything because I really don’t want to have this conversation with you-I’m afraid I know where it leads. But it turns out we may not be able to “agree to disagree” about this. You should know by now that I think pretty highly of you. That’s why this matters to me-that you get this; even though I have a sinking feeling you won’t. I hope I’m wrong.
This case isn’t just toxic psycho celebs terrorizing *each other*. This has absolutely nothing to do with men not being able to show vulnerability. Make no mistake-the people keeping men, in general, and as a whole, from showing vulnerability are other men. Thousands of fans are camped out in VA in support of JD. The reason this case is a big deal (I mean really-have you ever known me to give a fuck about celebrity gossip?) is because it’s erasing the #metoo movement. I’ll attempt to explain why that’s so dangerous, and why, combined with overturning Roe v Wade, this will set women back not just decades, but hundreds of years.
You remember when you were a young kid on the playground? Remember the worst thing you could be called? It was a girl. No little boy wanted to “hit like a girl” or “play like a girl” or “sound like a girl”. No little boy wants to be associated with anything “girly” because that’s weak and pussy and gay. And then those boys grow up. Still thinking that being “like a girl” and being “a girl” is weak, less than; the worst thing in the world. Most men don’t even realize this.
Before #metoo, when we were growing up, you couldn’t win. I was a straight A student in 6th grade which meant I was “prude” so guys thought it was funny to try to grab my ass. For some reason I got “prettier” in 7th grade and guys were interested; but when I turned them down I was now somehow a “slut” (I’d never even kissed a boy). I started getting cornered and groped in the halls (as a lot of us were) and teachers (men and women) looked the other way every time. After a particularly traumatizing incident (why are we embarrassed when things are done to us against our will? good question) my parents went to the principal’s office but they “couldn’t do anything after the fact”. I know no woman who hasn’t been raped, assaulted, coerced, abused or harassed. 6/10 have experienced all of these, usually before the age of 18. I’m sure you know this-it’s not a unique story. It’s just been, until #metoo, something women have had to deal with.
Like BIPOC are warned about how to act around cops, girls get “the talk” at 10-12. About the things boys will try to do if you let your guard down. But even when you “do everything right” and “mind your own business” and “keep your head down” it doesn’t make any difference. You still find yourself in situations where you have sex because you can’t fight him off. Or your boyfriend tries to “give you” to his friends. Or you wake up with someone you lived with for 6 months having sex with you-and he doesn’t stop. The guy who “loves you so much” punches holes in doors, screams in your face and “accidentally” pushes you into the wall before storming out. A few months later it’s getting choked or backhanded, kicked. That’s usually when we begin to fight back. And when we cease to be perfect victims. What they don’t tell you is that it, the cycle of abuse, begins to feel normal. And you begin to think it’s all your fault. Every man I’ve known who’s been abusive has said and done the same things depicted in links below and described in the trial (the actual trial-not the sensationalist memes).
They are not unique; it’s all from the same playbook.
What I’m saying is all of these situations and thousands more were just par for the course before #metoo. They were just what you dealt with as a woman. It wasn’t necessarily ok…but no one was going to stop it either. Just like all of those teachers years ago, it is easier for the world to look away. We elected a president who had 18 sexual assault allegations against him. Three of those from girls under the age of 15. This was the norm.
When #metoo broke, finally women felt like we could speak up; without the shrug, eye roll, sigh and “well, what did you expect? dressed like that?! boys will be boys, after all…” bullshit getting repeated ad nauseam. Finally, people were listening to the horrific experiences we’d all gone through. Gen Z was standing up and saying “this isn’t acceptable-we won’t be treated like meat” and it was actually working. My friends and I were elated but also terribly sad that this hadn’t happened 20 years ago-so maybe we could have been spared some of the atrocious experiences we rarely discuss anymore-pushing them down instead in the hopes of forgetting.
This case has been a dog whistle to every woman hater, from the casual kind to incels, red pillers, mgtow-every toxic faction in the manosphere sees this as “payback for #metoo”. And the world for women before #metoo was fucking bleak. The treatment of Amber is reminiscent of the Salem witch trials-she is getting burned at the stake; even though Depp was the one who said he wanted to drown her, set her on fire and then fuck her burned body to make sure she was dead. People online are cheering for this. He was a 48 year old world famous multimillionaire who hired unknown 25yr old Amber for the Rum Diary and destroyed his 19yr marriage by cheating on his wife with her. The balance of power was always his. The campaign to malign her is fierce and few people I know actually see through it. I had hoped you would.
If you don’t have the experience of living as a woman; or being in a violent relationship, I don’t expect you to “get it” on a personal level; any more than I would be able to truly grasp how my friend Iyesha feels about slavery. But I’m hoping that that makes things a little bit clearer. I’m not sure where to go from here if it doesn’t. I’m sorry I couldn’t let this go-but it’s too important not to address. I hope you understand.