A Marriage and Family Counseling licensing exam question asks what a child molester looks like. A scary monster? The answer is that there are no distinguishing physical characteristics, i.e. they look normal. Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman joining ranks of WeinsteinGate dispel Harvey Weinstein as archetype. Webster defines 'predator' as: "one that preys, destroys, devours."
Thanks to Oprah discussing child sex abuse, most understand the concept of an abuser grooming a young victim -- a process whereby a perpetrator ingratiates themself to the victims, including their families, while simultaneously normalizing inappropriate behavior. Grooming is more than blurring physical boundaries; the mental aspect, PsyOps on steroids, messes with the victim's mind. These head games, gas-lighting, and other torturous extreme manipulations can leave a victim feeling like an egg-beater has run loose in their brain, disoriented as if what's up is down and what's down is up, and confused as to what's right and what's wrong. Just what a predator needs.
Predatorial grooming is a tool available to all types of abusers, not just child molesters. Victims of abuse, harassment, and assault did not need the Weinstein scandal rippling across Hollywoodland to know how pervasive this behavior is, but they undoubtedly find some solace in the fact that they are not alone.
Is it any wonder the Weinsteins of the world fester and flourish in a groomed society? 'Brazilian' waxing is institutionalized as a personal grooming trend while it is nothing more than mimicking porn actresses mimicking the appearance of prepubescent girls. Celebrity empires are built against the backdrop of leaked sex tapes all while we are bombarded with advertisements for Viagra and other so-called 'Male Enhancement' products complete with breathy pitch ladies imploring, "take as directed, we don't want you to OVER perform."
Is it any wonder under-evolved men, apparently, are constantly exposing and touching themselves or talking about it? Advertising messaging and imagery has phallus overload. How much longer must we endure phallic shaped bottles exploding their contents? Not surprising in the insulated Hollywood bubble -- a universe where teams of gofers, production assistants, and crew members do legitimate bidding of higher ups -- interpersonal skills retard, and even those wielding little bits of power can start viewing everyone as PAs fetching them their precise coffee order under threat of immediate dismissal and humiliation if a hint of a coffee bean is out of place. It is classic Dr. Frankenstein monster creation.
Before stepping onto a studio back lot, you will have a stack of paperwork to sign including lots about harassment. Looks good on paper. Studio back lots recall Hollywood history and lauded television classics The Honeymooners and I Love Lucy. Their iconic 'comedy' moments include fat boisterous Ralph revving up a fist toward his wife, "One of these days Alice... To the Moon," and the placating motivation for Lucy hatching hilarious harebrained absurd plots, "Ricky's gonna kill me." Mixed messages? Not really. Pretty consistent messaging.
Accosting during a production office meeting is unexpected; it is not a dark alley at 3:00 AM on the wrong side of town. Victims are psychologically shocked and stunned, perhaps momentarily frozen. Just what a predator needs. The abuser can be charming, funny, smart, and capable; all weaponized and used to disarm, calculated to manipulate. The threat of violence equals silence, "One of these days..."
Like a coordinated blockbuster multi-media promotion campaign insinuated into every inch of everyday lives, all the way to schoolrooms, survival instinct intuition is suppressed. Normal perception filters are undermined. Memes of sameness and tolerance falsely branded as equality are indoctrinated. If someone gives you the creeps, those red flags, so we're told, are wrong. Such consistent, persistent messaging occurring merely coincidentally begs incredulity. It is ubiquitous, which, on analysis, adds gravitas to Corey Feldman's poised earthshaking revelation of a Hollywood pedophilia ring. An appearance on Oprah's Doctor Oz on the topic doesn't hurt either.
Despite what we are guilt-groomed into believing -- even what children are taught in school rather than the three Rs -- NOT everyone is the same. Attempts to shame people to abandon individual uniqueness abound while forced diversity is rammed down societal throats. We are all different: short, tall, fat, thin, creative, analytical, and every other way. Each with a unique set of assets and deficiencies, whether from birth or acquired along the way. Boys and girls, men and women are not the same. Equal treatment under the law is how it is supposed to work. However, black people are pulled over by police for Driving While Black, and, people illegally entering our country are given taxpayer funded sanctuary. Unequal. Unlawful. Eggbeater in society's brain. Is it any wonder when laws are unequally enforced that chaos ensues emboldening wrongdoers like Weinstein? Just what a predator needs.
Contributing Editor: Amy Zidell
Amy is a free-lance writer, Internet consultant, and entrepreneur. She used to enjoy sushi and dark chocolate but not so much anymore. She’s patiently waiting for that new perfect pair of sunglasses so she can update her picture; this one is from the 90s.
Amy tweets social and political commentary at @almostcoherent.