Opinions

Taming of the Shrew: What Role Do Men Play in Taming Bro-Culture?

By Olivia Pan ’20
Chief Opinions Editor

On Wednesday, October 23, exiled movie producer and (accused) rapist, Harvey Weinstein, attended an event on Manhattan’s Lower East Side known as “Actors Hour.” This event is described as one which is “dedicated to artists,” according to the event’s website. A female comedian by the name of Kelly Bachman, who was performing that night, took jabs at Weinstein, joking: “I didn’t know that we’d have to bring our own rape whistles and mace to Actor’s Hour.” According to Vice.com: “Her comment was met with (masculine-sounding) boos from the audience.” Later on during the event, two other actors, Zoe Stuckles, who uses “they”/”them” pronouns, and her friend Amber Rollo, approached and confronted Weinstein. They were subsequently escorted out of the event. According to Buzzfeed news, Weinstein, who has been accused by multiple women of sexual assault and harassment, is set to stand trial in January for rape.

The kind of men who would heckle a female comedian for simply calling out an accused serial rapist are the kind of men who blindly contribute to toxic masculinity and the problematic “bro-culture” that exists in society. Think about it. These men who heckled Kelly Bachman would rather support an accused rapist than attempt to empathize with the deeply uncomfortable position young, female artists were put in during this event. Harvey Weinstein has faced countless accusations of sexual assault and harrassment, and yet he was welcomed and supported at this event, while two women who were brave enough to confront him were thrown out. 

Men do not recognize their power in supporting, rather than subverting, violent men and are, in fact, enabling and empowering the Weinsteins of the world. The kinds of men who engage in behavior like that exhibited at “Actors Hour” are knowingly engaging in bro-culture behavior and helping to create the Harvey Weinsteins and Matt Lauers of the world. They help foster a world where women’s voices are not heard, but quieted, bullied, and shouted down, even in a public arena for all to view. I mean, c’mon ladies, quiet down. The guy only raped, tormented, harassed, and threatened to destroy the careers of others if not provided sex, and he did in fact destroy many lives and careers. 

If men at this event did not care for what Bachman had to say, then that’s their opinion. However, to actively boo her and tell her to “shut up,” as one audience member did, is abiding by the troubling bro-code and bro-culture in which men feel they shouldn’t call out other men. 

There have been countless good, young men who have witnessed passed out females in compromising and dangerous situations at parties, bars, and campuses all over America. Yet, many stood by without saying or doing anything. Just like the queen bees of the mean girl set, there can be alpha males within a group. Some boys and men feel pressured to not confront the behaviors that they themselves would never engage in. Bro-culture, like white privilege and rich privilege, is a real thing. It is my belief that if men took the hardest stance against the Epsteins, the Lauers, and their own roommates or co-workers who engage in violence against women, we would see an elimination of rape, harassment, and domestic violence, the likes of nothing we have ever known. 

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