Weinstein And The Issue Of Gender Norms

by Camille A-G on November 28, 2017 - 7:41pm

Multiple accusations of sexual abuse have surfaced in the United States, displaying the dark truth behind many men in power. With Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Louis C.K., Al Franken and many more, Stephen Marche discusses the issue of sexual harassment in his article ‘’The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido’’ for The New York Times.


Marche opens his article by discussing the disassociation between what men may say about gender politics and how they treat women. According to the author, the multiple news of sexual abuse have recently been forcing men to think about their sexuality, their nature, something he argues men loathe talking about. This is the core of the gender equality problem. In history, we have always taken for granted men’s grotesque brutality in sex, and the idea of fearing men has been present since the birth of literature, with stories like Little Red Riding Hood or Bluebeard’s Castle, and with characters such as vampire and werewolves, which all portray and sense of power by men that needs to be feared. 


The author explains the little presence of sexual norms in men’s discussions, and shows how this brings the fear we all have of finding the ugly truth behind too many men. They do not express their opinions regarding gender and power, and do not desire to, which is an important factor in the gender inequality this world is facing. Marche once wrote an article for which he was interviewed by 70 reporters from all around the world, only 3 being men. Men, according to the author, are not simply uninterested in the subject of gender issues, they don’t know how to talk about it, and barely ever discuss intimate questions regarding their sexuality with other men. 


The silence of men in the subject, the ignorance and the shame we feel concerning gender and power comes from society’s way of teachings sexuality to men. The traditional beliefs we have regarding men that involve showing no vulnerability and dealing with their problems on their own are in a way forced upon men, thus resulting in their grotesque actions linked with power. When discussing the issue of men’s misbehavior, we do not touch the subject of men’s nature, but rather encourage this image they feel the need to portray. 

By keeping the subject of men’s nature in sex a secret, the cycle of sexual abuse continues, as we hide the core of the problem by shaming the behavior of men. 


Moreover, according to the author, women’s desire to have their pain acknowledged and to be recognized is not too difficult for men to accept, because it means they don’t need to talk about who they are, meaning they don’t need to think about their nature. 


Thus, the issue of sexual abuse comes from the fact that men and women are in a position of inequality in our society, one we try to fix without getting to the core of the problem. According to Stephen Marche, in order to fix the gender inequality problem, we need to understand masculinity and discuss it, instead of silencing it and shaming it. 


I understand the author’s opinion on the subject of sexual abuse and gender inequality and agree with his arguments. I believe that we dot not address the subject in depth as we should, and shame men and support silencing them rather than discussing the subject truthfully. It is still crucial to point out that I completely disagree with men abusing of women, and do not believe that in any circumstance, we should defend men in such actions. I simply believe that with the rise of accusations, shaming, insulting and generalizing men’s misbehaviors does not help the problem of inequality. Indeed, abuse is a terrible action, though by making men feel disgusting, it is difficult to bring up the subject of gender norms to bring equality. I agree with the author that we should go in depth of men’s sexuality and women’s, and discuss this subject we are so scared to talk about. Equality is one of my biggest value, and with past experiences where I have felt oppressed and discriminated for my gender, I strongly desire for women to be equal to men and men to be equal to women. I have grown up in a family that values equality, therefore this is fondamental to me. Not only do I believe that women deserve the same rights as men, but I also value men. Therefore, I believe that in the rise of sexual accusations, it is important to view the issue by not silencing men’s sexuality, and by not supporting genders norms placed upon them. We need to be honest and discuss men and women’s sexuality, rather than supporting the idea of silencing the core of the problem.



Work Cited


Marche, Stephen. ‘’The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido.’’ The New York Times, 25 Nov. 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/25/opinion/sunday/harassment-men-libido-masculinity.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FWeinstein%2C%20Harvey&action=click&contentCollection=timestopics&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=collection. Accessed 24 November 2017.



While reading your summary, I found the phrase "the brutality of male libido" so inappropriate because male libido (sexual desire) is not brutish in and of itself, and I take offense at the idea that my dad, brother, or male friends are necessarily insensitive because they are male this is why I wanted to add my opinion. People can be cruel, male and female, and both can use their sexuality in different ways to gain power over others. I agree that men don't seem interested in taking a long, hard look at male violence. I'm glad the author is encouraging men to become even marginally more self-aware. That said, there are some unstable statements in this article. The author assumes that the male libido is biological and that us men have no control, but does not acknowledge that women have equally strong desires, and we (men) seem to control ours just fine. The way men have weaponized sex in a patriarchal culture, using a combination of sexual violence and sexual shame to subjugate and disempower women a good example is Saudi Arabia. But what the author I believe is referring to is CULTURE, not biology. Men are not inherently brutal.
I wanted to address this subject because it was destroying men figure and showing because the overwhelming majority of men have happy and healthy relationships with the women in their lives.

This is my opinion on this, and I felt that the author was wrong, and I do agree with you. If you do not agree with my statement or would like to add, please leave a comment

About the author

I am studying languages in culture, a program in which I am learning Italian and Spanish. I have a passion for languages and am hoping to learn many more in the future. I also have a passion for writing, reading and film-making. I aspire to be a second language teacher.