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Harvey Weinstein statue is affective criticism of sexual misconduct in Hollywood

Saarim Damani

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A golden statue of Harvey Weinstein dressed in a satin bathrobe appeared in Hollywood a few days before the 90th Academy Awards Ceremony. The statue of Weinstein, which portrays him sitting on a golden casting couch with an Oscar in his hand right above his groin, is a mind-blowing piece of art installed by the two artists, Plastic Jesus and “Ginger” Monroe.

This artwork is a response to the disgusting misbehavior of Weinstein who is an American film producer, alleged to have sexual assaulted and raped over more than eighty women in the industry. Not only does this statue extend support to the victims, it also exposes the dark side of show business; showing how power is used to protect the monstrosity of these criminals and suppress unheard voices.

In addition, Monroe tells a Hollywood Reporter that the Weinstein statue’s couch suggests a “visual representation of the practices and methods that are used in Hollywood with these big powerful people.” That is what gives this statue a deeper meaning and a voice for all victims.

The Hollywood culture and life seems so glamorous from our screens, but behind this allure everything is a mess. The alleged abuse that happened behind the success stories of Weinstein threw me into tears and utter disappointment because how could a criminal, reported for sexually harassing more than eighty women, still not behind the bars? Does it seem possible for a man to commit so many crimes alone? How did he stay hidden behind the spotlight for such a long time before he was caught?

According to Rose McGowan, who claims to be a victim at the hands of Weinstein, there exists a “massive machinery” who is responsible for all the abuses. All these questions and responses make me wonder about how dark and scary one side of Hollywood can be, a side that rarely makes it to our screens as compared to all the glamour and lavishness that we witness.

Many people have taken to the social media, supporting as well as criticizing the Weinstein statue. Many people have raised concerns that this piece of art has just turned a very serious topic into something which is funny. According to Monroe, in order to take these powerful people down, poking fun and ridiculing it will help remove its power. Moreover, the New York Times states that “Mr. Weinstein enforced a code of silence; employees of the Weinstein Company have contracts saying they will not criticize it or its leaders in a way that could harm its ‘business reputation’ or ‘any employee’s personal reputation.’”

This statue, I believe, is a thoughtful artwork that will help break this barrier of silence. It will act as a constant reminder for the industry, telling it that no voices will go unheard and that it is time for them to clear their acts.

A still statue can talk so loudly; such is the beauty of art. Art is something that will remain forever; for you can kill an artist but never his art. Similarly, art is presented to us in all forms and, where it can be enlightening, it can also be very dark.

In a recent case, a man in Australia accused of stalking women blamed it on Bollywood and his case was later dismissed. This shows that whatever medium art takes, whether it is that of a statue or a film, it is making a bold statement which reaches the people. Thus, I believe that this rape culture is embedded within the patriarchal system inclusive of the film industries, which are fuelled by power. People like Plastic Jesus and “Ginger” Monroe are taking steps to fight against this rising culture.

I stand in support, not just for the statue of Weinstein, but for all the strong women who had to go through this mental and physical trauma. The society hides many Weinsteins and it is time we break the silence and raise our voices in support for all the warrior women and men. No one should go through such trauma, no one.

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Harvey Weinstein statue is affective criticism of sexual misconduct in Hollywood