ok, ya’ll, let’s do this. and to do this we (obviously) need my emotionally incontinent face twin, ms britney.
a lot has happened since we last spoke.
for example, the new york times published this piece on harvey weinstein.
the new yorker published this substantially less well written piece on harvey weinstein.
the new yorker published a follow-up story on harvey weinstein.
the new york times published a follow-up story on harvey weinstein.
there was some exceedingly valuable writing on the matter from all over the internet which i will not even attempt to condense here.
buzzfeed published this piece on kevin spacey.
assorted other venues posted articles on kevin spacey.
so, like an amazingly enormous amount of stuff happened. but we’re not here to talk about that.
at least not directly. because, as you surely know by now, i am nothing if not exceedingly indirect.
no. we’re here to talk about leo.
(i’ve been told there are people who HATE gifs. do people HATE gifs? am i losing readers through my insistence on conveying my emotional states through GIFs of britbrit???
meh. i feel que será será. and i will use ALL.OF.THE.GIFS today. mwahahahhaahaa.)
so we’re here to talk about leo and- don’t you know it?!- my bff the daily mail.
you remember where we were, yeah?
i last wrote about leo in march 2016, when he FINALLLLLLLY won his oscar (gosh, what an innocent time that seems).
i last wrote about the DM’s leo reporting in february 2016, when they called him ‘LOTHARIO DICAPRIO’ (caps = the DM’s) and suggested he was going to end up ‘MISERABLE AND ALONE.’ (caps = mine)
so here we are. it’s 2017. the times they are a’changing.
people, we have reached a point where leonardo dicaprio no longer feels it is safe to flirt. what fascinating times in which to live.
this headline tho. let’s start there.
i mean, 1:
2: does this leave open the possibility that he flirted with women elsewhere on the attractiveness spectrum and simply avoided those deemed ‘pretty’?
excluding ‘pretty’ still leaves quite a generous range of levels of attractiveness with which one might flirt.
3: the passivity here is astounding, no?
implying that dicaprio, for ALLLLLLLLLLL these years, has attracted models (coincidentally from a similar age bracket and primarily employed by victoria’s secret) through his sheer magnetism rather than pursuit.
4: plus “‘careful'”.
which implicitly begs the question of how careless he might have been up to now. an impression in no way helped by the quotation marks.
what interests me here is the way this story is written and the response it seems to suggest to the recent revelations in hollywood. if we’re looking for examples of modifications of behavior, this is one.
something has changed.
although, before you go lamenting PC madness run amok, please note that, while leonardo dicaprio no longer feels safe flirting with women, the daily mail has absolutely no qualms about gratuitous photographs of women in bikinis:
fear not! the times they haven’t changed too much.
doesn’t this sound like an SAT word problem though? there is 1 star of titanic at a party. 40 people were at the party, including an unspecified number of beautiful women. how many women didn’t he talk to?
and how many were his ‘type’?
what reader response do you think the daily mail is gunning for here? sympathy for dicaprio? does the fact that he can no longer speak to women at parties doom him to a future of MISERABLE AND ALONE?
since george clooney’s marriage, the narrative of dicaprio’s bachelorhood has moved to the fore. he’s probably the most visible bachelor at the moment, given the general assumption that prince harry (who also, at one point, HAD TO MARRY) will marry meghan markel soon.
dicaprio doesn’t have to marry, anymore than any of us have to marry and certainly not for dynastic reasons. but, as a single man of a certain age, an austenish assumption that he should want to marry lingers.
this is not entirely the doing of the daily mail, as dicaprio himself leaned into this narrative when campaigning for his oscar.
‘that time will come when that time comes,’ he said, a rather fortune cookie way of stating obvious facts about temporality, which was, of course, interpreted as him needing and looking to find the right girl in order to settle down.
(would that we lived in a world where he could have been honest and said, I AM GLORIOUSLY SINGLE AND HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE, if that was indeed how he felt.)
fun fact: dicaprio is one of the few famous men whose past relationships are regularly mentioned in reporting on his life (macaulay culkin, of course, being the other- albeit kunis specifically). this is a distinction rarely bestowed upon men which almost always occurs in reports of women.
that is not to say that male stars’ love lives are never mentioned, because they are. but usually it’s the most recent relationship or a particularly noteworthy one. reports of men’s lives do not usually include an itemized listing of past involvements. reports of women’s often do, suggesting that relationships are the work of women’s lives whereas men’s work takes priority in the story of theirs.
dicaprio emerges as an exception.
a man of 42 has had some relationships. holy buckets.
this article fascinates me because it seems to be positioning dicaprio as an avatar for considering how such a person should exist in this brave new world where men must be ‘careful’ around women. ie. not grope, not harass, not assault.
note the automatic assumption that dicaprio’s behavior must be adjusted. that the way in which he moved through the world a month ago is now open to question. and also the way in which this is being framed as not really being a choice.
i’m not mocking dicaprio here. these do not seem like safe times in which to have a friend group entitled ‘the pussy posse’. (THIS. now. go.)
but i’m not sure that not talking to women is the answer either, which seems to be what happened here.
so leo was on lockdown at this party.
the undercurrent of the mail‘s reporting is a latent exasperated sigh of ‘WE CAN’T EVEN TALK TO WOMEN NOW!’ which aligns with the mail‘s broader editorial agenda of PC MADNESS RUN AMOK.
but it’s not exactly that there was no mingling. leo’s friends apparently still operated as wingmen:
and i know, i know, we must find new methods and it is the daily mail and i am asking for the moon here, but how sketchy does this sound?!!
it makes the ‘ladies’ sound like prostitutes and the ‘pals’ sound like pimps. harassment and assault are no longer allowed, but are business cards and wingmen the answer?
is it really that hard to just talk to a woman as though she were a human being and be a decent human being yourself?
this troubles me. for a number of reasons. one of which is its conflation of flirting with sexual assault, and the idea that we live in a world where flirting is no longer allowed.
i am totally ok with the end of ‘the day of the dark VIP room’ (though shouldn’t it be ‘the night’? do VIPs VIP room in the day?? dear VIPs, please weigh in). of all of the losses here, the end of ‘the day of the dark VIP room’ seems minor.
(please: when it comes time to make a documentary about this cultural moment we are in, let it be called THE END OF THE DAY OF THE DARK VIP ROOM.)
though i’m slightly concerned that, with the business cards, there will be a shift from the public space of the dark VIP room into private spaces, which doesn’t seem ideal.
but what worries me most is this:
there is an assumption being made here that women are dangerous now in a way that they were not a month ago. and the response to that, this article seems to suggest through its depiction of dicapario’s behavior at this party, is not talking to women in public.
people, that is not the way.
if anything, we need to talk to each other more than ever if we are to understand the ways our behavior affects others and the inequalities and internal biases that exist, the various shittinesses of this system that are in us and of which we are all a part.
one of the most fundamental shifts that has occurred in the past month has been an expansion of our understanding of so-called ‘rape culture’, and the realization that it isn’t exclusively rape that we’re talking about. rather, rape sits on the extreme end of a spectrum that includes many, many other behaviors- ranging from sexual harassment to micro-aggressions- which reenforce women’s oppression in daily life and which significantly impact the lives of both women and men.
it is my hope that that realization- that expansion of our understanding of the behaviors that constitute sexual aggression- will translate to a shift in behavior.
what i would hope it would not do is translate to a situation where women are seen as dangerous- an insidious, misogynistic trope as old as the hills.