#MeToo, Stormy Daniels, and Lex Ash a Nigerian Artist's Perspective on Gender Equality

  • Earlier this year, Catherine Deneuve and one hundred other famous performers and academics sent a letter to LeMonde defending a man’s right to seduce in the wake of the #MeToo movement. "I was asking myself ... what do they call a clumsy or intense flirting? Was Harvey Weinstein's intentions towards (the) women intensive or flirting?" Inna Shevchenko, a Human Rights activist based in Vienna, told France 24.

 

  • Tarana Burke the founder of #MeToo and a survivor of sexual violence was at a panel in Cannes this month discussing origins. She talked about her motivation for starting the movement. “We are socialized to carry that shame,” the shame of sexual violence.  Levi Strauss & Co.’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Jennifer Sey, a former national champion gymnast who has written about sexual assault in the sport was also on the panel. “The shame is what’s isolating,” Sey echoed. “Nothing dissipates shame like sunlight. You say it, and the shame is gone.” There was also a panel on “Redefining Miss America in the Age of #MeToo” featuring Gretchen Carlson, who helped to bring down Roger Ailes of Fox News.

 

  • Rudy Giuliani’s attempts to delegitimize Stormy Daniels and her claims against the President are dangerous on many levels. Aside from the fact that his retrograde, absurd statements that base credibility based on profession give credence to Trump’s lies, they also de-legitimize the very real claims of abuse by sex workers. Just ask porn star Nikki Benz, who was assaulted on a work set in December 2016. Alana Evans, a former actress who heads the Adult Performs Actors Guild, a union for porn talent, saw the video footage and believes that Bez is in a fear-driven trance. “Nikki was completely sexually assaulted in that film,” she told The Daily News. “There were parts of the scene where Nikki had gone into a submissive mode.” She told the News that she has contacted the police three times during her career, once for herself and twice on behalf of other women being assaulted. In none of those three incidents were the men prosecuted. Actor Ramon Nomar and director Tony T, who appeared in the video, were never charged. “These people that do engage in this conduct, in my opinion, have no business in this industry,” Michigan based attorney Corey Silverstein told The News. “As far as I’m concerned, that movement (against assault) is going on right now. Performers should be coming out when they’re mistreated.” Adult performer James Deen in 2015 was accused by several women of sexual assault and nothing was ever done.

 

  • “The emergence of the #MeToo movement resonates for those of us who place a premium on principles such as gender equality, ethics and social justice," Keren McGinty writes for Jewish Week. “Yet the Jewish community still has not confronted its own #MeToo problem — the horrible reality that prominent figures in Jewish organizations and institutions have sexually harassed women. I know because I am one of those women.” McGinty, who teaches American studies at Brandeis University, argues for a particularly Jewish response to the problem of sexual harassment, which affects every race, religion and ethnicity. She also recounts an event of sexual harassment by a pillar of the community and a leader of the workplace.

 

  • A record number of women are running for the House in 2018. “More than 40 percent of Democratic nominees for the US House of Representatives so far are women, according to an NBC News analysis. Meanwhile, fewer than 10 percent of Republican nominees are women, NBC found.” They are running, no surprise, in the Democrat party. The Cook Political Report found that they are over performing by about 15 percent versus 1.7 percent in GOP primaries. Dave Wasserman, who writes for the Cook Report, believes that the drive to elect women is the primary force in the 2018 election cycle. “There have been 65 contests featuring at least one man, one woman and no incumbent on a Democratic primary ballot,” he writes. “Women have defeated men in 45 of those 65 races, and women were the top vote-getters in an additional two Georgia races headed to runoffs. Men defeated women in just 18 cases.”

 

  • Artist and Instagrammer Lex Ash has a cool take on gender equality. His new show, “considering the push towards gender equality, my take is to redefine what perfection and agreement really mean to the tune of what modernization has done to improve the social standing and general appreciation of women in our society.” We’ve come through different stages of being – antipathy, apathy, sympathy, empathy and we’re at the point of affinity,” Ash said. Gbam! Unearthing and Reclaiming, a New Becoming is showing at the Wheatbreaker Hotel in Lagos, Nigeria. You can see some of his work here.