S1: The Taliban wants to make a deal. We’ll see if they want to make a deal. It’s gonna be a real deal, but we’ll see.
S2: My column was flooded with women asking me if they should go forward and report their boss. Should they call the police about their son in law? You know, who do they speak to, E.J.? Please help me. I don’t know what to do. And then I, of course, felt terrible because I’ve had the secret all these years.
S3: Hello and welcome to tramcars time, Virginia Heffernan. I’m coming to think that there are some things that if you do them, you should automatically be put on a watch list. I mean, if you express admiration for Vladimir Putin, for his strength or his abs a few times, you should be put on a watch list. And there’s some smaller red flags, too. One is if you fly often through Teater Burrow Airport. Now, that’s the airport for private planes outside of New York City. So scrutinize your friends. Is one of them often just getting in from Teater Burrow? Red flag watch list. Next up, and related Gulf streams. In my view, no one should ever fly on a Gulf Stream. Gulf streams let go the Lolita Express just to name one there for bad people. And finally, no one in the world should run a, quote, merchant bank. Whatever that is called, Aspin Capital. I just don’t like the sound of that. Gordon Somberness Bank, Aspin Capital, Aspen with its $40 million houses. It all just sounds creepy and fraudulent. And may Elizabeth Warren take private equity all apart brick by brick when she’s in charge today. You may be relieved to learn we’re not talking impeachment and Ukraine, but we’re talking about something also of urgent importance when we think about this presidency. The president’s ongoing misogyny and the kind of coming of age on gender on these questions from sea to shining sea. My guest is Christina Carter Ritchie. She’s a staff writer at Slate. She writes about gender, feminism and social politics. Christina, welcome to Trump. Thanks for having me.
S4: I am so looking forward to talking to you on a range of subjects all the way from gender to gender, age, the gender. So, OK, this morning, I have to confess that I went out with a quote unquote bad take because I worried I’d been such a good soldier with good takes. That meant that I wasn’t taking enough risks. I don’t know what I was thinking, but what I did was tweet the cover of Michelle Obama’s new guided journal, which is a companion to some of her other work about finding your voice. And it has kind of very pale blue circles like Venn diagram on some pages with a inspirational quotation, kind of encouraging you to, quote, find your voice in this journal, which is sort of the rhetoric of scrapbooking and Oprah and goup and all kinds of other women’s cultures that seem like kind of sub para feminist, you know, like paranormal. And I said, when they go low, we build a lifestyle brand. When they go low and undermine democracy, we build a lifestyle brand. All right. So it’s a little tacky and there’s no reason to take on. Now, that’s a good joke. Okay. But an admirable woman like Michelle Obama. And I’ve come to the habit of deferring to the ratio. So if I just get completely trashed, I usually delete the tweet and ultimately did get ratio’s on the grounds that I was challenging the right or the freedom of a black woman to build wealth by a book that would be a bestseller like that, as opposed to like if she were to write a book about race or feminist activism. And I went back and forth about whether that was a useful charge. Some people on Twitter showed me pictures of, you know, it’s white women who got us into this mess from the women’s march. And ultimately, I just took their points and took down the tweet. A big issue. But what do you think? You know this world very well. And intersectionality is come in for a big stress test. In the last three and a half years since the first women’s march. So talk on that big, careful, careful subject.
S5: I’ll say that I reviewed Michelle Obama’s autobiography becoming. Yes, I think it came out last fall right around this time. And I think I was maybe a little bit more critical of it than some of the other folks that I talked to, some my friends. I share maybe what I interpret to be your point of view that I wish she was a little bit more forceful with the way she talks about the moment we’re in right now, the imperative to act, the destruction of, you know, democratic norms that we’re seeing from the White House, because she is in a position of incredible influence and she’s clearly trying to use that influence to some end because, you know, she’s writing a book and she’s releasing a journal and everything. She’s going on speaking tours. Like it’s not like she’s shying away from the spotlight. So the question is, what does she want to do with that spotlight? I found that in her autobiography, she kind of came to the conclusion. I mean, she pulled a lot of punches, which I understand to some degree. But it also seemed like she came to the conclusion at the end that, you know, there’s like this inevitable arc toward progress and justice and that people just need to learn from each other and understand better and that it did not seem adequate to or even particularly accurately descriptive of the moment that we’re in right now. Yeah. That said, I understand where some of your critics are coming from. I guess I mean, it’s potentially an unfair. Fair burden and responsibility that we’re placing on Michelle Obama. That link, because your husband and I will say I don’t think her autobiography reflected very well on Obama at all. I think he came across as extremely selfish and she was sacrificing herself at every turn for him. She wasn’t really the one that chose their life that led them to the White House. I guess the question is, is it fair to expect her to take on that mantle because she was thrust into this position of power and influence. And, you know, if she wants to not be a target for the right, I think she’s been a target for so long. And it’s not surprising to me necessarily that she wouldn’t want to be so politically inflammatory that she would attract more of that kind of abuse. And so maybe we should just let her write her journal and be happy for a little bit. But I guess I’m torn on it. It’s actually a place that I don’t find myself very often these days. So it’s nice to feel a little bit ambivalent about something instead of like just outright outraged.
S6: That’s what I mean about a stress test. What happened to the Women’s March Group? It’s also part of this. It really puts pressure on your thinking based on what you said about becoming the book to which this journal is a companion. And I’m contradicting my first point that this is a lifestyle brand. I wonder if if, as you say, there’s something subversive in writing about Obama, the real sacred cow here as erratic writing about her husband, as having been selfish, as having directed her and her children’s lives in a way that they didn’t choose. There’s always like a cartoon in the first couple’s relationship, like a cartoon of marriage. And, you know, my favorite first lady, Betty Ford, went so far as to say that she had become an alcoholic under the pressures of being president’s wife. And now she was here to save you from the same fate. Wow. And maybe there’s a little bit in Michelle Obama’s writing that’s about the rigors of marriage or having a husband hell bent on his career and also the sort of radicalism among especially black feminists or feminists at the intersection of self-care.
S7: Yeah, I think that especially at this point in time.
S5: Yeah. With the news cycle being what it is, politics being the way they are. I think that a lot of people aren’t getting those particular needs met. And Michelle Obama might be a very welcome figure to offer that kind of support. I definitely don’t begrudge any buddy the opportunity to make money. And like maybe this is what she really wanted to do all along and she’s finding great self-fulfillment from it. Maybe she feels like the more outwardly political leaders on the left are doing a great job and she doesn’t need to step on their toes. But I also think it’s interesting to consider our changing ideas of what a first lady’s responsibility should be, especially considering, you know, one of her predecessors sort of almost became president and nearly immediately out of that office ran for Senate or totally, very soon after out of the first lady’s seat.
S4: Yeah, there is an interesting, strange precedent there. One of the reasons for this guy, a journalist by Michelle Obama, is to help readers and users of the journal find their voice. So women finding their voices, as is a phrase that seems in a way to unite even the scrapbooking crowd on the right. The Christian scrapbook and crowd. But also people like Eugene Carroll, whom you’ve written about, who while she has had a very engaging and lively voice as a journalist for all these years, is only recently finding a voice as a witness. And I wonder if you can say something about that kind of catchall phrase of finding your voice, including how it comes through with the witnesses to Harvey Weinstein, to Matt Lauer and speech. And, by the way, the victims of Harvey Weinstein, the witnesses to Harvey Weinstein’s misconduct, including Gwyneth Paltrow. Yeah. It’s really this is a very interesting loop. And we have so many women’s voices as witnesses and also victims and survivors of abuse in the fray right now, including Eugene Carol-Lynn, all the president’s women said. Do you think there is some use to this finding your voice?
S5: Discourse, I think e.g. Carol, is a very good example of why it is and the different things that voice can mean to somebody. So as you said, Aegean Carol, you know, she’s hosted a television show. She’s had a widely read advice column for decades. She clearly doesn’t have trouble speaking to people and speaking her mind about things. I mean, yes, an advice columnist. You need to have a lot of faith in yourself and your own judgment and other people. You know, you need to project in such a way that other people trust you. But when it came to telling her own story, mining her own experiences, interpreting those experiences and accepting them and sort of grappling with her own vulnerability in this case, in the case of, you know, the alleged rape that Trump committed, she had a really difficult time. I mean, she wouldn’t call it. You interviewed her about this. She wouldn’t call it rape, even as she admitted that if somebody had. Into her advice column, she would have said, you know, yes, that was rape. Yes. Go to the police. And now that she’s sued Trump for defamation. I mean, in her defamation complaint, she calls it rape. More than 200 times. And she has said that she was compelled to come out after reading in the context of me to several people writing to her saying, you know, what should I do about this sexual harassment, sexual assault that now I’m sort of rethinking, I think. And so this case her case is sort of an example, both of how complicated the concept of voice and speaking out can be. And the same in the case for a lot of the actresses who have come forward to say, you know, I was abused by Harvey Weinstein. These are also people with a platform and highly trusted. However, they have their own specific constraints, because when you are a Hollywood star, I think a there’s a lot less sympathy for you and a lot of ways when you come out and say, this happened to me. People might say like that’s just your industry or like, oh, you know, what else did you expect? Or Will, look, you’re still rich. Also, they have a very public career to protect. So, you know, they also have a lot to lose, even if they do have a pile of money to fall back on. But the other thing Eugene Carroll’s case represents in terms of this voice discussion is the way that it can create momentum when people tell their stories. Even for somebody who seemingly should have been could have been one of the first, you know. Eugene Carroll, somebody with a lot of public trust behind her. You know, people might trust her a little bit more because she has this this name to protect. Why would she lie about Donald Trump? She’s clearly not in need of more attention or more money. But the fact that it was harder for her to come forward and that other women who didn’t have that sort of name and recognition ended up inspiring her to come over. It was heartening for me to watch and also really sad. I mean, the fact that Eugene Carol for so many years has been living with this experience, allegedly. And, you know, unable to talk about it, feeling like she couldn’t even admit to herself that she had been victimized because she had this idea of herself, as, you know, so strong. And she was sort of flirting with Trump. When you think about like finding your voice and what that means, like, I don’t think it’s just an individual thing. It’s a community thing.
S6: You wrote about unbelievable, the really riveting show on Netflix about a woman whose rape was not believed and something that stood out in that show reminded me of Egypt Carol story. I mean, I’m sure you know the series better than I do, but one of the women who was raped by this nighttime stranger rapist was was actually not raped. She got away and she jumped off a balcony and broke, I think, her pelvis and her hips and still has trouble walking and still has pain. This is the quasi fictional representation of a historic figure. The series seems to take the position, or at least someone does. At least she wasn’t raped. Right. And E.J. and Carol, there’s another component to her story, which is it doesn’t seem like or she hasn’t said to me or others that she had pelvic damage to fragile, damaged tearing. She I mean, she hasn’t spoken of that, even though it was forced, certainly forceful entry into her body with his penis. But she did have her head cracked hard against the back of the wall and came away with a concussion that she’s witness to and survivor of. It’s incredibly interesting. I mean, I started to wonder with her if it’s easier to talk about other kinds of physical assault than it is. Totally. I mean, I sort of thought, well, the other women really is it at least she wasn’t raped like the rest of the women were not suffering with any leftover injuries. And do we have to buy into the idea that there’s a kind of sacred damage done to a body that’s raped, that’s not done to a body that’s concussed or broken?
S5: Who? That is an extremely tough question. And I think it’s the damage that people suffer when they survive. A sexual assault is incredibly individualized. I think know every person will come away from it, feeling different degrees of trauma about different parts of the experience. And I think part of what makes sexual assault in some ways uniquely traumatic is, well, first of all, the fact that we know statistically, like you’re less likely to be believed, you’re less likely to see your assailant convicted or even brought to trial. Yeah. And so that knowledge that my assailant will probably not be brought to justice is part of what makes it such a confounding and painful and isolating experience for people. Yeah, but also when it comes to physical injury, aside from, you know, what we typically think of as, you know, sexual injury, it gets to that idea that, you know, nobody says when someone gives you a concussion. Oh, well, did you want that? Maybe you maybe you were acting like you wanted it. Yeah. Whereas if it was damage incurred from sexual trauma, there is that sort of other layer of disbelief that comes in where. Oh. You know, maybe it started out like you wanted it or like did you say no more forcefully, but when it comes to other types of pain in your body. That question never comes up.
S4: Yeah. I mean, that is also something I’ve spoken to Agena a tiny bit about, which is when right after I spoke to her, I was talking to my son, who’s now 14. And can you see his last year, 13? And he said, why don’t women report what you know? What could they push him for getting caught? It’s true. Although it also, you know, he was probably hearing some of the discourse of like boys have it bad. I don’t know. I’ve I worried that there was a little bit of like if she waited. It was so bad. Why did they wait so long? And the only thing that occurred to me is he’s sort of in the height of his like, you know, pre-adolescent pride. And swagger was to say, you know, like, if some kid beat you up on the playground, you might not report it to the police, even if you like, broke your jaw and gave you a black eye. And he said, right. Because I wouldn’t want to seem like I was weak. And that’s what Eugene Carroll said, you know, and I said, well, what if you were told that that might keep him from beating up his. It’s like if you reported him and put him in prison or, you know, got him in serious trouble, that that might stop him from beating someone else up like his sister or or another kid who’s not as tough as you. And like Eugene Carroll, he said, I might do it for that reason. Yeah. So I do think that, you know, we don’t like nobody wants to see. That’s what Eugene Carroll said. So I didn’t want to see it as rape, at least not at this point, because I fought it. I saw it as a fight and it was a fight that I won. You know, and she’s proud. She’s an app proud athlete. And she didn’t only like to have lost that one.
S8: Yeah. It’s interesting that she says she felt like she won. Yes. Because she got away. Yeah. I mean, after she was raped. Yeah. And that also speaks to like the other harm that she was probably scared she would incur if she stuck around, you know, or if you forced her to stay there. Allegedly. Yeah. I think it’s also complicated when you think about the social repercussions of reporting somebody who is known or beloved in the community.
S5: And so we know that, you know, the majority of sexual assaults happen among people who know each other. So what are the repercussions if you report or if your son reported, you know, somebody who broke his jaw, who is a popular kid on the playground? Yeah. Or would he have to go back to school? And everyone in the class knows that he got so-and-so in trouble. Right. And will they believe him? You know, if they didn’t see that it actually happened.
S4: Yeah. Or maybe he seemed to be spoiling for a fight. Yeah, exactly. I mean, the same charges. I mean, that’s why I like or at least I’m sort of urging myself to get off what might be leftover ideas about rape as a kind of property crime or a desecration of the body. And think of it in in broader terms about assault. Yeah. Like people don’t say the same way they used to when I was in college. This is not a crime of sex. It’s a crime of violence. And that seems important.
S5: Yes, definitely. I mean, and this is something that we’ve talked about on the waves a little bit regarding Harvey Weinstein. I mean, if it was about sex, he could have found ways to get it in ways that were consensual. You know, whether that be, you know, to people who consented to having sex with him where, you know, he could have found sex, you know, through like sex workers. There are other ways to get physical intimacy without raping people.
S9: There was his wife to.
S8: Hey, I don’t want to make assumptions about their relationship. Yes. I mean, and also the fact that he then, you know, spent decades spending millions of dollars on settlements, lawyers, spies. Yeah.
S5: Blacklisting people like these indicate to me that it’s about wielding power over somebody more than sexual gratification.
S4: Absolutely. I mean, I’ve said it before. His kink does not seem to be potted plants, which took up a few minutes of his days. Yeah. It was like calling them Assad and threatening running pharaoh. I mean, that was his perversion. If he could, like, read porn, it would be, you know, seeing seeing them.
S10: Assad staking out office that want to visit concerts. Sorry. Going too far.
S9: You’ve read a bunch of books that I haven’t and I should have treated them on the show when they came out. But the one that I’m especially interested in is that all the president’s women co-authored book. Right, about. About all the all the what is it now up to dozens of women that Trump seems to have abused or mistreated or anyway, who’s treated in the usual Trumpian way. And the book’s thesis is something like all these women, their stories, their collective stories have something to teach us about the president.
S5: I went into this book knowing that it had been promoted by the publisher as containing 43 new allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump. And I was just a guest. I mean, not because I didn’t believe them, because, you know, there are already, as you said, like more than a dozen women who have accused Trump of sexual assault. But I was like, what sorts of reporters are these that they could get these allegations that have never been raised before? Yes. The book, I think, really suffers for that promotion because it does not contain 43 new allegations of sexual misconduct. A lot of the allegations that they say are new actually have been reported before. They just weren’t included on the list that people were passing around that, you know, a lot of news outlets compiled and some of the allegations are actually not necessarily sexual, like the fact that Trump kissed reporter Katie Terr on the cheek and she was an unwanted kiss. I wouldn’t necessarily say that that involves sexual contact. There was Trump saying that he was approached by a group of pre-teen girls and he said to one of them, oh, I’ll be dating her in 10 years. That was included in allegations of sexual misconduct. Just a lot of things that weren’t. There were, however, a few new allegations of sexual misconduct. But more than that, I mean, the book was co-authored by Barry Levine and Monique L. Faizi. Barry Levine comes from The National Enquirer, a tabloid that famously protected Trump for years. You know, with using this sort of catch and kill strategy that Ronan Farrow talks about in his book, where they would buy the story from somebody who had an allegation against Trump and, you know, as if they were going to publish it, but actually bury it. And I found that the sensibilities of tabloid reporting and writing really did not do justice to the stories of these women that the book was trying to tell. I mean, it comes from the thesis that Trump’s, you know, the way he wooed his wives and the way he treated his wives, the way he cheated on his wives and what he did in his affairs and the way he sexually, allegedly sexually assaulted and harassed women all come from some sort of like unified theory of women. And, you know, the book really tries to dig into what that might be. And I just felt like it’s not that deep. Like, yes, he’s he’s a misogynist. Yes. He treats women like crap. But like, if you want to explain why he does that, like, look at the world that he’s in. I mean, it’s not unique for a rich guy who travels in circles with models to mistreat women. Like that’s actually I think a person who didn’t might be the exception to the rule. Like these industries are rife with abuse.
S9: And also, you say that the book reproduces the logic of I mean, objectification is too weak a word that the book itself calls Marla Maples a leggy blonde.
S4: Blacks and women are about busty.
S5: And I think he stashed his mistresses away. I’m like, these are just incredibly gross and outdated ways to Huck about treating women again, especially at this moment when there is so much good reporting being done. And it seems like there’s a shift in the public’s ability and the media’s ability to take stories of sexual assault and harassment seriously. I think it’s unforgivable to be writing about women in a book that’s full of, you know, allegations of sexual misconduct to be writing about women as like leggy blondes.
S9: One thing you also talk about is Richard Hatch, who is in the first season of Survivor. I think I’ve made no secret that I’m a Survivor fan during the season. And also that Survivor, you know, was off the Mark Burnett Show before The Apprentice. And The Apprentice in some ways was meant to be the real jungle. What Survivor did with people starving and naked in difficult environments. We were gonna see that, you know, it was actually the real estate business or just business in Gotham that was actually, you know, the test of survival. And it just is a little bit of an aside. The Burnett strategy with Survivor in the early reality television was like ultimate fighting, like you were supposed to use all your social skills, including the worst wiles.
S11: So there were lots of girls in bikinis and some of the men were kind of drafting them as a hair. Well, you could win if you sometimes you flirted your way to the top. And there were sort of names for those roles. And then the same thing came true.
S3: The Apprentice and people having lots of show Mansour’s and lots of under addressing last Wednesday on the episode, they had a kind of MI2 episode where the producers stepped in because someone because people were using both to style charges and meats to style behavior of kind of sexually harassing people. A strategy to win the game. Oh, my God. It was incredibly ominous, but it also teased out what it what was true of this particular way of comporting herself on television. Every thing that Trump liked from Howard Stern to The Apprentice. You did this look goofy, exaggerated skirt chasing. And that was called making good drama, making good TV.
S8: Yeah, I mean, sex sells. I’m not sure if you’ve ever heard that about showbiz, but it’s a while.
S5: Every time I read something that, you know, a news account of Donald Trump from like the 90s or the early 2000s or something, I’m reminded of the different way that people treated men like him back then. I mean, it’s I guess it’s up for debate whether things have really changed that much.
S8: But certainly I felt like the way that people talked about his behavior, the way he talked about women was sort of treated as like, oh, haha, this like man loves women and isn’t he a manly man? And and also a little bit of a goofball like he’s so cartoonishly macho that it’s it’s a little bit of a joke, but also understandable because, look, he’s surrounded by hot women and who wouldn’t want that?
S5: And I feel like that the there was like a a little bit of a fog that where people were like completely unable to see or unwilling to see the fact that those kinds of ways of spinning narratives were actually protecting people who were committing terrible crimes. And I mean, same with Harvey Weinstein. Not that these specific allegations were actually public, but I think the idea that a lot of people might have heard those allegations, especially people in the industry, and sort of dismissed it as like, well, yeah, the casting couch, like having you heard of the casting couch link, it’s sort of a legitimate quid pro quo arrangement whereby like hot women get things because they’re hot and right. You know, sometimes hot women date old gross men and like that’s, you know, to to advance their careers and everyone kind of get something out of that. And I feel like when now that we’re talking more about the abuse allegations against Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein, I think we’re starting to see a little bit more the way that those accepted narratives of sort of benign misbehavior or benign misogyny actually were camouflaging like entire industries of harm.
S4: Yes, OK. This exactly nails it. I’m sure you read Dana Stevens piece about how much she thought that she started to wonder if the whole movie industry was had been affected by things like the complete blackballing of Mira Sorvino or even the sidelining or the sort of discouragement of Gwyneth Paltrow. So, you know, we talk about her as rich and set up. And of course, she’s all those things. But she also got an Oscar and stopped acting, which just never happens. And I started to wonder why.
S11: Why people are dropping out or why we didn’t see Mira Sorvino and, you know, her story when she woke up and basically to the news that she’d been blackballed all those years ago at Lord of the Rings by Harvey Weinstein. You know, she said something like decades of therapy, trying to figure out how this was my fault. As you say, it warps whole industries. And we could talk about the State Department this week when it comes to or, you know, certainly politics. The effort made to drive out Michelle Obama, certainly Hillary Clinton on a maybe smaller scale. The president doing some kind of witness tampering in real time with witnesses before Congress, female witnesses before Congress in particular. Forget about the individuals getting a fair shot. How are we letting half the workforce in, live in and propel these worlds with their talents? If you know, if Selma, if Oscar winners, if career civil servants feel that they can’t move because of sexist tropes like casting couches or Trump’s ranking of women on their looks or his chronic comments about everybody’s appearance and sexuality, when I think about women working in the government under Donald Trump, I think about the women who, you know, his appointees who have said, well, look, I’m working in the White House.
S5: How can you say Donald Trump is sexist if I’m working? If I a woman working in the White House.
S7: Yes. And I I think that’s, you know, obvious. A B.S. argument, but there it it does cause one to think about the ways, about whether it’s possible for somebody whose worldview is so clearly warped by sexism and sexualization.
S5: You treat women fairly in the workplace and you get into questions like about the M.I.T. Media Lab, for instance. Yeah, yeah. Joey Itoh, who was the head of the M.I.T. Media Lab, saw donations from Jeffrey EPSTEIN after his conviction for soliciting sex from an underage girl. And, you know, I interviewed a couple women who worked there under Joey ETOH and they said, you know, it’s really hard for somebody with that worldview to think, you know, oh, this this guy is actually just kind of harmless. And shouldn’t we be giving him a second chance? It’s representative of that. There are ways that that sort of world view trickles down, even if efforts are made to sort of insulate people from the sexism of or from the world view of whoever is making those decisions at the top. You know, they’re always like functionaries who even like lower down in the industry or lower down in, I guess, like the White House or federal agencies who are still, you know, affected by the fact that the person making the decisions at the top is animated by misogyny.
S11: Yeah, I think that’s absolutely right. You well know who Sarah of that says, but I’ll just direct people’s attention. She was a is a media lab fellow and had an extraordinary career. And then really says that because of figures like Joe, you know who you know, I mean, she knew well about Edo’s connections to Jeffrey EPSTEIN early on, but she was left out of conference after conference. And so many of us know this story. And then to learn that while you weren’t being invited to conferences, you know, this Harvard professor and that M.I.T. God were hanging out at Palm Beach or at Pedophile Island or on the plane, you know, you thought, well, I must not be working hard enough like Mira Sorvino or maybe I’m neurotic, maybe I’m difficult. Maybe I need another degree. You know, they must just be working harder than I am. And that’s why they’re getting prizes, getting awards. And I mean, Sarah points out and it’s not not incidental, she said, look at me and these other people in in the field who keynoted at South by Southwest. You know, when we met 20 years ago and they were giving these talks alongside guys in the profession, and those guys are rich and very successful. And it is worth noting, as Sara says, that someone like Sarah has no money. And she is I mean, she’s such a good fellow. She’s out there. Sarah, you know all this. But on Twitter, because she’s been really tirelessly chronicling the experience of many of us in tech. And she was at the highest levels and how something like Jeffrey Epstein’s abuses of power can reverberate all the way through a system. And this happened with Harvey Weinstein and with the movies. And it happened it’s certainly happening with Trump all the way through the chain of command. You have misogyny at the top without ruining so many careers and in some cases lives.
S5: And you can’t have people who are willing to overlook that misogyny either. I think that’s an equally important problem, because it’s you know, I think it’s really easy for people to say, you know, like the women I talked to at the Media Lab, like had actually some great things to say about Joey Ito and why he promoted women leaders. But the fact that he was willing to overlook, you know, Jeffrey Epstein’s documented history of sexual abuse, you know, I think it impacted those women’s chances of success. And I think, you know, people are ignorant to those things, whether willfully or or not willfully. But it’s if you are willing to overlook something like that, one wonders what else you’re here to overlook. And also the fact that the the way that even just having those people, you people like Jeffrey EPSTEIN in the ecosystem affects women’s conceptions of their own worth and value to the organization. If my organization is has ties to this guy and he’s going off and talking about women and in very derogatory ways, as we know Jeffrey EPSTEIN did in his meetings with a lot of these scientists, who am I? And I know accounts of Jeffrey Epstein’s meetings with a lot of luminaries in science and tech. Even respected male scientists would start to look at women in the room and say, like, oh, I wonder if they’re just here, because Jeffrey EPSTEIN kind of wants them for his like, you know, sperm, whatever, world repopulation program, because they’re really attractive and really smart. Like it creates a whole system where women are led to doubt their accomplishments. And and the men are, too, because they’re in that same sort of circle where those ideas are getting passed around. And told that there, you know, except. In that industry.
S11: I have a question for you about complicity in enabling everything a little bit about the fate of the conference years ago, and I saw John Searle, the philosopher who’s in this little bit in the circle of Jeffrey EPSTEIN via this organization called Edge and Searle, who subsequently removed from his position as philosopher at Berkeley, showed up at the conference. And this is all it is. He showed up a conference, having flown there and has plus one was 60 years his junior. So she was 23 and he’s 83, something like that. And she didn’t speak a lot of English. And if I had read the reports on how to spot trafficking, I would have asked some questions like people around EPSTEIN. I mean, some people at M.I.T., you know, asked or thought of asking, are you here by choice? And I didn’t ask that. And later, you know, once he was dismissed for sexual harassment and various kinds of abuse from Berkeley, I wanted to look into what had happened to this woman. And so I called other people at the conference. And I am not going to name names, but basically the younger. And I’m not doing an okay boomer thing, I promise. But the younger women said and had at the time, I think, asked questions of each other and we’d talked about it. The older women and I’m talking about serious feminists. One in particular, very lefty said, it’s not my place. It’s not my place to, you know, ask someone about their sexual choices, their romantic choices, their intimate lives. You know, kind of live and let live. And I as soon as she said exactly that expression, that’s not my place. Rather than getting outraged, I could remember that mindset. It was like easy. And Carol, you know, thinking I’m tough, I’m not a victim, you know, and that I’m in charge of my end. You know, if I want to have if I briefly want to have a, you know, kind of sexual dalliance at Bergdorf Goodman and that thing, then that’s because I’m a free woman and I’m sexually liberated. And, you know, and if I change my mind and it turns ugly, then that’s a worse day in New York. And then other times you get it. You love your one night stand. And that’s fine, too, when she talks and talks like that. And I hear the voice of those women in their 60s and 70s who wanted sexual liberation. And then this voice of this other woman saying, not my place, everybody live and let live. Then I forget that there’s, you know, the sort of younger feminists have introduced this idea that there’s a solidarity required among women to at least that we can’t we don’t owe all our deference to the sexual choices of men.
S4: Right. Like, oh, I wouldn’t want to question your sexual freedoms in having, you know, toted around this woman who looked quite scared and out of her element. And, you know, 60 years, no matter how liberated her, I think half your age is one thing. But a 60 year age difference seems maybe worth questioning. I don’t know. What do you think about the not your police argument?
S5: This is a hard one, because the scenario that you just described. I mean, I think it’s really hard to know from looking at somebody whether they’re being trafficked or not. And I know there’s actually been a bit of a movement against companies like hotel companies who encouraged their employees to report trafficking just based on visual sort of suspicions. Yeah. Like, you know, there’s a lot of guests coming in and out of one given room or there’s like a person it can it’s can be very racialized. And biases against trans women come out. And and there’s a lot of ways in which the sort of the guidelines do more to damage specific groups of people than than to help actual survivors of trafficking. So I’m not sure what I would do in that scenario. I guess if you say she looked scared, like that’s another bit of information, perhaps there would be a way to raise the issue with her without, you know, alerting the authorities or something like that, which I don’t think it would be the right choice to get law enforcement involved without actually talking to her. But your question about it’s not my place is, I think basically the central question of the metoo movement, especially when we think about how institutions and communities are going to deal with sexual harassment and abuse. The short answer is if you consider yourself a public citizen and somebody who’s a member of communities, it’s everyone’s place because everyone has a role to play. This is going to sound really cheesy, but like everyone does have a role to play in enforcing norms that protect people. And I think there are a lot of different ways to do that, that people are grappling with choices that are not always easy. Like the question of do you if somebody confides in you about sexual harassment or abuse in your workplace. Do you go to, you know, H.R. without their permission? Like, I think these are questions that actually don’t have easy answers and have to be case dependent so they don’t really make for a useful podcast material yet.
S7: I would say that the. It’s not my. Lace view of sexual harassment and abuse is what has allowed a lot of these sort of open secrets and push under the rug.
S5: Cases of abuse to persist throughout generations of our public lives as women.
S12: My guest has been Christina Carter Ritchie. She is a staff writer at Slate. Thank you so much for being here. Christina, thank you. That’s it for today’s show. What do you think? Bend our digital ears on Twitter. I’m at page 88. The show is at Real Trump Cast. Our show today was produced by Melissa Kaplan and engineered by Merrett Jacob. I’m Virginia Heffernan. Thanks for listening to Trump cast.