Culture

Lindsay Lohan got it wrong about the #MeToo movement (again)

Claiming that going public is all for attention is the apologist’s go-to rhetoric.

August 13, 2018

Last week in regrettable things celebrities have said, Lindsay Lohan is back at it again with chastising the #MeToo movement. While promoting her Greece-resort reality show, Lohan Beach Club,  in a recent interview with the Times, Lohan remarked that survivors of violence aren’t… surviving right? “If [the assault] happens at that moment, you discuss it at that moment… You make it a real thing by making it a police report.”

Let’s get one thing out of the way here: belief shouldn’t have to be conditional on the basis of a police report. There are many reasons why survivors and victims might not want to go to the police, like dealing with shame, stigma and resistance from the officers themselves. Then in the rare event that your case makes it to court, there’s the possibility of a judge asking you, “Why couldn’t you just keep your knees together?” It’s not ridiculous to lose trust in such an institution when trying to come forward with an assault. The choice to not report doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

In this case of Lohan, this isn’t her first time stumbling over the #MeToo movement. Back in October 2017 (in a now-deleted Instagram post), she defended Harvey Weinstein and shamed his ex-wife Georgina Chapman for not standing by his side. Months later post-Weinstein comments, her opinion on these sexual misconduct and abuse allegations haven’t improved. “You have these girls who come out, who don’t even know who they are, who do it for the attention,” she explained in the Times interview.

The thing is that people speak out when the system has failed them. As the #MeToo movement has proven what many of us already know, it has.

It’s a confusing (and frankly, unempathetic) stance coming from someone who has both weathered the hostility of the mid-2000’s tabloid machine, in addition to being outspoken about the domestic violence she experienced from ex-fiance, Egor Tarabasov. But Lohan’s perception of the #MeToo movement highlights that even those that have experienced violence can fall into the age-old misconception that survivors seek attention as opposed to, you know, justice. Claiming that going public is all for attention is not only the apologist’s go-to rhetoric, but also openly disregards the reality that very few benefit from said attention, and many  find themselves in a more vulnerable state by having their traumas resurfaced.

Of course, it’s also slippery to respond to such a statement from someone like Lohan, as her experiences may have been normalized for her. By recasting the reason why people speak out as being fueled by personal gain— rather than social change — people can blame the individual instead of the institution. The thing is that people speak out when the system has failed them. As the #MeToo movement has proven what many of us already know, it has.

Despite speaking with such authority over the lives of these survivors, Lohan does backtrack by saying, “I can’t speak on something I don’t live, right? Look, I am very supportive of women.”

Let’s hope Lohan can learn from this incident. The first step to that is believing survivors.

 

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