Miss O’Hara on Hollywood

While the sight of disgraced, repulsive movie mogul Harvey Weinstein doing the ‘perp walk’ into a lower Manhattan police precinct was satisfying to some degree, many of us – and by ‘us’ I mean women – can’t quite bring ourselves to revel triumphantly over the recent developments. Oh sure we felt a heady dose of schadenfreude in seeing that prick in handcuffs. But powerful men are, and always will be, powerful men. They can afford expensive lawyers, have stooges working in pr and the media, and employ mafia-like tactics to shield themselves from accountability. This will never change. And if one douchebag falls, another one will rise and take his place. Maybe I’m just cynical. I don’t know. But I would suggest caution in labelling this moment in time as a watershed. I have a reason for this thinking but don’t want to go on a diatribe here.

Instead, I’d like to share this newspaper clipping of screen legend Maureen O’Hara from 1945 about her experiences with the men in Hollywood. This is 73 years ago, folks.

With nothing but respect for the male readers of this blog, because you guys are among the good ones and some of you are my real life friends and colleagues, I still need to emphasize what O’Hara is getting at here; that a great many men determine a woman’s worth based on her ‘fuckability’ and nothing else. Or her willingness to do it, and just give in to sexual demands. In the words of Gavin de Becker, author of The Gift of Fear“When a man says no it’s the end of the discussion. When a woman says no it’s the beginning of a negotiation”. Saying no to a man is like a class A felony in these jerks’ minds. Something unacceptable and almost incomprehensible. Because if a woman won’t pleasure them and satisfy their desires, then what’s the point of her existence??? She’s not even “a woman” at all, as O’Hara describes the attitude.

She sure looks like a woman to me. The Irish-born woman who starred in “How Green Was My Valley”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, and “The Quiet Man”.

13 thoughts on “Miss O’Hara on Hollywood

  1. Grier Horner says:

    Maureen O’Hara would have loved the way women are bringing down sexual predators today.

  2. scultore says:

    Bravo Claudia! What I would like to see is more men speaking up about other mens’s behavior. We are all in this together.

    • artmodel says:

      Bruce,

      More men speaking up would be good for sure. There have been far too people – both men and women – looking the other way with regard to inappropriate behavior. It needs to stop.

      Thanks for your support and your comments!

      Claudia

  3. Bill says:

    Well said. For those of us who’ve been around for a while, it’s difficult to not be cynical about this. After all, how often have I heard (or, frankly, said/thought), “I wonder who she had to screw to get that role?” And now we’re hearing, “OMG — powerful men have been demanding sexual favors from women — who knew?!” Really? Who knew? I thought just about everyone did. “It’s been an open secret.” It hasn’t been any kind of secret — open or otherwise.

    All of which, of course, doesn’t make it right. Maybe this is the opportunity to make it better — I don’t know. Like you, I have my doubts — but we do have to make the effort.

    • artmodel says:

      Bill,

      Yes, it’s hardly some recent phenomenon. And not just in Hollywood of course but in so many work environments for women. It’s important that people know this because otherwise it’s too easy to explain it all away as Hollywood being a sleazy, degenerate place. (It is, but that’s not the point). I know from my own experience that the restaurant business is one of the absolute worst. When I was waitressing I dreaded going to work. Harassment was rampant.

      Thanks for your comments and for the Casablanca clip! 🙂

      Claudia

  4. artmodelandrew says:

    Well said. Appropriately blunt and pissed off, and at the same time a really interesting historical perspective. I can always count on Museworthy for an an intelligent, well-written commentary–which I find much more meaningful that than most of the hashtag noise.

    • artmodel says:

      Andrew,

      Don’t mess with Maureen O’Hara! She doesn’t hold back. And yes we women are pissed off because it’s hard not to be at this point.

      Thanks so much for your kind words about Museworthy! That means a lot. Much appreciated 🙏

      Claudia

  5. kdmedina says:

    Like all your stuff, this is great. Sorry I’ve not been in touch. Life is falling apart.

    Blessings!

    Kenneth

  6. Dave says:

    Amen, Claudia, and hooray to Maureen O’Hara for speaking out so many years ago. My mother was a singer and dancer who performed on Drury Lane in London in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and she has lots of stories about men and their casting couches and hands that they just couldn’t keep to themselves. Sort of like today, but even worse.

    How did you find this clipping? It’s a real gem. Thanks for sharing it and writing about it so eloquently.

    • artmodel says:

      Dave,

      This clipping was being shared around on social media and feminist blogs around the time the Weinstein story broke. Yes, it is a gem so I saved it. I can imagine the stories your mother has! This is a longstanding issue. Another aspect of all this that doesn’t get addressed enough in my opinion is that women are screwed (no pun intended!) no matter that they do. If they cooperate with the casting couch then they live with the unsavory reputation of having slept their way to the top. And it they don’t cooperate then they are outcast and have their careers destroyed. It’s a lose-lose situation.

      Thanks for your comments!

      Claudia

  7. Paul Darst says:

    I like Maureen O’Hara as an actress. One of my favorite Hollywood movie moments comes in the John Ford – John Wayne – Maureen O’Hara movie, “Rio Grande” (I think it is), when the regimental singers (the Sons of the Pioneers, featuring as lead singer the guy who played “Festus” in “Gunsmoke”), serenade Wayne (US Cavalry) and O’Hara (wife) with the song, “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen.” Watch it on YouTube.

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