If you follow the Canadian media world, or just haven’t been stranded in the woods sheltering in a cave for the last few weeks, you know there’s a situation happening with CBC’s (now former) superstar Jian Ghomeshi.
I wanted to avoid writing on this topic, and almost thought I had.
But I think I still have to, even if you’re all sick of hearing about it by now. In fact, I have to write about this BECAUSE you’re sick of hearing about it.
Because as much as you might be sick about hearing about Ghomeshi, you should be even more sick of the reason you’re still hearing about him.
It’s important that you’re hearing about him. It’s good that his face keeps popping up in your newsfeed on Facebook, and every little change in the status of his downfall is being broadcast on the radio.
For me, the crux of the Ghomeshi issue is this: we, as a society, need to publicly acknowledge and be disgusted by the people in our society who perpetrate victimization.
This Ghomeshi situation and the discussion surrounding it should never have been about whether people’s private sex lives should be known to the world.
It should never have been about whether BDSM practices are (or even whether they should be) palatable by our society.
It should never have been about whether the CBC has a right to be allowed to decide what type of behavioural standard they want their employees to live up to, or whether they were morally right (or even lawful) in cutting ties with Ghomeshi.
Of course, we can talk about all those things, as well, because they’re valuable discussions to be having (part of the reason you’re sick of hearing about him is because there are so many aspects of the situation worth talking about) but for me the discussion should be about how actively we are going to address the concept of “consent,” in our society. It should be an acknowledgment of the seriousness of violence – especially sexual violence perpetrated by men against women – its pervasiveness within our society, and what (if anything) we’re willing to do to change that.
We need to take victimization and sexual violence seriously in our society. We need to stop ignoring it. We need the reminder of it to be present. We need to be forced to look at it.
So if being oversaturated with Jian Ghomeshi posts in our Facebook news feeds – and hearing about him on the radio, and seeing stories about it on television and in our newspapers and magazines – keeps this issue in the forefront of our thoughts, I’d say it’s a good thing.
Don’t be sick of hearing about Jian Ghomeshi.
Be sick about why you’re hearing about him.