This ongoing lynching, the jokes without any lambency, the role-plays, the allegations that Heard shitted the bed being discussed with pleasure, the envious talk of how comfortable, confident, and sympathetic Depp seemed in the courtroom − how do they expect someone who is backed by all Hollywood and backed by those fed up with the #MeToo movement to seem?
The reason why I’m writing this article right now, and I’m pressing the keys of the computer with anger, is the case of Amber Heard and Johnny Depp, which I have been exposed to for days. While I was trying to move on stumblingly, losing myself in the bullshit of my country, I suddenly realized that a sentence was constantly spinning in my mind. “My dog stepped on a bee.” And Amber Heard’s facial expression that has been the subject of great ridicule on social media for the past few weeks… “How?” I said to myself, how could a silly, perhaps meaningless sentence, just said in context, have gotten so deep in my subconscious that I could murmur it contrary to all reasons? And then all those social media posts… It is not possible for a person to run away; it is not important in the least to say “I am not interested” or give feedback. Instagram, Twitter, Tiktok… It isn’t possible not to see how a woman who has been subjected to domestic violence is lynched in cooperation, how it is talked about that the reports of the beatings she received, the psychiatric sessions she went to, the statements she gave are fake, and how they are all mocked laxly through all channels, and to say I’m already trying to live in a terrible place with terrible news so let this problem be left to others. Fortunately, it is not at one point.
Amid all this high school teenage talk, what I care about is not that two grown-ups get stuck in a toxic relationship with each other. Let’s not bother also about the masculinity of our Jack Sparrow, who is a wonderful actor, a wonderful father, a philanthropist, a pirate of hearts. My problem is that a man who is a suspect or perpetrator in any harassment, rape or violence case has never been turned into such an object of hate, neither in the press nor on social media. It’s as if the whole of America (because of being the geography where the #MeToo movement originated) is taking revenge of the grand Hollywood kingdom whose reputation and dominance has been, large and small, on shaky ground over the last few years and where the dirty file no longer stays behind the scenes, on the backstages, on the movie sets. And of course, the revenge of the absolute power that is represented by the masculinity on which that kingdom is based. It’s in some way a matter of restoration of honor for them. It is as if Johnny Depp’s being cleared of the “aspersions” Amber Heard had casted on him is the assurance of the acquittal, salvation, and the liberation that they “deserved” all this time, of all of Hollywood, the whole of Europe, the directors, the actors, the producers who have been “blamed” for harassment and rape, and the men who have even the slightest dominance in the film industry and do not hesitate to turn this dominance into a means of violence.
This ongoing lynching, the jokes without any lambency, the role-plays, the allegations that Heard shitted the bed being discussed with pleasure, the envious talk of how comfortable, confident, and sympathetic Depp seemed in the courtroom − how do they expect someone who is backed by all Hollywood and backed by those fed up with the #MeToo movement to seem… All these don’t turn my stomach that much. Maybe because I’m used to it. Maybe because in a country that has turned into a huge graveyard of women, surviving in some way and trying to resist have already become my lifestyle.
What turns my stomach is that at the end of the day, no one will remember the dozens of women whose ages start from 14 and who were abused and raped by Roman Polanski. It is that as Polanski’s name will never be forgotten, we do not know the names of any of those women. It is that the open letter of Woody Allen’s stepdaughter will be lost deep in the internet archives. It is that it will be just mentioned by no more than a handful of people and maybe heard by a little bit more people that just one year after her film “The Shining” won an award at the Cannes Film Festival, Shelley Duvall fell into a psychological depression, struggled with severe mental illnesses, and eventually turned into a woman described as “crazy” by the media. It is that in time, perhaps all of us will barely remember Maria Schneider, whose career was ruined by Bernardo Bertolucci together with Marlon Brando. It is the fact that Bertolucci ended a young woman’s career before even it started asserting brazenly that the script required it, will not terrify anyone “enough”. And when I stop and think about it for a moment, it is that the lives of tens, hundreds, thousands of women whose names I do not know, maybe I will never know, will be overshadowed by the “most sensational” event of recent times, Depp’s case to save his honor. It is that they will never be heard or seen, that they will be ground up and swallowed up by the gears of the brazen “kingdoms” in the consciousness of the male-dominated press, the film industry, and their power.
The only thing that allows me to stay strong in the face of all these probabilities and possibilities that loosen my knees, make me nauseous, and -in fact- in the face of the spiral making us forget, being forgotten, is (as feminism taught me) to hold on to our collective memory, where all the life experiences which are not knowingly told, deliberately hidden, ignored, are collected. To remember continually, to remember always. And to remind. Both to myself and to others. No matter how much that hurts.
Translator: Gülcan Ergün
Proof-reader: Müge Karahan