I posted this to my personal facebook, earlier, but my increasing disappointment with the focus of the Young & Gable conversation being on why he is innocent and above reproach, also “too handsome to need to rape” made me decide to make this more public.
Since I haven’t done much more than use Facebook and Twitter for my angry, expletive laden outburts on the subject, allow me some time to express some rational thoughts on Loretta Young, Clark Gable, and the rape allegations. This isn’t to say, “I give, no more fighting,” but it’s becoming increasingly clear that my utter disappointment in historians and amateur researchers alike, who continue to make Loretta stand trial, will only grow. The male domination of Hollywood and it’s structures is alive and well, and no amount of evidence against Clark Gable and his pattern of mistreatment of the women around him will convince some people that he was fully capable of taking advantage of Loretta. As many have pointed out, there is no proving it, either way, and I have to bow to that notion. Still, when you are doing your level best to rip open the scars on Loretta’s soul, take into account what you would do, if she was your daughter. Would you look her in the eye, laugh at her, and say, “Your story is preposterous because you were flirtatious, and you shouldn’t have encouraged a man as incredibly attractive as that.” Would you tell her to keep quiet? Would you tell her that she needed to learn her lesson and not be such a female, from now on? Would you punish your daughter when she said that she didn’t understand how something like this could happen to her? While she tried not to scream, giving birth in a darkened apartment with just the barest of necessities at hand, while the child’s father continued in his great fortune, at that very instant, would you look at her and say, “This is your fault, you know.” If you said yes to any of the above, please understand that your fight for Judy Lewis just turned into a war against her. While you continue to tear apart her mother, you’re showing girls that they still have to hide, be ashamed, and possibly even create more stories like Judy’s.
What I want to say to all of the girls out there who see comments from old male “film historians,” and the like is that the classic film community is not all like that. I started this blog because I felt different from other bloggers, felt like I wasn’t on par with their reputations. What I’m finding is that I do not want to be anything like a great portion of them. I am deeply ashamed of this community, at the present. From the ones who refuse to speak, lest they lose followers, to the ones who do, trashing reporters, families, etc. in their quest to exonerate their bro, that give all of us a bad name.
To the kids out there, just getting in to classic film, please know that there are those of us who do care to change the course. We do want to right the wrongs done to the incredible women who helped to get us a voice in conversation. Just because some voices are louder, more misogynistic, more apologetic to the males than the females does not mean that it will always be that way.
And, for the love of all things holy, do not let idiots who have nothing to add but shame convince you that you have anything to ever hide, from the world.