Sexual power dynamics: Examining the missing part of the story

The point is that there is a question here about who wields the “power” in such a situation. The emerging consensus would be that the older, more successful person does. But the younger, aspiring person was also wielding power — a power which allowed him to get himself into a situation, with potentially far more to gain, and on which he was able to pull the rip-cord whenever he chose to do so. In such a situation, I would say that it is at the very least hard to say who manipulated (or “used”) who, or who could be said to have wielded the power.

Of course, a very great many of the stories that have come to light recently (both in the realm of the criminal and in the realm of manners) are stories in which the older men in question are the sole predators and the only appalling bearers of blame. But it does not follow that they can only ever be the only bearers of blame. Concern about not victim-blaming in some cases means that moral onus in all such situations is at risk of being simplified.

That is why I mention the case above (while studiously avoiding the suggestion that any women could ever get themselves into any such situation with a man they were not deeply physically attracted to). It is suggestive of an aspect of life — as well as show-business — which cannot be entirely ignored. Power is not in fact only a top-down thing.