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Dear Blake, Woody Allen's Personal Life Should Absolutely Matter To You

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Dear Blake,

This week, you and a slew of other celebrities showed up at the Cannes Film Festival to laud and promote Woody Allen's most recent work, Cafe Society, in which you also starred, just one of the many stunning muses he's charmed over the years.

I was excited to see you on the red carpet again. You first entered my radar near the end of 2007 when I finally relented and gave into the Gossip Girl hype halfway through its first season.

I was hooked. The clothes! The glamour! And you. Tall (like me), leggy, and almost physically flawless with that glorious blond mane (unlike me).

I've been in full-out fan-girl mode since, following along as Christian Louboutin named a shoe after you and Obama recently entertained you at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. And once again at Cannes, I marveled, and then lamented how unfair it was for one to be so genetically blessed, not to mention talented.

Instead of talking to you as a fan, let me talk to you as a mom.

But can we talk more about your director for a minute? There's no elephant keeping me company here, so I don't mind broaching the subject. I've never actually seen one of Woody Allen's films, more from lack of interest than an over-abundance of principles. I knew he was romantically involved with and eventually married his adopted daughter, but that was about as far as my knowledge of him went.
That changed after I read the explosive essay his son Ronan Farrow published with the Hollywood Reporter earlier this week at the start of Cannes.

In the piece, Ronan detailed the kind of man his father is and outlined why he believes his sister Dylan Farrow's long-held allegations that Woody Allen sexually assaulted her when she was seven years old.

Allegations, you claimed later in the week that have nothing to do with you and don't reflect your own experience with Allen.

You gave birth to a daughter just over a year ago. I have a six-year-old one myself, so now, instead of talking to you as a fan, let me talk to you as a mom.

A few years ago, I decided to finally confront some of my hidden demons and within one session with a new counsellor, she was able to draw out that I had been sexually assaulted, when I was also seven years old. My experience was not with a family member or authority figure, but two classmates. The reason she asked is that it's very common for adults with anxiety disorders such as mine to have been the victims of sexual assault, violence or abuse as children.

I'm sure the one thing we have in common beyond our Amazonian height is our fierce love and sense of duty to protect our daughters .Our similarities probably end there. Beyond being predictably beautiful herself, I'm sure your girl will grow up with the life of privilege and opportunity that being the daughter of two celebrities affords her.

It's the same life Dylan, Woody Allen's daughter, was born into.

I can only imagine how deeply painful it would be to hear other women call him a figure of empowerment after he's spent most of her life shaming and discrediting her.

But the glitzy, glamorous world you are all part of couldn't protect her. Rather than being her greatest advantage, the world Dylan belongs to has gone to great lengths to brush her aside so as to not further tarnish the reputation of the talented monster who traumatized her in the first place.

Your daughter is now part of this world. Over the course of her life, she will be subjected to men with immense power and influence.

Now can you pretend for a moment that she's everyone else's daughter too? See the innocence of her face reflected in that of Allen's seven-year-old daughter and dismissively claim again that it is "dangerous" to factor in things you know nothing about. In the same interview, you labeled Allen as "empowering to women."

blake lively woody allen

Blake, there is something far more dangerous to this situation, and it's more likely to one day be a threat to both of our daughters: men who take advantage of their position and use it to silence women.

An empowering man gives a voice to women -- ALL women. He doesn't face a press junket and claim he never thinks about the assault he was accused of (and nearly prosecuted for), dismissing it as "silly."

What a luxury, to be the proprietor of such pain and yet be in the position of being so celebrated and adored; you never have to give it a second thought.

I don't know what Dylan Farrow's experience has been and I can't speculate about the aftermath and all the possible effects this has had on her over the past 20-some years. But I can almost guarantee you she does not have the same luxury of not thinking about it that her father does.

I can only imagine how deeply painful it would be to hear other women call him a figure of empowerment after he's spent most of her life shaming and discrediting her, while some of the biggest stars in the world fawn all over him and journalists refuse to ask him tough questions because there's some sort of unspoken moratorium on the topic.

Pretending it's not your issue because you weren't around, acting as though your experience with someone is the only valid one you need to concern yourself with -- that is equally dangerous. It further oppresses all victims.

You are among the beautiful and powerful and wealthy. Your words carry extra weight because of the span of your audience and your influence. They can shine a spotlight on the issues close to your heart -- and unfortunately they can also downplay those you choose to distance yourself from.

Pretending it's not your issue because you weren't around, acting as though your experience with someone is the only valid one you need to concern yourself with -- that is equally dangerous. It further oppresses all victims, not just Dylan. And it continues to mobilize powerful men to prey on vulnerable girls and women, like your daughter and mine.

It collectively takes dozens and dozens of women telling their stories, to be heard over the voice of someone with your influence saying this is somehow OK.

I might not be blond or famous -- and Louboutin still has yet to respond to my petition for a shoe called the Tamara -- but I do have a voice, and I'm no longer afraid to speak up.

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