Proving that terrible takes are not limited to sexist dudes, Angela Lansbury has responded to the current wave of sexual assault and harassment allegations—which have overwhelmingly been levied at men—by reminding all you attractive women out there of the part you play in your own mistreatment.
When asked to weigh in the 80-odd women who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault or harassment, Dame Lansbury tells The Radio Times that “There are two sides to this coin. We have to own up to the fact that women, since time immemorial, have gone out of their way to make themselves attractive. And unfortunately it has backfired on us—and this is where we are today.” Yes, it seems that women’s preoccupation with their appearance (which is not unique to, nor does it apply to all women) isn’t a result of the patriarchy, but rather, some kind of genetic predisposition. We believe this means that all the cave paintings that have been discovered were actually some kind of prehistoric selfies.
“We must sometimes take blame, women. I really do think that,” Lansbury says. “Although it’s awful to say we can’t make ourselves look as attractive as possible without being knocked down and raped.” Never mind that abuse, assault, and harassment are about power and not looks, or that attractiveness is subjective, so there’s no way of knowing whether a made-up face or flattering outfit will draw or deflect attention. She’s not completely out of her gourd, though; Lansbury also says “Should women be prepared for this? No, they shouldn’t have to be. There’s no excuse for that. And I think it will stop now—it will have to. I think a lot of men must be very worried at this point.”
You know, we can’t even get that worked up about the misguided notions of a nonagenarian, who was born to an upper-middle-class family, enjoyed decades of stardom, and is now a frickin’ dame of the order of the British Empire. Lansbury is certainly not the first person we’d think to ask her thoughts on progressive politics. Still, her victim-blaming bullshit is best kept to herself—as the Rape Crisis England & Wales group noted in response to Lansbury’s statements, “It is a deeply unhelpful myth that rape and other forms of sexual violence are caused or ‘provoked’ by women’s sexuality or ‘attractiveness’.