Defending Mia Farrow: It's Time to Turn Down The Background Noise
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By Cathy Meyer, Founding Editor - February 09, 2014

00000mia.farrow.jpgHas anyone else noticed that Woody Allen and his supporters have tried to take Dylan Farrow’s letter about childhood sexual molestation and turn it into a “woman scorned” story? They’ve deflected attention away from the real issue and onto Mia as a woman who never got over being left for another.

Allen’s friend Robert Weide used a Daily Beast article to come to his friend’s defense. Not so much by pointing to evidence that would clearly show that Allen had not molested Dylan but by putting Mia Farrow and her past on trial. As if Mia Farrow’s relationship with Frank Sinatra at age 19 or a possible intimate relationship with Sinatra five years before she and Allen broke up somehow diminished or was altogether proof that Allen was not guilty of molesting his 7-year-old daughter.

Then there are the many comments from men on various sites blasting Mia for having an affair with Andre’ Previn…a married man and comparing that relationship to the one Allen had and still has with Mia’s daughter. A daughter Allen had been a father figure to for over 12 years.

There are seriously men who believe that an affair between a married man and an adult woman is as bad, if not worse, than a man in his 50s becoming sexually involved with a teen he had known since she was 9 years old.

And if her affair with Previn and possible relationship with Sinatra aren’t enough to cast doubt about her credibility as a mother, there was this comment I ran across on Facebook…”He is male and is guilty by default. Thanks to Mia and women like her, males are considered child abusers and pedophiles - until that changes we have no rights as males.”

Mia and women “like her” are the problem, not the molesters and pedophiles?

There you have it, male supporters of Woody Allen have done what men have been doing for centuries…blaming a woman because as we all know, women are angry, hostile creatures that use their children to punish men who leave them, cheat on them, and abuse them.

It would seem, according to some that women don’t get over it; they just spend the rest of their lives getting even.

If you read Allen’s response to Dylan’s letter in The New York Times you will find the same theme running throughout. The paragraph below is very telling.

“I pause here for a quick word on the Ronan situation. Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra’s? Granted, he looks a lot like Frank with the blue eyes and facial features, but if so what does this say? That all during the custody hearing Mia lied under oath and falsely represented Ronan as our son? Even if he is not Frank’s, the possibility she raises that he could be, indicates she was secretly intimate with him during our years. Not to mention all the money I paid for child support. Was I supporting Frank’s son? Again, I want to call attention to the integrity and honesty of a person who conducts her life like that.”

Why does a man who is addressing his daughter’s belief that he molested her “pause” to question the paternity of his son AND complain about the possibility that he has paid child support for a son that isn’t his? He doesn’t miss the opportunity either to point out that Mia may have been “secretly intimate” with Sinatra during their relationship which is proof, according to him, of her lack of integrity and honesty as a person.

Allen in his response, Weide in his article and males commenting online don’t have an argument that holds water when it comes to defending him against Dylan’s claims of sexual molestation. The scorned woman “punishing an innocent father” is far from a convincing argument when you compare it to Woody Allen’s past and his problems with an unnatural interest in young girls. If, however they had been able to point to a past history of Mia accusing men of child molestation I’d be inclined to pay more attention.

Since it is Allen’s past behaviors that adds credence to Dylan’s claims, it is Dylan I’m inclined to believe.

Woody Allen and the Girls:

If we are going to talk about everything but the girl who has exposed her childhood harm why not put the focus where it needs to be? In a direction that is far more likely to shed light on not only who Allen is but the possibility that he is a man with a history of questionable attitudes toward young girls? And due to that less trustworthy than an angry, scorned woman and mother.

  1. A recent article in New York Magazine highlights a few disturbing and inappropriate statements and behaviors by Allen about young girls. In a 1976 interview with People Magazine, Allen stated, "I'm open-minded about sex. I'm not above reproach; if anything, I'm below reproach. I mean, if I was caught in a love nest with 15 12-year-old girls tomorrow, people would think, yeah, I always knew that about him." Allen pauses. "Nothing I could come up with would surprise anyone," he ventures helplessly. "I admit to it all."
  2. According to this Vanity Fair article, Mia discovered nude photos of her daughter, Soon-Yi in Allen’s apartment when the girl was under-age. Let’s think about that, he took nude photos of an under-aged girl who was the daughter of the woman he had been in a 12 year relationship. That behavior goes a hell of a lot further at painting Allen as a possible sexual offender than their tripe painting Mia as an untrustworthy woman with no integrity who planted lies in her child’s head.
  3. His romantic relationship with actress Stacey Nelkin reportedly began when she was 17 and a high school student. Allen was 25 years her senior and according to Nelkin, “very infatuated with young girls.”
  4. His first wife, Harlene Rosen was 16 years old when they married, he was 19. After the divorce Rosen sued him for defamation of character because of an unflattering comment he made about her on a television interview. Rosen had been sexually assaulted outside her apartment and according to Allen; the newspapers reported that she "had been violated". In the interview, Allen said, "Knowing my ex-wife, it probably wasn't a moving violation." I guess once they are legal they are due no consideration by Allen?

For more information about his odd behaviors toward Dylan and the final ruling in the custody case check out this article on The Huffington Post.

Unacceptable Impulses, Sublimation and Allen’s Sense of Humor:

Sublimation is a psychological defense mechanism for channeling unacceptable impulses and feelings into more socially acceptable forms. Humor, when used as a defense mechanism can be the redirecting of unacceptable impulses into a light-hearted story or joke.

For example, if you are someone who has an attraction to young girls you can convert those impulses into more acceptable forms by writing odd or off the wall movies and plays filled with references about molestation and sexual activity with young girls.

It’s a bit like using laughter as a cushion between the person and their bad impulses. Understanding the definition of sublimation may make be difficult to watch a Woody Allen movie without wondering if there isn’t a whole hell of a lot of sublimation going on.

A few examples for instance:

In Manhattan his character has an affair with a 17 year old and jokes to his friends, “I’m dating a girl who does homework.”

In Love and Death a wise man advises that the secret of life is a steady diet of “two blonde 12-year-old girls whenever possible.”

In Annie Hall his character’s friend, Tony Roberts speculates about the mathematical possibilities of his romp with twin 16-year-olds.

In Bananas his character says, “I’m doing a sociological study of perversion. I’m up to advanced child molestation.”

In Manhattan, he is censored by Standards and Practices and told, “Child molestation is a touchy subject with affiliates.” Allen’s reply to being censored was, “Read the papers; half the country is doing it.” A rather flippant and dismissive attitude toward children suffering sexual abuse.

Allen and his supporters would say that it is unfair to take his work/art too literally. But, hasn’t Allen himself admitted to drawing on his own life for inspiration? Numerous Allen films, plays and comedy routines, (Harlene Rosen) do come from his personal life experience. Some are straightforward autobiographical.

Even when they aren’t the fact that he directs, writes and stars in them makes them, for better or worse, his own and due to that a reflection of his values and psychology. Especially when themes repeat over and over again as do many disturbing ones in his films like sex with children and teenagers.

The recent conversation about Dylan Farrow is one that needs to take place but in the right context. This is not a story about a woman scorned who is unable to get over a man leaving her. It is a story about a young woman who came forward with the details of what she believes is sexual abuse by her father. This isn’t a story about the relationship between Mia Farrow and Woody Allen. It’s a story about a young woman who has stepped out and stood up to the man who she claims abused her. We need to listen to her!

Why? Because I guarantee you that behind the story of nearly every child who has suffered childhood sexual abuse there is also the story of an angry mother and a father or relative who denies it. Their stories are nothing more than background noise that gets in the way of the victim getting what they need, support, shoring up and proof they are worthy of being heard.

Or, are we a society so uncomfortable with the realities of childhood sexual abuse that we need to tune the victim out and turn up the background noise just to keep from acknowledging the unpleasant fact that every year 16% of children ages 14 to 17 are sexually victimized?

Maybe making Mia Farrow the villain is just plain easier to stomach?

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