In a recent interview in W Magazine, Sofia Coppola asked Kirsten Dunst, the “Two Faces of January” actress: “What if a director pounces on you while working? Has that ever happened?”
“No [laughs]. I don’t give off that vibe. I think that you court that stuff, and to me it’s crossing a boundary that would hinder the trust in your working relationship.”
In other words, Dunst seems to think unwanted sexual advances, such as harassment, assault, abuse or rape by a person in power, should be blamed on the recipient of said advances. Which is to say: if those young women had not dressed a certain way, or talked a certain way, or perhaps sat a certain way, these men wouldn’t inconveniently have gotten the wrong idea. Needless to say, such victim-blaming logic is not useful. It is exactly why models and actresses — whose job is, many times, to look or dress or sit a certain way — are so powerless in the face of alleged sexual predators like Terry Richardson or Bill Cosby or R. Kelly.
Sadly, Dunst is not alone in the belief that men “can’t help it.” A recent report shows that many young American believe that sexual harassment and assault is a normal part of daily life.
This is not the first time Dunst has unwisely weighed in on male-female relations. She seemed determined to set feminism back by a solid century in a recent interview with Harper’s Bazaar, saying that women need a “knight in shining armor” and that “relationships work” because you “need a man to be a man and a woman to be a woman.” For better or worse, our celebrities can be catalysts for a huge amount of social change. Fortunately, Beyonce has more a lot more cultural sway than Dunst.