Can We Talk About Toxic Femininity?

Article by Leah McSweeney

First off, let me say that I can’t believe I even have to write this. I wanted to keep this piece more about facts and less about my personal opinion, but it’s impossible for me to do that. I need to get this shit out of my system. Because enough is enough.

On June 8th, celebrity chef, author, and food show host Anthony Bourdain hanged himself in his French hotel room. Although Bourdain had openly talked about his battles with addiction and depression, the world was shocked that he had taken his own life. The question on everyone’s minds: Why would he do this?

However, as the days went by and the press storm raged on, another question arose, this one not about why Bourdain committed suicide, but about how his girlfriend, actress Asia Argento, and a friend of the couple, actress Rose McGowan, came to be feminist heroes to so many American women.

How are these things connected, besides the fact that Argento was dating Bourdain when he died?

Hear me out, because what has unfolded in the wake of Bourdain’s death is a display of chronic, predatory narcissism from Argento and McGowan. These two women have used and abused the #MeToo movement—which they have been at the front lines of since the beginning—for their own personal gain. I know it’s uncouth for me to say that, but I’m saying it. I’m uncouth. Kick me off the planet, ladies.

I’m not arguing that Argento’s public indiscretions with French journalist Hugo Clément caused Bourdain’s death. (More on that later.) People cheat on one another. I’ve been there. Most of us have. Lust has a hard time steering your moral compass when you’re drunk on pheromones. It’s not the adulterous sex that eats you up inside, but the lie afterwards.

I, for one, have made a daily—okay, weekly, maybe monthly—commitment to owning my shit. That’s the only way I’ve been able to quiet the noise inside my head and find any kind of peace in my life. (That, along with therapy, exercise, 12-step meetings, antidepressants, and so on.) To me, it’s all about personal responsibility. Which is why I would never blame anyone for someone else’s decision to kill themselves.

That said, it’s ironic that since Bourdain’s suicide, we have witnessed a display of totally irreconcilable behavior from two women who are among the most prominent faces of a movement that centers around accountability.