Can We Talk About Toxic Femininity?

Article by Leah McSweeney

Argento went on to have a consensual relationship with Weinstein for several years. The New Yorker article is what thrust the Italian actress into America’s cultural conversation. Before this, the American media knew little about her.

Make no mistake, Weinstein is a monster. He is a total predator, and I consider the women who spoke out against him to be very brave. But what Argento and McGowan are doing is not brave. In fact, it’s disingenuous. Rape and sexual transactions are worlds apart, and they need to stay worlds apart.

Argento was not blackmailed. She was not threatened. She had a sexual relationship with Weinstein which resulted in a transactional, consensual union, because—let’s be honest—that’s how Hollywood works. Fast-forward a few years and Argento saw a bigger opportunity: She could brand herself as a survivor.

Anthony Bourdain met Argento on the set of his wildly popular CNN show Parts Unknown when he was filming in Rome. Argento, a single mother of two and Italian celebrity, ended up a guest on the show. In February 2017, not long after they met on camera, the New York Post confirmed the two had started dating. One quick scroll through the couple’s individual social media accounts reveals that Bourdain was completely smitten with Argento, posting photos of her on the regular with heartwarming comments.

Bourdain was openly supportive of Argento’s involvement in the #MeToo movement as she rose to be one of its most prominent and vocal crusaders. Bourdain never held back when standing up for her or any part of the #MeToo movement, even defending McGowan and her feminist activism. The #MeToo movement had accrued a strong new male ally in Bourdain.

Bourdain had built his brand around captivating storytelling and a “no fucks given” attitude. He was honest about his shortcomings—struggles with drugs and alcohol and depression—while also detailing the craziness of the culinary world. My sister Sarah put me on to him after she read his memoir Kitchen Confidential. I stole her book when she was done, and I was hooked. We both were. How could you not be? Tall, successful, smart as fuck, bad boy, deep with a dark streak. The country swooned for Anthony Bourdain. He became our very own American ambassador. He made us proud, representing our nation while he traveled the world filming his series.