Society and Culture

Woody Allen: Dating Your Girlfriend’s Daughter is Kind of a Big Deal

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Folks, what is going on with Woody Allen these days?

In case you’ve missed all the drama amid the #SochiFailympics, here’s a quick recap of what’s been happening. Woody Allen was given a lifetime achievement award at The Golden Globes last month, to which his ex, Mia Farrow, and her son, Ronan, responded with this:

Some passive aggressive Twitter rage, I see! Understandable, considering Woody Allen allegedly molested Dylan Farrow, daughter and sister of the two subtweeting Farrows. Of course, the world exploded. Along with the responses of a handful of celebrities and everyone on Twitter, Dylan spoke out for herself.

Detailing the trauma of childhood sexual assault at the hands of a celebrity in an open letter published in the New York Times, Dylan wrote, “[I] imagine your seven-year-old daughter being led into an attic by Woody Allen. Imagine she spends a lifetime stricken with nausea at the mention of his name. Imagine a world that celebrates her tormenter…Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.”

That’s some powerful, powerful shit. Not that it shut down any of the men’s rights, Woody Allen apologists for half a second.

First there was this op-ed, by Woody Allen’s BFF. Its nauseating smugness actually makes me want to barf. Then, there was Woody Allen’s own response, in which he minimizes and distorts his own douchebaggery to smear his ex Mia as a loony-tune woman scorned. On the same day, Vanity Fair published a list of fully fact-checked, indisputable truths about the highly contested case, and then, one day later, Dylan issued her own re-response.

Phew. It’s been a rough few weeks for the Farrows and the Allens and all of us in between. You think your own family feuds are intense? At least they don’t play out in the news, am I right?



But despite the fact that I’m trying to keep this light, this Woody Allen/Dylan Farrow fiasco is no joke. This is some serious, serious shit. Especially because what really happened in that attic is so hotly contested.

Folks, a lot has been written about this case, and here’s what most of it comes down to — none of us were there. As third-party bystanders, all of our information is secondhand. So, we each have to choose what to believe, for ourselves.

You can choose to believe Woody and his story about a vengeful, manipulative ex-girlfriend who’s willing to psychologically abuse her children in order to get back at him.

Or, you can believe Dylan and her story about a creepy father who assaulted her and then proceeded to launch a smear campaign against his victim and her family.

I know which story I find more plausible.

But, these conflicting stories aside, we’re still left with some simple, disturbing facts. Even if nothing at all had happened between Dylan and Woody — even if there were no allegations — he still wound up in a romantic relationship with his girlfriend’s daughter. Woody was 56 and dating Mia Farrow when he got involved with Soon-Yi, the 19-year-old adopted sister of his children Ronan and Dylan.

That’s fucking creeptastic.

Despite the widespread reports that Woody and Soon-Yi enjoy a healthy, egalitarian marriage, Allen’s willingness to get involved with his girlfriend’s teenaged, adopted daughter speaks volumes about his character.

He’s a man who either has no sense of boundaries within a relationship, or doesn’t seriously concern himself with them. He’s a man with poor judgment and little impulse control. He’s a man who cares little for anything but his own selfish pursuit of happiness. He isn’t bothered by the disturbing, unequal power dynamic that’s present in a relationship between a 56-year-old cultural kingpin and a 19-year-old adoptee. And he doesn’t feel a mental and emotional gulf between himself and someone more than 30 years his junior — a gulf that should absolutely be present.

And he’s celebrated. Woody Allen is one of the most beloved culture creators of our generation — this man, who’s undeniably fucked up in ways that seriously harmed those closest to him. Meanwhile, Dylan — the victim here — has to live in the shadows, emotionally scarred, or risk being attacked, shamed, and smeared.

So, what does our cultural obsession with Woody Allen say about us? I’ll tell you.

It says that we don’t mind a creepy, emotionally stunted, hurtful, abusive man, so long as he’s rich and white and amusing. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and immortalize him with laughs and admiration.

But the people he destroys along the way? They can pretty much go fuck themselves.

I’m not a fan of that. Are you?

Hannah R. Winsten (@HannahRWinsten) is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow.

Featured image courtesy of [ABC Films (eBay, Lester Glassner Collection) via Wikipedia]

Hannah R. Winsten
Hannah R. Winsten is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant, and blogger living in New York’s sixth borough. She hates tweeting but does it anyway. She aspires to be the next Rachel Maddow. Contact Hannah at



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