Over the years many great themes and stories have been made into films, and then re-made for modern audiences. Consider the number of films made about the Titanic. The re-makes of The Manchurian Candidate, War of the Worlds, and so on, but one seminal film which gave a word to our language has never been re-made, and that is Gaslighting.
The theme of the story is lies, and how a liar contrived to carry out his crimes while concealing them with lies directed at his victim designed to make her look insane, so as to enable him to separate her from her inheritance. The film even hints at complicity in murder. This storyline is so classical, reflecting a perennial criminal pattern of betrayal of women by men, women by their relatives, women’s disinheritance and murder, and scapegoating by society, it is extraordinary that there has only been one notable story on this theme. This criminal pattern is a perennial of patriarchial societies throughout all of history and continues today.
Lies as a weapon are cheap, easy and powerful. In Northern Ireland there is the saying “There are more people buried by the mouth than the bullet”. The Old Testament even includes in the Ten Commandments the cardinal rules, not to bear false witness. Because lies can get people killed, and ruin lives. This makes lies a favourite tool of the powerful against the powerless.
Lies are a weapon that only work one way. From the social haves against the social have-nots, rarely the reverse.
The standard situation is that of male versus female in any society with sexual double standards. The male pursues a particular female for sex, who rejects him. In revenge, and to save face and elevate his status at her expense, the male lies that he has slept with her. The consequences for the female are not only a degradation of her status, but can have life-destroying consequences. Male gossip is indiscriminate. Now all the sexual predators have that female flagged as fair game. If she is then raped, the male concourse will accept that little harm has been done as she was a whore anyway, especially if every other male she has ever had a conversation with has jumped on the bandwagon and claimed to have slept with her as well. When she proclaims her innocence the men are believed, not her, and she becomes a social pariah, sometimes a social outcast excluded from a respectable job or marriage, and in many societies, manoeuvred into prostitution. Note that in this social exchange the female can’t win and the male can’t lose. And the main victims of this social sequence are working class/ethnic women who have no social resources to protect themselves. Male malice creates a situation desired by men. The existence of sexually available women who have no choice in the matter. The lies maintain sexual and social class dominance, as higher social class females are protected from spurious slanders.
The men can lie with impunity and be believed. The women are called liars when they tell the truth.
The extent of male lies about women is incalculable. Certainly not all men are rapists, but a huge number of men are liars. The men are also blithely indifferent about the consequences of their lies on the woman. Plainly they are not concerned if their lies result in women being stalked, or raped and her life ruined. It is so easy to lie. It costs the liar nothing, but the person lied about can be destroyed.
My mother gave me a wonderful piece of advice. She told me “It is not sufficient for a woman to avoid doing anything she shouldn’t. She must also avoid doing anything that any onlooker putting an unfavourable interpretation on what she is doing, could make her look guilty”. In other words, don’t give your unknown enemies an opportunity. However, my life experience has shown me that avoiding ambiguous situations is not enough. I’ll come back to that later.
So men lie about women and get away with it, but women can’t lie about men and cause them the same damage. Lies maintain the status quo of male dominance and female suppresssion. Women have to censor their own behaviour while men don’t.
The other major area where lies maintain social control and oppression is the area of social class. Middle class people lie about working class/ethnic people with impunity, both collectively and individually. The collective slurs follow the pattern that the workers are stupid, lazy, ignorant, immoral and criminal. The social class stereotype that only working class people are criminal, immoral and incompetent while deflecting attention from the criminality, immorality and sometimes feral attributes of higher social class people – white collar criminal are major industries, while street crime is small scale and amateurish in comparison – this general stigmatisation is logically nonsense. If everyone in a non-pen-pushing job was stupid, lazy, uneducated and incompetent, buildings, bridges and tunnels would collapse. Cars wouldn’t drive. Machinery would break down. Electricity in your home would kill. Plumbing would flood. Clothes would fall off your back. Food would poison. Working class people are highly reliable in their work. They only get employed if they are competent, unlike higher social status workers, where incompetents are employed on the basis of their social position.
But it is always the way. The slaves are labelled stupid and lazy, but not the lazy parasites who live off their work.
Acknowledging the good work of the working class however, would mean social inclusion and social respect. On this basis working class people, often very intelligent, would come to compete with the higher social classes, many of whom are not so intelligent, and often less inclined to hard work. Stigmatising the entire group, wholesale lies about the nature of working people, constantly conflating them with the non-working feral class, is the necessary foundation to counter working class individuals who seek social inclusion and seek to better themselves.
Dealing with working class women is easy. They are simply ignored and side-lined. Where they get included in middle class employment it is usually only where an office donkey is needed to do the major share of the work, not only their own work, but to be a person that their social “superiors” can delegate their work onto. In this way, the working class woman, however competent, is firmly kept on the bottom rung. Overloaded with her own work, and then having any amount of anyone else’s work “delegated”, no-one can succeed in these circumstances.
But should she apply for a job where she might have a chance of upward advancement, she can be stopped at the interview stage.
Due to middle class lies, working class people, en masse, are stigmatised as criminal and immoral. Any working class job applicant has to overcome that prejudice in order just to get into the starting gate. Working class women who are career minded know this and they also know how easily men can drag their reputation into the gutter with their lies. So they live carefully, working hard to earn a good reputation so as to sustain their social credibility. But however carefully they live, they have no protection from male lies. Men can lie about a woman on the mere basis of having had a conversation with her.
So the working class /ethnic woman has these additional obstacles to overcome as opposed to a middle class woman who is granted social acceptance from birth. She has to overcome the gratuitous stigma attached to her because she is not middle class. She has to protect her reputation from random slanders from any male associate. The middle class employer would prefer to employ someone with her intelligence, education and experience, but middle class. Middle class people prefer to employ other middle class people and operate an unofficial middle class closed shop. The working class woman will be scrutinised in a way that a middle class applicant will not, that is she will be subjected to extra scrutiny in a search for reason to reject her. What if the woman overcomes all the above handicaps and can pass scrutiny? This is where the social class higher than the middle class steps in.
Consider you are an employer considering various applicants. The best applicant for the job happens to be a working class woman with excellent qualifications, good experience and appears to be of good character. You are considering employing her. Then, quite coincidentally, you meet someone who turns out to be a policeman. He advises against employing that particular applicant suggesing that she is a jail bird, a drug addict, sexually immoral and her qualifications are fraudulent. Of course, you believe him. Why would another middle class person lie to you? You have now decided that your good applicant is a liar, because of someone else’s lies. Who are you going to believe? A working class woman looking for a job, or a policeman who is surely only acting in your interests? The working class woman doesn’t get that job, but she is allowed to take another job which is dead-end and where she is exploited. Lies, serving social class interests, preventing mingling of working class and middle class, preventing working class people competing for careers and upward mobility. Maintaining the status quo, all for the cheap price of a lie.
(Spreading the slander that a working class woman is a criminal, prostitute, drug dealer or addict, insane, paedophile, are standard gang stalking slanders. I left Northern Ireland for England for work with a university degree and a completed Diploma for Personal Assistants. The first temp agency I worked for implied that I had lied about my qualifications. When I applied for a job at a polytechnic where I matched the job requirements perfectly in terms of qualifications and experience, one interviewer implied that a period of unemployment on my CV was due to having been in prison. I later got a job in an office which was understaffed. For two years I was carrying out a job which was supposed to be being done by two people, and the social workers I worked for kept trying to delegate any of their work that they could on to me. I set up and ran an office on the lowest clerical grade. When I met other working class women near retirement, also running office entirely on their own, and still on the starting grade, I realised the job was a dead end. I only discovered about gang stalking thirty years later, just after I had retired).
Lies are widespread in society and they serve the social function of the haves keeping the have-nots “in their place”. Lies about working class women destroy their career aspirations, good marriage prospects, channel sexual deviants in their direction, setting working class women up for sexual attack and prepare the ground for forcing them into prostitution. Women are confined to roles of sexual exploitaiton and blocked from social advancement.
There are widespread conspiracies of lies ongoing in society, by men against women, the middle class against the working class, and the upper class making sure no-one gets through the gaps, maintaining social divisions and the status quo.