Bourdain may be gone forever, but we still remember how he changed many peoples lives, and inspired us to be better. By the age of 61, he had lived a full life that included daring into horizons very few men ever could.
He made monumental contributions to the food world. But he still found time to give us incredible insights about travel with Parts Unknown.
And yet, he also managed to become a bold #MeToo activist.
It was well known that he had a dark past. But it did not keep him from making an effort to become an advocate for women’s rights.
Frankly, many men were part of this movement. But Bourdain was without a doubt among the most vocal evangelist of its cause.
Unwavering Support For Women’s Issues
Bourdain was spurred into action by many issues surrounding women. The most notable example is the Harvey Weinstein allegations of sexual abuse.
He was able to stand firm in his beliefs that the victims should speak out. Yes, even as those close to him got roped into such scandals.
A perfect example of this was when he wrote in response to allegations a longtime friend and fellow chef faced. He did not mince words or try to protect his friend at the expense of his victims:
In these current circumstances, one must pick a side. I stand unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women. Not out of virtue, or integrity, or high moral outrage — as much as I’d like to say so — but because late in life, I met one extraordinary woman with a particularly awful story to tell, who introduced me to other extraordinary women with equally awful stories.
Bourdain did not want to “waste anybody’s time with expressions of shock, surprise, or personal upset,” and true to his words, he didn’t.
Asia Arganto’s Inspiration
He revealed the source of his boldness when it came to women’s issues: his girlfriend, Asia Argento. She was one of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers.
He was very proud of Asia’s speech during the Cannes film festival. She boldly called out Harvey Weinstein’s enablers.
Afterwards, Bourdain had this to say:
It was an incredibly powerful moment, I thought. I am honored to know someone who has the strength and fearlessness to do something like that.
He did not just call out the abusers.
He also criticized people who opposed movements that sought to let the world know about such people.
These included celebrities like Alec Baldwin and James Corden.
He also considered it a personal failure for being in the food industry and not being sensitive to such issues. He believed that such women should have been comfortable enough to confide in him.
Bourdain realized that, in a way, he was supportive of this system of oppression:
I was very proud of the fact that I had endured that, that I found myself in this very old, very, frankly, phallocentric, very oppressive system and I was proud of myself for surviving it.
But Even Feminists Know That Bourdain Was At Their Corner
Bourdain was very empathetic, courageous, and insightful, and many men should follow his lead. His place in the #MeToo movement is clear proof of this.