The only thing more odd than telling men to stop doing what you commanded is praising that idiocy.
Many had predicted that the women’s empowerment movements that sprang up in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal would end up morphing into a weaponized tool in the marketplaces and social constructs. Originally used as a means to bring about justice regarding predatory behaviors #MeToo and and the offshoots soon led to irrationality.
On college campuses we saw examples of men getting hectored, or made pariahs based solely on accusations. We saw the way legal standards like due process and burden of proof were completely vacated by many during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing(s). A recent report from Wall Street declared that, despite intensive efforts by #MeToo activists to have more women admitted into corporate boardrooms, executives are leery to hire females due to the likelihood of #MeToo blowback.
Activists rarely manage to pass the bar when it comes to the laws of unintended consequences.
Another sign of #MeToo mixed messaging has arrived from Hollywood. During the recent Hollywood Power 100 Women in Entertainment gala, hosted by The Hollywood Reporter, the emcee was Hannah Gadsby. If unfamiliar, Gadsby is an Australian comedienne who was hailed earlier this year for her Netflix stand up special. This was a performance where while on stage she announced she was no longer going to work on comedy routines, opting to instead deliver lectures from the mic. (The amusing part was how many praised the emergence of humor-free comedy routines.)
She continued this mirth-avoidance delivery with her opening remarks from the podium, offering up a rather confounding new message for the women’s movement. Gadsby was taking issue with men who have been coming forward and declaring certain males to be bad men. She has a problem with this because the “good men” are drawing the line from the bad men.
“I want to speak about the very big problem I have with the good men, especially the good men who take it upon themselves to talk about the bad men. I find good men talking about bad men incredibly irritating, and this is something the good men are doing a lot of at the moment.”
Gadsby seems to take issue with men in general having any kind of involvement in the discussion. The problem here? We had been lectured on toxic masculinity creating the Weinsteins of the world, and that form of collective guilt meant males had to take charge and call out the poisonous behavior. Now today Gadsby is being hailed for saying the polar opposite. She also says some plainly confounding things.
While I am trying to distinguish the difference between Jimmys and “good men” (the context clues make them sound similar) Gadsby does herself no favor with this bafflement:
“The Jimmys and the good men won’t talk about this line, but we really need to talk about this line. Let’s call it Kevin. And let’s never call it that again.”
Apart from her proposal to name an abstract concept and then immediately pledge to never use that name, her entire message here is an abject contradiction. She declares that men do not want to talk about this delineation, but her entire complaint is that men ARE in fact talking about it (what “good men are doing a lot of at the moment”, by her observation), and that is “irritating”, because men are bad. She says, in summation:
“This world —a world full of good men who do very bad things and still believe in their heart of hearts that they are good men because they have not crossed the line, because they move the line for their own good. Women should be in control of that line, no question.”
Gadsby’s message is all knotted upon itself, but the central point in her paradoxical logic is that men are the problem. Men were told to speak out, but she is irritated with men who “talk about the bad men”, then bizarrely she says that men don’t want to discuss this. Next she states that we need to discuss this, but also that men need to shut up about this because it is women who should control the discussion.
For this tail-chasing line of thought Gadsby is being applauded by many in the industry today. What those supporting the cause need to understand is that if you attack from conflicting sides of an issue your desired result will be neutered.
Telling men to speak up, pipe down, then talk about it, then hush up and let the ladies speak will not inspire open dialogue about your issues. It will instead inspire apathy.
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