There is no doubting that some men in positions of power have abused that power immensely when it comes to their dealings with women. The actions of people like Matt Lauer and Louis C.K. border on the perverted if they don’t land squarely within the definition of “perversion.” The actions of Charlie Rose fall under the definition of “dirty old man.” And Harvey Weinstein, whose actions started this whole thing, clearly show an abuse of power and possible criminality. And for their transgressions, they should be tried in a court of law, not on social media. The recent conviction of Bill Cosby should be the benchmark action for how to handle these accusations.
The #MeToo movement has an attraction for women in that it appears empowering. As the list of high-profile male transgressors grew, so did the power of the movement. After all, taking down the accused powerful is certainly empowering. And the sense of community derived from belonging to a powerful movement can be alluring. But, one needs to move beyond these feeling of euphoria, especially those truly concerned with women’s rights in the workplace.
The movement has transformed into something entirely different of late. The level of intolerance of criticism or the mere questioning of motives has reached mammoth proportions. Conflating rape with crude flirtation actually trivializes, or threatens to trivialize actual examples of rape. And those who mention this are often castigated for some bizarre thought crime.
Katie Roiphe, a columnist for Harper’s Weekly, was attacked on social media when she threatened to go public with a list of “sh*tty media men” that was circulating among writers and journalists. Because she threatened to reveal this “hit list,” she became an enabler of rape in the minds of the #MeToo people. Catherine Deneuve and several French actresses who drew a parallel between the movement and witch hunts was given the same crude treatment. And this writer will not get into the Jill Messick affair that ended in her suicide.
Suffice to say, debate has been censored and shut down. There is now a division between the “good women” and the “bad women,” the latter who criticize the movement and its tactics, but who care equally about the subject and how to fix it.
As with most things of a liberal nature, it has transformed into an emotionally-charged moral crusade where facts are jettisoned for the good of the cause. The subjective feelings of the accuser have taken the place of objective evidence of actual rape, sexual assault, or harassment. Sexual misconduct has been redefined to mean any unwanted behavior. As the example of Aziz Ansari shows, a bad date is now a sexual assault. Perhaps in the near future, failing to hold a door for a woman or cutting a date short at a restaurant will also be sexual assault. This writer does not intend to demean true examples of sexual assault; the #MeToo movement is doing a damn fine job of that by themselves.
Perhaps the worst part of the whole movement is that it has negated previous years of the women’s rights movement. Apparently, women were not the strong individuals they were portrayed to be as they are today unable to say “no.” Therefore, they are dependent on the non-existent mind-reading skills of men. This puts all male-female interactions at risk. It should come as no surprise that men now feel uncomfortable mentoring females in the workplace thus denying women the opportunity for promotion. Many do not want to work alone with a woman in the office.
Putting women out of work is now a feminist act. Thankfully, one group has stood up against this. When a group of Hollywood actresses began a petition to end “the restaurant tipping culture,” a group of New York waitresses gave them a heartfelt middle finger.
The movement treats women like children and men as predatory animals. As children, they need protection since they apparently are unable to stand up for themselves or make their own decisions and choices in life. In England, some are calling for a law that would criminalize “street harassment” (whistling or catcalling) of women. How long before a misplaced gaze at a bare leg is characterized as harassment?
The #MeToo movement has transformed from one of importance to one of demonizing men and protecting women like veal. Previous generations of feminists have fought against this very phenomena. Thanks to the #MeToo movement, women certainly have gained more power. Unfortunately, all they can do with it is proclaim their victim status and demand childish protections.