It is extremely apparent that #MeToo is more harmful than helpful,
writes Michael Walsh
— in reference to the absence of any semblance of rationality to the discussion of sexual harassment and assault —
primarily for these 5 reasons:
1) #MeToo does not allow sexual assault allegations to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
we are going to get to the truth in a particular case, and if we are
going to be fair to the accuser and the accused, we cannot look at the
case as another plot point in an overall narrative. Brett Kavanaugh is
not just The Man character accused of abusing The Woman character. These
people are not archetypes. He is an individual person, and she is an
individual person, and their situation is an individual situation which
has absolutely no relation to Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby or any
other famous pervert.
This week, I have heard several women say
that they aren’t sure if Kavanaugh is guilty but they did know plenty of
“those kinds of boys” growing up and they were aware of “those kinds of
things” happening. But that is exactly the wrong way of looking at
this. Kavanaugh is not a “kind,” and this thing that happened, if it did
indeed happen (which I don’t think it did), is not a “kind,” either. We
are dealing with specific people and specific circumstances.
The problem with the #MeToo movement is that it is a movement. And
movements come with their own narratives and ideologies. But sexual
assault is not an ideological phenomenon. It is a criminal act, and
therefore it must be evaluated objectively and on its own terms.
2) #MeToo does not acknowledge the possibility that women lie.
we have established, it is a problem when we start making movements and
narratives out of our opposition to sexual assault. It is even more a
problem in this case when you consider what the narrative is telling us:
namely, that women don’t lie about these things.
women,” the #MeToo crusaders shout. But we shouldn’t believe women. We
shouldn’t believe men. We should believe individual people, regardless
of gender, if there are good and empirical reasons to believe them. All
people lie — men and women both — so we cannot make any blanket
assumptions about which gender is more likely to be telling the truth.
We are told that “women don’t lie about rape.” You may as well say
men don’t rape. Just because most men would never rape doesn’t mean that
any particular man accused of rape is innocent. Likewise, just because
most women would never lie about rape doesn’t mean that any particular
woman accusing a man of rape isn’t lying. This is a very obvious point
that the #MeToo movement has intentionally obscured.
3) #MeToo equates very unequal kinds of sexual misdeeds.
has taken all sorts of sexual improprieties and put them all on the
same spectrum, and then bunched them close together on that spectrum.
Now, if a woman says she is a victim of sexual assault, she could mean
anything from forcible rape to awkward flirting. She could mean that a
felony was committed, or she could mean that a coworker propositioned
her. Flirting is called harassment and harassment is called assault.
Molehills are made into mountains and mountains into molehills.
In reality, there is no spectrum connecting rape to untoward
comments. There is a vast chasm separating the two categories. On one
side of the chasm is criminal violence and on the other is behavior
ranging from normal to merely inappropriate. #MeToo has tried to fill in
the chasm and lump every infraction with every other kind of
infraction. They are all mixed together like a stew and each separate
allegation is then seen not as a separate allegation but as an element
or ingredient in the stew.
4) #MeToo infantilizes women.
claim that they want to empower women, but feminists are always the
ones treating women like fainting damsels. Now, because of #MeToo, we
call a woman a "survivor" if she was sexually harassed when she worked
as a Denny's waitress 12 years ago. Or we may call her a survivor if she
survived rape. Obviously the word is appropriate in the latter context
but completely absurd in the former. It makes women seem so emotionally
helpless and fragile that any uncomfortable or awkward situation will
lead to a lifetime of trauma.
Women are also infantilized by the insistence that it is "victim
blaming" to call for personal accountability and responsibility. So if a
college girl gets blackout drunk at a frat party, has sex with a
blackout drunk frat boy, and later decides the encounter was rape, we
are not allowed to point out the steps she might have taken to avoid the
encounter in the first place. And if an actress, desperate for a film
role, decides to go up to a Hollywood producer's hotel room, again we
are not allowed to notice the part she willfully played in what
transpired next. I'm not saying that these kinds of cases represent the
majority of #MeToo stories, but they do represent a sizable chunk of
them. And because of #MeToo, they're all mixed together and no
distinction is drawn between them.
5) #MeToo is mass hysteria.
#MeToo movement does not facilitate a thoughtful discussion about
sexual assault. It impedes the discussion. Prohibits it. That's how
hysteria always works. The hysterical mob demands your unthinking
participation. It does not want to answer any questions or entertain any
rational critiques. It is not interested in subtlety or nuance. You
must jump on the Bandwagon of Outrage or be trampled underneath it.
In a word, #MeToo is about vengeance. It is about feminists evening
the score with the dreaded patriarchy. It is not about truth, justice,
fairness, or anything remotely along those lines.
And so it should be opposed.