I am troubled with the #MeToo movement that is sweeping across the U.S., and at first, I hoped it was just a fad that would pass along, but no such luck. If you are male and aren’t troubled by the #MeToo roundup, you should be. Sure, it would be great if we could get rid of the real predators who prey on men, women and children, but how likely is that when it comes to a program being driven by self-entitled celebrities and government intervention?
If one looks at where this movement is focused, it is clear that the motive is going after any place or area that men may congregate. Abuse of men is simply an afterthought or not mentioned. For example, from Wikipedia, here are some the institutions #MeToo is going after:
It’s been noted that, although the financial industry is known to have a wide prevalence of sexual harassment, as of January 2018, there were no high-profile financial executives stepping down as the result of #MeToo allegations. The first widely-covered example of concrete consequences in finance was when two reporters, including Madison Marriage of the Financial Times, went under cover at a mens-only Presidents Club event meant to raise money for children. Because women were not allowed to attend except as hostesses in tight, short black dresses with black underwear, the two female reporters got jobs as hostesses and documented widespread sexual misconduct. As a result, the presidents Club was shut down. It’s been noted in discussion of #MeToo in finance that only about a quarter of top positions are held by women at several major banks, and there is evidence there may be wide disparities in some financial institutions between how much men and women are paid on average.
#MeTooMilitary has come to be used by service men and women who were sexually assaulted or harassed while in the military, and appeared on social media in January 2018 the day after remarks by Oprah Winfrey at the Golden Globe Awards honoring female soldiers in the military “whose names we’ll never know” who have suffered sexual assault and abuse in order to make things better for women today. A report from the Pentagon indicated that 15,000 members of the military reported being sexually assaulted in the year 2016, and only 1 out of 3 people assaulted actually made a report, indicating as many as 45,000 assaults occurred. Veteran Nichole Bowen-Crawford has said the rates have improved over the last decade, but the military still has a long way to go, and recommends that women veterans connect privately on social media to discuss sexual abuse in a safe environment. There was a “#MeTooMilitary Stand Down” protest, organized by Service Women’s Action Network, which gathered at the Pentagon on January 8, 2018. The protest was endorsed by the U.S. Department of Defense, who stated that current service members were welcome to attend as long as they didn’t wear their uniform. The protest supported the Military Justice Improvement Act, sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, which would move “the decision over whether to prosecute serious [sex] crimes to independent, trained, professional military prosecutors, while leaving uniquely military crimes within the chain of command.”
And here are the suggestions that initially look to make teachers who are predominantly women into criminals but we all know that if the teacher is female, anything goes:
Policies and laws
Burke has stated the current purpose of the movement is to give people the resources to have access to healing, and advocates for changes to laws and policies. Burke has highlighted goals such as processing all untested Rape kits, re-examining local school policies, improving the vetting of teachers, and updating sexual harassment policies. She has called for all professionals who work with children to be fingerprinted and subjected to a background check before being cleared to start work. She advocates for sex education that teaches kids to report predatory behavior immediately. Burke supports the #MeToo Congress bill, which would remove the requirement that staffers of the federal government go through months of “cooling off” before being allowed to file a complaint against a Congressperson.
Milano states a priority for #MeToo is changing the laws surrounding sexual harassment and assault, for example instituting protocols that give sufferers in all industries the ability to file complaints without retaliation. She supports legislation making it difficult for publicly traded companies to hide cover-up money from their stockholders, and would like to make it illegal for employers to require new workers sign NDAs as a condition of employment. Gender analysts such as Anna North have stated that #MeToo should be addressed as a labor issue due to the economic disadvantages to reporting harassment. North suggested combating underlying power imbalances in some workplaces, for example by raising the tipped minimum wage, and embraces innovations like the “portable panic buttons” that are mandated for hotel employees in Seattle.
So how will policies or laws or the societal judgement that all men are predators affect the average man? It will mean fewer male teachers — for who wants to teach when any kid can come forward and may even be encouraged to interpret any movement or word from a man as abuse? I watch men already afraid to interact with women or children, even if their work calls for it. How many will just stop working with women or kids altogether? This includes doctors, teachers, professors, judges, and other men in professions such as personal training, massage therapy or any self-employment where one works with the public.
At some point, society will notice that men are nowhere to be found but rather than understand the dynamic that has been created by round-ups like #MeToo, the supporters of such movements will blame men and continue the backlash, convinced that their tactics are keeping women and children safe. Pretty soon, they will be so safe that no man will be seen for miles around, except for the real predators that these movements and laws rarely affect.
There must be a better method that results in more true predators being brought to justice than a movement like #MeToo that results in so many false positives, but then, that may be their underlying goal. Because sadly, #Me Too thinks all men are guilty.