News & Politics

Al Jazeera Wonders: 'Can #MeToo Go Beyond White Neoliberal Feminism?'

Participants march against sexual assault and harassment at the #MeToo March in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

It’s always funny when liberals are criticizing other liberals for using the cult of victimhood in a way they don’t agree with. Case in point, this hilariously postmodern column at AlJazeera.com.

The author of the piece, Catherine Rottenberg (white, liberal), isn’t a big fan of the #MeToo movement because that movement seems to zoom in on white “neoliberal” women who were victimized by, mostly, white men:

Activists and feminists have, rightly, pointed out that it is only when powerful, wealthy and mostly white women come forward that influential men have been forced to resign from high-profile positions. This raises the absolutely crucial question of when and where claims of sexual harassment and assault are heard and whose voices count.

What’s more, another “concern” is that #MeToo is too focused on individual victims, not enough on women as a group:

This line of critique suggests that #MeToo is about “me”, the individual’s resilience and survival and does not and likely cannot mobilise people politically. Thus, it can easily become part of a neoliberal feminist discussion, which ultimately individualises and atomises each person who uses the hashtag while disavowing the socioeconomic and cultural structures shaping our lives. In this way, it also elides the women who are perhaps most vulnerable to violence – sexual or otherwise – such as immigrant, domestic workers, and low-income women of colour.

In the end, however, Rottenberg concludes that there is hope:

It is certainly true that the current #MeToo campaign could devolve into another aspect of an individualistic neoliberal feminism, leaving men like Donald Trump and Roy Moore unscathed. But it is also true that it could gather more momentum and broaden the conversation to include urgent and difficult discussions about structural sexism, male self-entitlement, and – just as importantly – other forms of intersecting systemic oppressions. Burke and Garza are leading the way. Whether we follow their lead and help mobilise the moment into a mass movement is, in many ways, up to us. So, yes, “MeToo.”

In other words, although #MeToo isn’t good enough yet, with its focus on white women, it could eventually produce positive results, if only individualism is let go and white victims of sexual abuse are ignored.

Ah, isn’t it wonderful how liberals think? Declaring a specific group of people perpetual victims isn’t good enough anymore. No, there are now good victims (non-whites) and bad victims (white). If you talk about the latter you’re a neoliberal racist. Only those who “help” the former are to be commended.

That’s always hilarious, but even more so when this article is published by Al Jazeera, a network that’s frequently accused of anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism — and that’s owned by political Islamists.