Thursday, June 14, 2018

My problems with the #MeToo Movement

Acceptable wisdom in the #MeToo Era
So there's been a lot of hoopla about the #MeToo movement, with almost everyone - Christians included - equating it to the birth of the Christian Faith.  There is almost no critiques that I've seen.  I don't know if it's because men are scared, women don't dare disagree because of the wrongs the #MeToo Movement appears to be righting.  I don't know. But here are a few thoughts of mine on the subject, especially in light of my post about Beth Moore.

1. What about women?  It's as if they are immaculately conceived, devoid of sin, and have contributed not an iota to the whole sexed up, exploit, assault and harass culture.  I've actually heard people ask why a woman would ever lie about being sexually mishandled, as if it's abhorrent to think a woman has ever lied.  Let me be honest, I've worked with women who openly talked about men the way men do when they're called sexist and threatening.  I've seen women behave every bit as bad as men regarding men.  I know there are cases where women have used their positions of power to force men into compromises.  Let's not overlook women who blissfully kept tales of assault and rape secret, not because they were cowering in the corner, but because they wanted to keep climbing the ladder of wealth and power without hurting the relationships with others on that same ladder.  And finally, let's not ignore women who have exploited the sex culture in order to flaunt themselves, entice men, and use all the worst of the sex culture for their advantage.  At some point we must address these, or the entire #MeToo becomes a farce, rather than a principled movement.

2. It's not defined.  I understand what rape is.  Sexual assault seems pretty straight forward.  But beyond that, it's everyone for themselves. I've read multiple pieces by women explaining what does and doesn't constitute harassment or vile, misogynistic behavior.  Know what?  They're nowhere close to agreeing.  Before we rush and start declaring men inherently misogynistic and therefore guilty (in the way we've more or less said that you can always tell a guilty racist by the color of his skin), we need some standards.  At least in the past, witch hunters had the decency to define just what constitutes a witch.

3. It accepts, almost with ease, the old feminist notion that all of history was some horrible patriarchal world of chauvinistic male pigs oppressing and terrorizing women.  It assumes that all of how men and women lived and interacted was an artificially imposed nightmare for women created by this broad, male dominated conspiracy.  It suggests that any differences at all between the roles of women and men are anathema, and purely the result of the evils that men do.  Even among women who are ostensibly conservative, traditional and Christian, it suddenly turns out the first 2000 years of the Faith were pretty detestable because of men, Scriptural models included.

That's what feminists have said for decades and, up to within the last year, it was what anyone but radical Leftists and feminists rejected. Why is it now, almost overnight, the only acceptable way to read history?

4.  Inconsistency.  Are women the weaker sex or not?  Are they the fairer sex or not?  Is it safe to say women and men are inherently different, and clearly men are the stronger, more physically capable by nature, or not?  After all, the reason why we focus exclusively on women as victims is predicated on the idea that, when all things are equal, women stand helpless before men. Obviously women are at the disadvantage; obviously it's men who are the only ones to be concerned about since they alone can do harm.  And yet, turn on a dime and say women are the weaker sex, and you'll still be called a sexist.  How dare you generalize about women being weaker than men!  Well, which is it?  Dave Rule #2:  Never trust revolutions that rely on rejecting and accepting the same proposition in the same sentence.

Nope.  I think the whole #MeToo movement is, at its best, righting the horrible wrongs that were done to women in the 90s.  The 90s were a feast or famine time for women.  Women began speaking out against sexual harassment and assault in the 70s and 80s.  During that time, they were able to roll back notions of mercy and forgiveness for men guilty of sexual harassment, even as our society was all about pity and rehab for almost every other crime.  It peaked with the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas scandal, even though it was impossible for some (including women) to ignore the feeling that the whole thing seemed somewhat political.

Of course once Bill Clinton was elected, all bets were off.  Suddenly we never heard of women being sexually assaulted or raped.  Women who accused Clinton were called liars, whores and trailer park trash.  They were attacked by prominent liberal voices.  They were mocked in popular culture.  Hillary Clinton stood by and watched as, one after another, the women accusing her husband were verbally gang raped.  For years after, the whole 'sexual harassment/assault' went back underground.

You get bonus points if you've noticed that a large number of cases where prominent men have been accused of assault/harassment hail from around the late 90s/early 00s (see the Clinton Years above).  At its best, the #MeToo movement is righting that horribly unjust wrong.  At it's best, it should be a call for massive repentance for all who have taken abusive treatment of women and turned a blind eye, whether for politically expedient reasons or whatever.

Nonetheless, like most things in our technology charged, split second, media saturated era, it has almost immediately poured over into extremism, fanaticism and zealotry.  Men are assumed guilty by accusation.  During the Roy Moore era, we actually had serious discussions in which we were informed that notions of justice, presumption of innocence, due process and even the need for evidence only exist in our courtrooms - for now.  Outside of those rooms, your arse belongs to whichever demographic happens to matter. I literally watched as we were told that it was time to get over this whole 'we need evidence before destroying a person's life' fetish.  Hello, I think we have Salem on the phone.

That is my problem.   In barely a year, traditional, conservative, non-feminist Christians have all but accepted a model of understanding relations between the sexes that, only a year or so ago, they would have dismissed as radical feminism 101.  In addition, we have no ground rules at all.  Beyond rape and assault, there is no clear set of standards as to what does and doesn't constitute sexist or inappropriate behavior, yet we're on a McCarthy-like crusade, with women just wandering around saying 'he did it, He Did It, HE DID IT!', and taken at face value for their efforts.  And to reiterate, I'm seeing absolutely no accountability for women.  It's as if they never existed except to be victims.  It's as if no woman ever did anything wrong, ever exploited the very culture they now condemn, ever lied, or ever played along for their own selfish goals.  It's as if the Blessed Mother has to stand in line since apparently all women are devoid of sin.

Those problems alone would be enough to raise warning flags.  That so many - women and men - are just collapsing and accepting this, or grabbing the flag and running with it, even if they would have scoffed at such things barely a year ago, suggests something went horribly wrong.  Personally, I don't think most men will take it much longer.  And I fear when it finally stops; when men say enough, it will be like a bungee chord backlash, with many just concerns women have being steamrolled by the repercussions.  And that could be worse than the worst of the problems that legitimately need fixed.

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