Whatever that means.
Apparently, men in positions of power should be able to rape women at their will.
And women should just sit in silence and take it.
But let’s ask real questions.
Since #MeToo, how many laws have changed?
How many arrests?
Oh, I see.
Nothing has changed, but people think it has gone too far. Nice try.
Actually, it has gone nowhere.
Some creeps have been fired (but still are wealthy), and many, many of those men admitted to wrongdoing.
Wow, and people say it was a witch hunt.
Yet, I have said from the beginning, there are elements of #MeToo that do not sit well with me.
Do not misconstrue my sentiment or twist my words: I have no tolerance of sexual terrorism anywhere, and that includes the workplace manipulation.
It is not sex: it is war strategy. Freak out the woman so much at work, that she will be too scared to think or take you on.
But also, it is a form of blackmail: if push comes to shove, the man can pretend the woman is a willing participant and ensures her silence.
He may even manipulate her into thinking she was a participant, not a victim.
Gaslighting for the ignorant.
So I applaud those who speak out.
Yet, from the beginning, there were things that never sat well with me, and I resent it.
Because this movement isn’t about liberating women.
But using them as pawns in a bigger game.
Most of those on the #MeToo Hitlist come from Hollywood, journalism, and a dash of politics.
I find that very interesting. Silicon Valley is rife with sexism, yet it was spared for the most part. Fortune 500 companies also weren’t outed, and for all folksy talk, most local stories never took. Legal and medical industries also got a free pass.
Both journalism and Hollywood are veterans at using PR firms and image consultants as well as crisis management — yet they are the ones taking the hits that less seasoned industries aren’t getting.
The arc is very specific. Certain people were targeted, even though there are industries, such as law enforcement where there is an established history of sexual harassment.
It is hard to tell. Unlike many social movements, #MeToo has no leader. Rose McGowan isn’t organizing or stumping. Who is at the forefront? Who is the face, the voice?
That’s a red flag in many regards. Something that powerful needs a driving force of one, or a cluster of people. We can proffer a theory that this movement is taking place on Twitter, and it is a mosaic of voices speaking out.
If that were the case, we’d have a wider variety of industries taking a hit, but that’s not what we’re seeing at all.
It has struck at the beautiful people, not the women next door.
And for the illusion of McGowan of being at the forefront, she wasn’t invited as any actress’s guest at the Golden Globes where most of the women wore black.
So she’s not it.
And neither is Ronan Farrow.
Both have commendably pushed in different ways: Farrow is still after Weinstein. McGowan is ensuring the movement doesn’t fade without proper fixes.
Yet nothing congeals, and in my experience as a journalist, a movement without a leader means something else is at play. Who coordinates? Who is working the phones? Who is getting the lobbyists and the rallies ready to make the most of public goodwill?
We don’t know — and that’s a huge void, and one that makes me question how safe are women with #MeToo.
Remember in the 1960s and 1970s when Women’s Liberation broke through, and even during the Woman’s Suffragists movement decades earlier that got women the right to vote: there were definite leaders guiding and pushing because they had a plan.
Where are the strategists?
And what is the actual plan?
That’s the missing variable, and that’s reason I cannot give any of it the benefit of the doubt.
A lot of the optics of #MeToo remind me of World War II propaganda posters.
Aside from the vile and overt racist underpinnings, there is something else: the women under attack look very attractive…and yet while the initial reaction is to feel that lust, another look, and the young childless man to whom these posters targeted are inciting him to hate enough to kill strangers.
The posters aren’t about liberating women or giving a damn about their rights. They are to be seen as victims, and the point is to scrounge up enough soldiers to defeat an enemy force.
The women are mere pawns of convenience.
And that is what has been sticking in my craw about #MeToo from day one.
I do not doubt Ronan Farrow. I do not doubt Rose McGowan. They have no reason to play games.
But the fight was co-opted along the way: a legitimate grievance and outrage was turned into an instant movement, but one with a more smug purpose: getting rid of Donald Trump before the next presidential election.
It is very doubtful that gambit is going to work. It did not work in 2016 when there was that little recorded exchange between him and Billy Bush, but perhaps if it was made into a more powerful movement, perhaps…
Perhaps nothing. It is akin to having cancer and someone giving you a little bit of antibiotics to cure you.
It doesn’t work in a small quantity and it won’t work in a bigger one, either.
Trump never pretended to be a feminist choir boy. His core will not be bothered at all.
And the press never learned from their past.
The late Toronto mayor Rob Ford was caught on camera hanging out with drug dealers smoking crack cocaine while in office.
The local press hated his guts to the point of being irrational, but had he not be stricken with cancer, he would have sailed to a second term.
He could have smoked that pipe in front of reporters, and he would have won.
But the Canadian media just kept up their “ewww, gross” narrative of Ford.
The US press had done the same, but then Ronan Farrow got it in his head to expose Harvey Weinstein for the untalented predator that he is.
And someone saw an opportunity for a little game of war.
But what worries me is that once it becomes obvious that Trump is not going anywhere, and can sail into a second term even if he smoked a crack pipe in front of reporters, that those who spoke out during #MeToo are going to get abandoned and then punished for not doing what they were “supposed” to do for someone who fancies himself as a strategist and puppet master.
And women will be set back once again, not roar forward.
It is for this real threat that anyone who believes in the rights of women be more proactive about the next critical steps. With discipline and a plan of action. What should now happen? What laws need changing? How do we deal with predators who have money, connections, power, and control who can save himself through a crisis management firm, or through the court system? How do we bring equity in those areas?
To make a difference where it actually counts, it means taking control away from those who decry that the movement went “too far.”
Or that it has become a “witch hunt.”
It has been neither. No laws have been changed, for instance. There has been no calls for immediate legal reform. Corporations have not come out with a workers’ bill of rights with improved protocols to combat abuse. We have not heard from any Fortune 500 company making any pledge to increase the number of women getting promoted into positions of power, or how they will ensure sexual harassment doesn’t happen.
If some super-rich robber baron wants to get rid of Trump because he is afraid of losing a few billion dollars that he was never entitled to own in the first place, let him do the dirty work himself out in the open like everybody else.
Women are not pawns to be exploited and discarded. There is too much about the movement that leaves it vulnerable to be misused, and then discredited.
It is a real threat — a pseudo backlash when #MeToo doesn’t prove to be some way to weaken a political rival.
Because any society that mistreats women, it is not a society worth bragging about.