Not Me Too


We probably needn’t worry about missing a gaudy bandwagon when it comes around. Another one will be by in a couple of days. Now in the news and social media, it’s #MeToo. As I write this, America is already tired of “the narrative,” and the bandwagon is lumbering on, but before it fades too far into the distance I want to put in my two cents. The Left won’t listen, but perhaps reasonable people will.

Feminism is now in reverse gear. It’s going backwards, because instead of earning women more respect and trust from men, it’s causing even many who previously held us in high esteem to distrust us and view us with contempt. But contrary to what women are so often told, it isn’t the political Right or the Republican Party that is moving us back. It is the very people who have so loudly taken up our cause.

Those of us who live in the real world, where there are not 50 “genders” but two sexes, understand that because the human race is divided about evenly between them, our fortunes are inextricably tied together. There is really no such thing as a “women’s issue” or a “men’s issue.” There are only human issues, and in one way or another each of them affects us all.

There is a world of difference between having your feelings hurt and fearing for your life.

I have experienced both sexual harassment and sexual assault. They are nowhere near the same. It is an insult to women everywhere that the #MeToo movement conflates them. To mush these two related-yet-separate issues together is to do a disservice to both. And it makes women not more safe, but less.

It also leaves men understandably confused. How on earth are they expected to make sense of such a jumble? It very much appears that they are now under suspicion no matter how innocent their intentions may be. Will even a dinner invitation lead to an accusation of rape?

There is a world of difference between having your feelings hurt and fearing for your life. Nearly as large a gulf exists between finding an eligible woman attractive and stalking her with the intention of committing a savage assault. “Oh,” friends have sobbed to me, “but when you hear their stories, you’ll understand what a horrible problem this is!”

My own Inner Child wants to run as far away from this crusade as she can get.

But precisely what is “this?” And who is telling the stories of the people (mostly men, but not always) whose shared experience is, evidently, not welcome? Men are tepidly and belatedly being invited to “share their stories,” but I see little indication that their recollections are taken as seriously as those of women. Those brave enough to come forward are even being ridiculed.

This is touchy-feely, “Womyn’s Retreat in Sedona” stuff. It calls to mind hippie-dippy singalongs and flannel shirts, and isn’t too far removed from getting in touch with our Inner Child. Most men don’t gravitate to this sort of thing, and I don’t blame them. My own Inner Child wants to run as far away from this crusade as she can get. I refuse to see half of the human race as The Enemy, and consider far more dangerous those who would poison my mind into accepting such a view.

This is how both of the big-league statist political teams operate. Each takes a stand in which there can be found a grain of truth, and that’s how it takes its minions in. But coated in gunky layers around that kernel is a syrupy glaze of emotion. Often it’s slathered on so thick that it’s nearly impossible to get down to what’s essential. Sexual harassment and rape are bad — m’kay — and every civilized person agrees on that, but extreme Harvey Weinstein types aside, harassers and rapists are usually very different individuals.

Male chauvinist abusers and man-hating witch-hunters alike flourish in an atmosphere of chaos.

The rules need to be clearly defined and reasonably easy to grasp. The game can’t be booby-trapped against anyone who’s required to play it. If the net is cast too widely, and enough innocent people are caught up in it, all that will do is discredit any further movement for women’s rights and make enemies it can’t afford to have. Alienating large swaths of the populace, and making ourselves look like loonies, is not going to make anyone safer. Such irresponsibility and incoherence are exactly what hasthrown the women’s movement into reverse.

The only people helped by a self-indulgent sobfest like #MeToo are those who are genuinely bad. Male chauvinist abusers and man-hating witch-hunters alike flourish in an atmosphere of chaos. When the lines are so blurry that any tasteless joke can be construed as tantamount to rape, then confusion can be used as an excuse to push the boundaries even farther. And every busybody, regardless of the circumstances, finds license to make accusations and ruin lives.

Oppressive government thrives on confusion. If it’s all too complicated for us to sort out, the authoritarian state will gladly do it for us. But because it cites, as its justification, the existence of the problem itself, in order to hold onto its power it can never permit the problem to be solved. If we can’t find a way to solve the problem ourselves, one way or another we will all end up being victims.

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Jacques Delacroix

Very well put (as usual). I especially like the "... syrupy glaze of emotion...." May I use it? All I can add is: "Kumbaya."

Lori Heine

Jacques, I would be pleased and proud if you borrowed "syrupy glaze of emotion." And "Kumbaya" is a lot of fun to say.

Scott Robinson

Dear Lori,

The biggest problem that I have with these hollow blabber fests that start with the pound sign is well illustrated by this one. "# Me Too", means "pound me too". Of course then the question is, are you saying he pounded you also, or are you begging for him to not leave you out of the pounding? I know, TV has told me that "#" means "hash tag" not "pound" or "number" like it did when I was in grade school. OK, are you saying he hashed a checkmark next to your name after he tagged you too?
Good point at the end about these # databases functioning as propaganda for government (our higher power) to take care of all of these hopeless, powerless victims. Maybe we need to make databases for all the people who feel that they're in good shape. I suggest "*" like "* proud", and "* elated". Your most important point is that this activity is total worthless for one's psychological health. It and fifty cents can get you a phone call.

Best Wishes,

Michael Morrison

Two things I like about Lori Heine's essays here at Liberty: 1) her subject matter and approach and 2) her writing style.
Every time I see something new by her, I read in open-mouthed awe. What a talent!
And, in this essay, she touches on a topic with which I am sadly familiar: female charges against perfectly innocent males.
It's happened to me a few times. At one newspaper I worked at, one particular would-be reporter made an oral complaint against me, pure fabrication; then the next two male reporters to start there had to face similar unfounded charges.
One of the editors later told me she did that out of fear that a more-capable reporter would replace her.
Interestingly, despite her general inability, she got her next job at a much bigger paper, at a much bigger salary.
By the way, the other two male reporters and I were not charged with anything other than language, but I have heard stories from other men reporters of even worse charges in their own lives.
And, these days, generally one is guilty until proven innocent -- and how does one prove a negative?

Jacques Delacroix

Michael: If you keep using the word "oral," you will get into trouble.

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