The #MeToo Movement began as the long-overdue exposure of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s horrendous behavior involving young actresses. Countless individuals in Hollywood, including other women who knew his victims, hid his misdeeds for decades. The hypocrisy came not from his victims, but from these powerful Hollywood elites. Many powerful people knew or suspected Weinstein’s behavior was monstrous, but looked away.
Weinstein, Woody Allen, and the slow march of other stars revealed to have engaged in sick behavior became a tidal wave. Those two hit just about every note of evil creep with regards to younger women, and in reaction to such abuses, #MeToo came about.
#MeToo has lost steam, but it’s consequences are still being calculated. Unfortunately, some of those consequences are already here.
Going Too Far
The logic behind #MeToo’s overreach is fairly simple for those who have observed Leftist causes for any length of time. Activists begin by taking sudden note of a perceived evil (sometimes a real one) and then tying themselves in knots of moralistic disapproval. They go on to demand immediate and sweeping action on behalf of alleged victims. However, they frequently give no thought to issues like due process or presumption of innocence. The guilty are swept away along with the innocent, so long as they are tarred and feathered by similar allegations. Thus attired, they are driven from public life and left to repair what they can of their destroyed lives.
In the case of Weinstein, or Bill Cosby, or even Bill Clinton, their reputations are deservedly destroyed. Countless credible allegations of sexual misconduct, abuse, and even rape have left at least the former two with reputations in tatters. (Clinton is, notably, still largely protected because progressives like him. But let’s move on.)
#MeToo even reached into the Capitol, as congressmen were accused of sexual misconduct. Old allegations were brought to light, and at least one member, Senator Al Franken, surrendered his seat to satisfy the rage of MeToo.
#MeToo’s advocates have embodied outrage, and a willingness to destroy anyone on the flimsiest of accusations–even a Supreme Court nominee. Is it any surprise that it’s having a deleterious long-term effect?
The Costs of Overreach
I feared a year ago that #MeToo would go #TooFar… and now it has.
In the post-outrage climate, many men are simply afraid to engage with women. So much so that men are now taking practical advice about interactions with women from…Vice President Mike Pence.
The irony here abounds. Pence, in 2002, publicly discussed the precautions he took to build a safety zone around his marriage. Back then, he was widely mocked for it. The Atlantic complained that Pence’s precautions “hurt women’s progress,” not noting that the most important women’s issue for Pence was protecting his wife Karen. The Huffington Post, well, huffed that Pence’s rules held that men lack self-control and that women were automatically temptresses.
Now, a widely read article on Bloomberg has shown that in a post-#MeToo world, Pence’s restrictions make sense. They make even more sense even to those who aren’t Christian.
The key to this effect is fear. Many men now fear being accused of something by some woman. David Bahnsen, a former managing director at Morgan Stanley, says that “It’s creating a sense of walking on eggshells.”
The effects are being felt at all levels of business. Elite businessmen are showing a deep reluctance to hire, and even mentor, younger female colleagues for fear something being misunderstood.
A No-Win Scenario
Men are being left with precious few options today. Interacting with women in the workplace, particularly if they are attractive, runs a risk of some interaction or gesture being misunderstood by someone else. Worse, that interaction could be taken the wrong way by the woman in question.
Men, it seems, have reacted with an appropriate level of caution. In the current climate, few will believe their protestations of innocence. It doesn’t matter how vehement they might be.
But even being overly cautious doesn’t work. Stephen Zweig, a former employment attorney with Ford Harrison, says, “If men avoid working or traveling with women alone, or stop mentoring women for fear of being accused of sexual harassment, those men are going to back out of a sexual harassment complaint and right into a sex discrimination complaint.”
We live in a deranged world. In addressing the depravity of some men, #MeToo’s feminist have succeeded in making life more difficult for everyone, man and woman alike. Perhaps the thing to do is to keep our heads down and carry on, in the hope that sanity will prevail again. If not for us, then for those who will come after.