It goes without saying (as far as any reasonable person is concerned) that we, as a society, are against the rape and sexual harassment of women. We all want to combat these scourges – but I do not see a place for the #MeToo movement in doing so. #MeToo is bad for men, bad for women and bad for society. It is a prime example of feminist aggression into the lives of ordinary, non-feminist people who do not need feminists to dictate acceptable behaviour.
There are three types of #MeToo participant. First, the type who shares an account of a serious incident or incidents. She is misguided in seeking justice through social media which can only be obtained through the law – and in legitimising other participant-types.
The second is the type who conflates innocuous behaviour (such as unwanted compliments) with serious incidents. She serves to feed the victimhood culture; which is afflicting a proportion of women in our society and is terribly unhealthy for them psychologically and also alienates a proportion of men from women in general, inhibiting them so they feel less comfortable in women’s company – and may, in a professional setting, choose not to mentor a woman, for example.
And finally, #MeToo is a safe space for the liar who seeks to ruin the reputation of an innocent man. Men are losing their jobs and their friends over petty and false allegations due to #MeToo and there have even been fatalities, such as Carl Sargeant who took his own life after being suspended from his job as a Welsh government minister and his membership of the Labour Party whilst under investigation over claims (that were kept secret from him) of sexual misconduct.
It is important that there is a public dialogue about rape and sexual harassment but this hysterical, finger pointing movement does not represent a sensible way of approaching it. There are dangers implicit to #MeToo – to innocent men, to cultural perceptions of women and to women’s perceptions of themselves. #MeToo is fermenting the idea of women as delicate, fragile snowflakes unprepared to face public life, toxifying gender relations and sustaining the feminist Sex War. There are male and female victims and male and female perpetrators. These are human problems that we need to work on together.
There are male and female victims and male and female perpetrators. These are human problems that we need to work on together.
In addition, in working on preventing rape and sexual assault, it is imperative that we resist the assumption of #MeToo advocates – that things will be better if only we homogenise human relationships and neuter ourselves in interactions with others. Bearing in mind the human instincts to love and to fuck, sometimes even with colleagues, it is far more difficult than they suppose, to categorise most behaviour as absolutely always appropriate or absolutely never appropriate. Flirting happens, and sometimes it’s a beautiful dance and sometimes it’s misjudged – with comedic or uncomfortable or sad outcomes. Romantic pursuit is human and should be allowed to take place without the threat of being outed online for a well-intentioned misjudgement.
Even unsolicited touch is a critical part of human communication – showing camaraderie or sympathy as well as, sometimes, sexual interest. Most human beings crave touch and suffer if they lack it in their lives. If an individual clearly informs their pursuer that their boundaries have been over-stepped and the individual fails to cease in their behaviour, it becomes a problem but most of the time people manage to negotiate what is acceptable in every relationship that they participate in effectively.
Men and women must take a stand against the feminist #MeToo train-wreck. Women in particular, as we enjoy a social shield from the most negative of consequences and more easily brush off charges of misogyny. We must inform these authoritarians that they are not needed, nor wanted in the non-feminist sector and that, actually, we cherish the fact that (broadly speaking) men and women work fantastically well together. And together is how we must work, if we are to tackle the scourges of rape and sexual harassment.