Following the circus around the Ford-Kavanaugh accusations, the #MeToo movement needs to take a long hard look at itself and what it wants and needs to be.
First things first, everyone deserves their day in court. Full Stop. This means both the accused and the accusers.
However, 3 things need to change with the #MeToo movement.
- This concept of guilty until proven innocent needs to go the heck away. Its innocent UNTIL proven guilty, not the other way around. Additionally, while everyone deserves their day in court, if the court finds the evidence lacking, (i.e. no pattern of behavior, no timely report of behavior, story constantly changing, no physical evidence, no witness statements) then the accusations need to be thrown out.
- The hypocritical application of the standards of what is acceptable. If you are white, male, and conservative/libertarian, or some other group of "bad" then you get smeared, your character gets assassinated, and you are the target of a raging horde. Yet if you are not the current "bad", accusations against you are buried, poo-poo'ed, and otherwise ignored. For example, read this article:
It is about a female professor at NYU, she is lesbian, of Middle Eastern Origin, and is a Germanic Literature Professor, is accused by a male student, he is also middle eastern, and is noted as being gay, of sexual harassment. Here is a direct quote from one of those interviewed for the story:
'“I am of course very supportive of what Title IX and the #MeToo movement are trying to do, of their efforts to confront and to prevent abuses, for which they also seek some sort of justice,” Professor Davis wrote in an email. “But it’s for that very reason that it’s so disappointing when this incredible energy for justice is twisted and turned against itself, which is what many of us believe is happening in this case.”
Title IX was intended to address a long history of sexual harassment and assault of women at school, according to Dana Bolger, a co-founder of Know Your IX, a national advocacy group that teaches students about their Title IX rights.
“I would say that the vast majority of Title IX cases are protecting male victims from male perpetrators, or female victims from male perpetrators,” Ms. Bolger said.'
Read the last sentence of the first paragraph...
When a movement for justice is turned against itself because one of its proponents is being accused, then it is not a system of justice, its a system of political attack. That greatly delegitimizes the application of the system, even if the core principal it is built on might be admirable and something we should follow (i.e. Justice for All).
As an additional, contemporary case, compare the furor of Judge Kavanaugh's accusation compared to the current accusations against Representative Keith Ellison. In Representative Ellison's case, the accuser is not being lionized, instead she is claiming that the DNC is trying to shut her down. Again, the DNC is innocent until proven guilty, but the treatment of the two men is night and day.
- The continued politicalization of the movement. When it began, the #MeToo movement was about shining a light on sexual exploitation in the media/entertainment industry. Now it is a political tool, and no longer appears to be aimed at getting Justice for those who have been actually attacked.
After the #MeToo has looked at those 3 core issues, it and it's adherents should look to the future and try and iron out a few other items. Namely, what is sexual harassment/assault, and what are the consequences, intended or otherwise, of its current path.
My general definition of sexual harassment is non-consensual advance or contact up to and including rape. This does not automatically include lewd glances, wolf whistles in public, people complimenting other individuals, etc.
Right now, if a male is not monk like in their ignorance of any female in their vicinity, it can be later brought against them as sexual harassment. Despicable acts like rape, drugging, unwanted groping, and non-consensual power dynamics (lewd boss/secretary combo) are paired with holding the door, commenting on a haircut, complimenting a new dress, consensual dancing at a party among others. Not only does this cheapen the truly horrific acts like rape by making them functionally equivalent to asking if someone got a haircut, it makes every interaction a male has with a female a literal time bomb. When you are guilty unless you can prove that you are a saint, its no wonder that males either close in on themselves or just say "screw it" and act on their worst impulses because they feel that they are guilty anyway.
The unintended consequences of the politicization of the #MeToo movement will result in fewer women in the workplace, and less upward mobility for those women because, current male managers will not want to hire the walking time bomb that a female might represent. This could completely undermine multiple centuries of various feminist movements who have clawed females into more equal standing in the public sphere.
This is so counterproductive, that those moving to politicize the #MeToo movement are at the very least short sighted, and perhaps malicious in their long term intent.
To recap, everyone deserves their day in court; however, people need to be innocent until proven guilty, not the reverse. Additionally, the #MeToo movement needs to be applied equally against all accused, no matter gender, race, or political party. Otherwise, the movement just cheapens an extremely serious issue by not being blind like justice, and by equalizing horrific acts with paltry interactions.