Here’s a fun understatement: The New York Times doesn’t always get things right. We’re no stranger to confronting them for it, either. But once in a while they surprise us with a nugget of sanity. A glimmer of goodness. Like today. A double whammy: not only did something coherent crawl out of the NYT op-ed section, it was penned by a feminist. Calling out other feminists.
But privately, I suspect, many of us, including many longstanding feminists, will be rolling our eyes, having had it with the reflexive and unnuanced sense of outrage that has accompanied this [#MeToo] cause from its inception, turning a bona fide moment of moral accountability into a series of ad hoc and sometimes unproven accusations.
She’s right. Weinstein jizzing in front of a trapped woman is much different than, say, a man at work saying you have a tight ass. Danny Masterson violently raping you isn’t on the same scale as Ben Affleck grabbing your butt. Whatever happened to spectrums? Harassment is bad, yes. But not all levels of harassment warrant full scale witch hunts.
For many weeks now, the conversation that has been going on in private about this reckoning is radically different from the public one. This is not a good sign, suggesting the sort of social intimidation that is the underside of a culture of political correctness, such as we are increasingly living in.
Perhaps even more troubling is that we seem to be returning to a victimology paradigm for young women, in particular, in which they are perceived to be — and perceive themselves to be — as frail as Victorian housewives.
Um, yes times a thousand.
The writer goes on to detail how many feminists are fed up with noodle-limbed weakness plaguing many women. She hits all the right notes. Due process, the dangers of victimhood, the war on courtship. She even suggests a solution which doesn’t include the witch-hunting of innocent men. And here I thought Christmas was over.
Some are now suggesting that come-ons need to be constricted to a repressive degree. Asking for oral consent before proceeding with a sexual advance seems both innately clumsy and retrograde, like going back to the childhood game of “Mother, May I?”
Stripping sex of eros isn’t the solution. Nor is calling out individual offenders, one by one. We need a broader and more thoroughgoing overhaul, one that begins with the way we bring up our sons and daughters.
It’s easy to put anyone who agrees with you on a pedestal, then kick it out from beneath them when they say something you don’t like. Such virtue signaling means nothing. But in a world where #MeToo drowns out due process, rationality, or actual solutions, we should be highlighting reason. Holding onto it as desperately as “skinny” jeans hold onto curdled feminist thighs.
It’s time to celebrate logical thinking. And shame those who sputter nonsense. Preferably in public. Belligerent bovines have been hijacking the microphone far too long. Hashtag feminism needs to get the boot.