The #MeToo Backlash

An article on the unintended consequences and backlash after the #MeToo gained momentum.

Because the data was collected soon after the #MeToo movement gained momentum, and because much of it focused on expectations, the researchers conducted a follow-up survey (with different people) in early 2019. This revealed a bigger backlash than respondents had anticipated. For instance, 19% of men said they were reluctant to hire attractive women, 21% said they were reluctant to hire women for jobs involving close interpersonal interactions with men (jobs involving travel, say), and 27% said they avoided one-on-one meetings with female colleagues; only one of those numbers was lower in 2019 than the numbers projected the year before. The researchers say that some of the behaviors are manifestations of what is sometimes called the Mike Pence rule—a reference to the U.S. vice president’s refusal to dine with female colleagues unless his wife is present. “I’m not sure we were surprised by the numbers, but we were disappointed,” says Rachel Sturm, a professor at Wright State University who worked on the project. “When men say, ‘I’m not going to hire you, I’m not going to send you traveling, I’m going to exclude you from outings’—those are steps backward.”

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Leanne E. Atwater, Allison M. Tringale, Rachel E. Sturm, Scott N. Taylor, and Phillip W. Braddy — Harvard Business Review

True Colours


#metoo from India. Painter & sculptor Jatin Das.

More public testimonies followed. Garusha Katoch, who was 20 years old when she started her internship at the Jatin Das Centre of Art in 2013, posted a detailed account of how Das had hugged and attempted to kiss her on her third day at work. “I can’t describe what I felt like, I really have no words for it even now,” Katoch told me. “The thing that bothers me with the Jatin Das story is that none of this is a secret, it is not even like there was a whisper network attached to him, it was freaking normal talk. Everybody knew,” Shree Paradkar, an Indo-Canadian journalist who had interviewed Das in the mid-1990s, told me when we spoke over the phone. Her account was first published on the digital news website The Wire.

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Nikita Saxena — The Caravan

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In the Labyrinth of #MeToo


Taking stock of what the movement has been about.

Yet even lacking the imperial powers of the Bull-Boss, they have become targets of a feminism that has gotten derailed from its most serious goals—namely, addressing the severe injustices inherent in our sex-gender system. Abortion clinics close, countless women suffer from domestic abuse, women workers endure a significant gender pay gap (earning, on average, 80 percent of what men make), female CEOs fail to break through that glittery glass ceiling (making up just five percent of the Fortune 500 list). And let’s not forget that when Hillary Clinton ran for president, hordes of red-capped Trump supporters enthusiastically chanted Lock Her Up! at all those raucous rallies.

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Sandra M. Gilbert — The American Scholar

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We Have to Go Beyond Identifying and Punishing Individual Men

If we are to seriously address the current crisis beyond identifying and punishing individual men as bad actors, we have to attend to this history and make apparent how deeply rooted it is in our culture and our psyches. Without that critical intervention—without attention to what might be called “the lessons of history”—the flurry of revelations about longstanding and long  tolerated exercises of men’s power, however horrifying in their details, will not suffice to achieve what is required to permanently change the gendered power dynamics of our culture.

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Joan Wallach Scott — IAS

Stranger Things #1: But I’m a Creep

Every now and then a starry-eyed academic reminds us that there is something called Eros and that we have to be careful not to sacrifice it on the altar of conventional morality. A recent essay in the Boston Review is the latest instance of this genre. The writers, Marta Figlerowicz and Ayesha Ramachandran, two junior Yale professors, warn that “in our current rush to respond to sexual harassment claims with effective actions, we may be engaging in … a moral panic.” They hope that the classroom remains a “safe space” which leaves room for “ambiguity”, and that we have to recognize that “we and our students are embodied beings.”

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Gal Katz — The Point Magazine

Under the Hollywood Gaslight


Rose McGowan.

McGowan can’t be separated from the reality of an activism hierarchy, which privileges certain women over others. “If you’re someone like Meryl Streep or Oprah Winfrey or someone like that, you are in a really good place to speak out,” says Zeisler. McGowan, whose relevance was waning as far back as ten years ago, is not. Add to that her anarchistic approach to the #MeToo movement as a whole— attacking not only abusers but celebrity activists like Alyssa Milano and Streep who don’t fit her narrative—and she becomes a precarious voice. After McGowan called out Time’s Up activists for not supporting her memoir or her TV series, Amanda Hess wrote in The New York Times, “in Hollywood, where product and cause are inextricable, it makes a kind of sense.”

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Soraya Roberts — Hazlitt

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Where to for #MeToo?


The movement’s impact in the US and Europe.

All in all, the #MeToo campaign in eastern Europe cannot be compared to that in the West, either in intensity and duration, or in terms of real-life consequences, be it demoting men in powerful positions or widespread public support. The question is why women in eastern Europe, who are probably harassed as much as, if not more than, women in the West, do not perceive it as a harassment? Are they more tolerant? Or is their perception of what is permitted and what isn’t formed by a different political regime?

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Simone de Beauvoir’s #MeToo


This dissatisfaction has arisen on the basis of moral objections to particular actions in particular situations. So to Colosimo’s claim that #MeToo feminism promotes a view of women as “victims and helpless objects of male desire rather than free agents” we need to ask two questions: first, if in other moral contexts free agency involves the freedom to denounce behaviour that we consider harmful, what’s different about this one? Second, what is this ‘male desire’, such that women are victims of it?

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Kate Kirkpatrick — IAI

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