A Morally Pretentious #MeToo Movement
Feminism is less about expanding independence or strength, and more about expanding victimhood.
One of the leading voices of the feminist movement is being excoriated for taking on the insufferably self-righteous perpetrators of the #MeToo movement.
“I want, I’ve always wanted, to see women react immediately,” Germaine Greer stated during an interview in London, preceding a gala where she was named Australian of the Year in Britain. “In the old days, there were movies — the Carry On comedies, for example — which always had a man leering after women. And the women always outwitted him — he was a fool. We weren’t afraid of him and we weren’t afraid to slap him down.”
“What makes it different is when the man has economic power, as Harvey Weinstein has. But if you spread your legs because he said, ‘Be nice to me and I’ll give you a job in a movie,’ then I’m afraid that’s tantamount to consent, and it’s too late now to start whingeing about that,” she added.
“Whinge” is the British version of “whine,” and there was no shortage of whining in response to Greer’s assertion. Columnist Tracy E. Gilchrist insists Greer appears “stuck in another era,” and that she “victim-blamed in the middle of making the point." Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, who believes older generations of feminists blazed a path for today’s social justice warriors, nonetheless characterizes Greer as "some older woman or other [who] is brought in to tell anyone who will listen how stupid the whole [#MeToo] endeavour is.”
Stupid? Selective is more like it, and in that regard Greer herself is rightly taken to task for giving Woody Allen a pass regarding allegations by stepdaughter Dylan Farrow that the director molested her when she was seven. “It was 20 years ago, so you want him to stop making movies now? It might be a good idea because he’s probably no good anymore,” Greer stated.
But why single out Greer? Many of the #MeToo warriors themselves also gave Allen a pass for years. And as it is with Harvey Weinstein, their newfound outrage demonstrates the same ex post facto hypocrisy of working for Allen first, and criticizing him afterward. Moreover, there’s no shortage of hypocrisy with regard to convicted child rapist Roman Polanski: Activist Natalie Portman, who champions her solidarity with sexual harassment victims, once signed a petition calling for Polanski’s pardon.
Nonetheless, Greer and other critics of the #MeToo movement, including Catherine Deneuve and 100 prominent French women, are getting hammered for suggesting #MeToo is rapidly devolving into a witch hunt. And as it must be for a generation marinated in progressive ideology, “intersectionality” drives that criticism. Thus New Yorker columnist Lauren Collins bemoans the fact that Deneuve, et al, are “mostly, though not exclusively, white members of the professional and artistic classes,” whose petition wasn’t signed by “housekeepers or bus drivers.”
For those insufficiently attuned to modern-day feminism, a 2014 column by Ava Vidal reveals what such “intersectionality” is all about. “There is no one-size-fits-all type of feminism,” she writes. “For example, I am a black woman and as a result I face both racism and sexism as I navigate around everyday life.”
In other words, today’s feminism is less about expanding the boundaries of independence or strength, and more about expanding the boundaries of victimhood.
Why the seeming paradigm shift? “Previous generations understood that our decisions, our whims and consents, had to be ordered by a larger purpose. But the millennial ‘nones’ are the least likely to understand that,” columnist Daniel Greenfield explains.
The term “nones” is a reference to those who do not identify themselves as having any religious affiliation. Tellingly, 36% of Millennials identify as such, a total double that of similar-minded Baby Boomers.
Why is a lack of religion important? “The history of human civilization is built on societies ordering the various states of human emotions to a higher purpose. That is one of the fundamental gifts of religion,” Greenfield explains. “Philosophers across thousands of years sought answers and offered solutions. And then in the last few generations, we tossed them all on the rubbish heap and exchanged them for Marxist pottage.”
That Marxist pottage swaps a higher purpose for “states governed by the emotions of the moment,” and a moral code “based on an academic analysis of power relationships between races, genders and sexual orientations.” As a result, leftists have created an environment “in which consent could be obtained with sufficient pressure,” but also one where “what can be obtained with sufficient pressure can also be withdrawn with sufficient pressure.”
Thus, as Greenfield and Greer have noticed, “retroactively withdrawn consent” drives far too many members of the #MeToo movement — and infuriates them when they’re called on it.
That fury can’t obscure the reality that the women who allowed Harvey Weinstein to exploit them made the choice that an acting career was worth compromising their integrity. That doesn’t mean Weinstein, and the rest of overwhelmingly leftist predators with power to procure sexual favors, aren’t utter low-lifes. It just means a lot of women need to be honest about what their priorities were.
And are. It’s worth remembering that after many of them became stars — and thus economically comfortable — the only real downside to outing these predators would have been having a harder time getting additional roles — often from the same predators.
That doesn’t mean outing them retroactively isn’t a good thing. Going forward, women will undoubtedly benefit from what appears to be a permanent alteration of a contemptible dynamic that has played itself out for far too long.
But telling America what paragons of integrity they are now? It is revealing that both Rose McGowan and Asia Argento, the two women who accused Harvey Weinstein of rape, and are arguably the primary catalysts of the #MeToo movement, both insist they weren’t invited to the 2018 Golden Globes, the awards-show-turned-paean to sexual harassment, in all its black gowns-only glory.
Thus, despite all of the ostensible high-mindedness championed by the current generation of feminists, perhaps “states governed by the emotions of the moment” — with an ample dose of hypocrisy added to the mix — is the best we can expect.