The #MeToo Movement Is Infantilizing Women, and that’s Bad for Everyone

Aziz

Framed as a long-overdue feminist call for action and awareness, the #MeToo movement has quickly devolved into a bully pulpit for angry women who would rather cast blame than take responsibility for bad choices.

The most recent example involves Aziz Ansari, who was hurled into the #MeToo wood chipper, based on an article published on the website Babe.net. In it, the writer and her anonymous subject “Grace” detail the latter’s uncomfortable encounter with Ansari, during which both willingly performed oral sex on the other, despite Grace giving what she calls verbal and non-verbal cues that she wasn’t much interested.


Since its publication, the Babe article has sparked heated arguments, not just between men and women, but among feminists, who have questioned the merit of the accusations. After calling the article little more than revenge porn, Atlantic contributing editor, Caitlin Flanagan was joined by other prominent female media members, including HLN host Ashleigh Banfield, who ridiculed Grace for harming the credibility of the #MeToo movement, while calling the Babe article “a story of a bad date.”

Despite these characterizations, many women have applauded Grace and Babe for shedding light on what they say is an issue of consent. While the law may seek to define consent in definitive terms, modern women are attempting to redefine it with a broad, unrealistic definition.

According to New York Times writer Bari Weiss, many women claim that consent is only consent when it is “affirmative, active, continuous and enthusiastic.” While it shouldn’t surprise anyone that this definition has stirred up plenty of debate, few seem to realize that neither side’s opinion really matters that much.

Feminism in the Real World

Many women are tweeting the need to educate young males on how to judge consent, at least from the modern female perspective. In fact, there is some evidence that this type of early education can help reduce instances of sexual coercion, harassment and even assault.

It seems unlikely, however, that any amount of education or tweeting will completely eradicate confusion over consent. What it has done, however, is infantilize women to the point where they are unwilling or unable to assume responsibility for bad choices.

For her part, Ashleigh Banfield expressed dismay that Grace did not respond to her experience with Aziz by standing up, smoothing her dress and leaving. In her Atlantic article, The Humiliation of Aziz Ansari, Caitlin Flanagan expressed similar concerns when she decried “a country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab.”

Yet, while #MeToo is now polarizing key figures within the movement, its failure really lies in the length of its tentacles. While important in workplaces where men of power have control over female subordinates, #MeToo really has no place in general society, where women are free to stand up for themselves against men who have no real power over them.

In that arena, there are people – male and female – who lack integrity and scruples. There are politicians who will lie to get votes. There are salesmen who will bilk senior citizens out of money. And, yes, there are men who will try to get in a woman’s pants, even if she isn’t “enthusiastic” about the idea.

Despite our best hopes, there will always be people who put their needs above others and seek to fulfill these needs without regards for the other person’s feelings. To teach young women otherwise by championing an idealistic notion is to render them defenseless against reality. No, not every man is out to trick women into putting out. But, don’t kid yourself; there are wolves out there, and nonverbal cues aren’t what strong, feminist women should use to defend their interests.

Instead of railing at reality and nurturing the ridiculous concept of an ideal world, we are much better off teaching our daughters how to stand up for themselves, when they inevitably cross paths with someone who seeks to use them.

By Paul A. Achoa (36 Posts)

Paul A. Achoa is KingofHowTo.com's Editor and Health and Fitness expert.


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