Do You Value Independent Arts Journalism & Would You Like To Help Us Produce More? Find Out More

#Me Too. Yes, it is complicated

Greta Hassler* works in the entertainment industry. She writes that the reduction of arguments to black or white positions is scuppering the power of the #Me Too movement.

1. Everyone in the business knows what he’s like. That’s why it’s annoying reading comments saying: “He’s an icon. He’d never behave that way”. It’s irritating to those of us in his industry who have known of his proclivities for decades, that his reputation is defended by the same qualification that permitted him to be a sleaze in the first place: Power. These men in the entertainment industry who threaten to sue for defamation invariably get what they want: they shut it all down. The women get intimidated and keep quiet. The media gets nervous. The naïve fans say: See, he’s innocent. And the power and the money that facilitated the history of questionable behaviour also facilitates its protection.

2. A nasty or foolish man sticking his hand up the dress of his female colleague is not something that should be tolerated. But neither the crime nor its emotional consequence is the same as 13-year-old gymnasts being sexually assaulted by their doctor. In the entire #Me Too movement, there are vastly different degrees of pain, suffering and criminal behaviour, which are being inappropriately merged.

3. Some men in (and out) of the workplace are sexual abusers, assaulters and harassers. But plenty are just stupid, over confident, have bad taste and an ugly sense of humour. They deserve to be told to desist from annoying women (and other men) and intruding on their personal space. But they’re not rapists or sexual harassers. In the rapid and sometimes histrionic escalation of #Me Too, the difference is getting smudged.

4. Some men in the work place exhibit dumb, lewd and intrusive behaviour but are not rapists or sexual harassers. But when they are chastised or confronted, they become very, very nasty. The mind games they play are disturbing, upsetting and are another form of assault not well enough recognised in the debate.

5. Some adult women who should be able to tell an obnoxious man to shut up or go away, don’t and complain later. This is part of human nature but it’s annoying they can’t deal with small-claims, undesirable behaviour in situ. It’s hard to know what level of reaction as a society we should deem part of the broad remit of being an adult. Surely grown up women can tell a man where to go when he puts his hand on their butt, even if she shouldn’t have to? On the other hand, some women have small voices for good reasons.

6. “Me Too” reads as a sinister tag-line to a potentially marvellous moment. The bandwagon is a horrible consequence of a great initiative. What begins as a genuinely inspiring call to arms starts to attract a creepy join-the-pack, I-want-to-be-on-the-right-side-of-this-moment hysteria. I want to applaud a sea-change in workplace culture, but too often it feels like a deja-vu of The Crucible, only with earrings by Harry Winston. (One such moment was seeing the men at the Golden Globes with their little solidarity badges. This felt less an authentic declaration of solidarity as an identity-marker of “innocence” and political correctness.)

7. The fact that #Me gained traction and is exemplified by rich movie-stars doesn’t make it bad, but it certainly taints the cause with a slightly nauseating quality. Yes, young Hollywood actresses are human too even though they’re privileged and good-looking — they shouldn’t have to go through the Harvey Weinstein crap and no doubt suffer emotional distress. But at least they have agents, managers, lawyers, powerful friends and other jobs to go to, unlike ordinary women in ordinary work-places. I’m bored with the big names tweeting their way into collective-victimhood. They may be entitled to speak out but I’m getting cynical that the social media camaraderie and salary-pay-backs are a manifestation of conferences with managers hell-bent on image-control.

8. Paying back your salary on a Woody Allen movie doesn’t count for much as he pays actors a tiny percentage of their normal salaries. Nice gesture, but slightly disingenuous, Colin. And Rebecca. And Timothee.

rebeccaxxx-hall-and-scarlett-johansson
Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson in Woody Allen’ s ‘Vicky Cristina Barcelona’ (2008)

9. That some actresses’ careers were clearly scuppered by the narcissistic and deeply creepy Weinstein seems to be a given. But some actresses may not have garnered roles because everyone knows they’re a nightmare to work with. Some actors don’t get work because they’re just horrible.

10. Part of the reason that Weinstein got away with his behaviour is because some women colluded with it. They wanted work. They wanted Oscars. They were sycophants. All women know what it feels like to overlook badly behaving men to serve their own ends. This doesn’t excuse his behaviour in any way or taint the women who have stepped forward. But to somehow label women inevitably as victims is misleading and allows people to dismiss all the real and valid claims of abuse.

11. The debate about whether one can separate the art from the artist rages on. Two of the most interesting articles appear in the New York Times this week about how to continue a spectator’s relationship with Woody Allen and how a gallery is dealing with allegations about the artist Chuck Close. The gallery planning a Close exhibition will present it, but in conjunction with an exhibition about gender inequity. Such ameliorating actions will now be manifold. We will have to get used to a cultural landscape where institutions spend as much time and money strategising their reputations and putting art in a metaphorical court-room as doing their job presenting art.

12. Bad people have always made good art. The only civilised response is to respect the audience’s ability to find their own relationship to the quandary. Either you can put the assumed morality of an artist to one side or you can’t. Some people will continue to admire and enjoy genius as a separate (or mitigating) aspect of human flaws and frailties. Others will find their admiration and enjoyment of the art irrevocably diminished. There’s no dictate that works in a civilised culture. And destroying, denying, archiving and shutting down artistic endeavour on the basis of an artist’s lack of moral fibre will eventuate in a world with no books, no art and no cinema that’s any good. Art is made from the full gamut of what it is to be human, including the bad stuff.

13. Catherine Deneuve and her French friends didn’t say what they wanted to say very well, but there was a kernel there that was interesting and true. Flirtation and desire will never conform to ideological dictates. If people interpret workplace standards of behaviour as inflexible standards of male/female interaction in our wider lives, some of the joy of life will evaporate. Women may not want to be hit on at work, but they may still like being hit on. Depends on the guy, depends on your mood, depends where you are and if you have the freedom to reject or succumb. Separating sex and power so people can work (and live) without sexual intimidation is an essential ambition of our modern society. But love and desire and seduction sometimes involve transgression, physicality and danger. In a good way.

14.“Innocent until proven guilty” has been curiously sidelined in the exciting tsunami of indignation and fury that is #Me Too. Probably most of these creepy guys are creepy guys, especially with multiple accusations lobbed at the same man. Yes, sexism is entrenched where power is entrenched and power is everywhere and absolute — and we all know about how absolute power corrupts. But it’s still possible that we, as the receivers of social media, public accusations, loud protests, ancient grievances and the subtleties of human psychology – still don’t know the truth. That possibility used to be enough to keep doubt alive until due process. Have we gained something in bypassing legal principles or have we lost something? Is this Salem, Massachusetts? Or is it the start of a genuine and inspiring social revolution?

*Greta Hassler is the pseudonym of a woman who works in film

Help us publish more arts commentary, reviews and stories by contributing as much as you think independent arts journalism is worth. Find out more here

39 responses to “#Me Too. Yes, it is complicated

  1. I’m all for supporting #metoo and outing sexual harassers and abusers and bringing the guilty to justice. But I will never support ANY movement that condones “guilty until proven innocent” and “being accused means you lose your career”. The SJWs that subscribe to these online social just lynch mobs know nothing about justice and are cowards, not warriors.

  2. HELLO! Have any of you accually gone through an experience like this? Astonishment, shock, doubt, confision and shame are the instant reaction to being violated. Most Humans/people (specifically not using gender, age or industry) are instantly traumatized and can not articulate what is happening in the moment or over the next few days. Human nature is to “not rock the boat” the victim mentally, doesn’t speak up because they don’t want to face the reality and trauma within their own mind = avoidance then justification “I’m a strong person, not a weak one. I can get over it, f#c# it! I’m moving on.” Hence why no one speaks up. Or other people will advise; to take your lumps, that’s just how it is in this industry, take the reward and run. Every person before you has had to.
    Listen, many of you; author or commentor come across as very educated in a academic sense. Me, not so academic, so the thought of commenting was very intimidating for me. But the truth is, many of my life experiences are harsh, sad, unbelievable…it would have many of you want to curl up into fetal position. And by my standards many have had it much worse than I. I am NOT A VICTIM, I AM A SURVIVOR. All of you are getting wrapped up in the technicalities of the PC issues about this topic.
    I know many Nobel men who can truly stand arm and arm with women and it’s not about image.
    Get your mind’s right. Care, have empathy, get angry at the mistreatment of anyone. Dont debate the intricacies of such subjects. JUST CARE ABOUT PEOPLE and what horrible things are happening to them. Quit quibbling! The FACT is clear NOW (#metoo or not) IT’S HAPPENING TO PEOPLE FOR CHRIST SAKE! At the hands of, mostly, truly bad people in powerful positions or who are terrifyingly dominant. You should be defending these people because it’s not right!
    Get over the crap! “Band wagon” “Judicial” “fair” “speak up in the moment” “futher their career”…and on and on you all go. PPFF PLEASE!
    #JUSTHAVEEMPATHY itsbtje human thing to do.
    MY REAL NAME IS TONI

    1. Thank you for your heartfelt comment, Toni. The antagonism and misogyny of the backlash to the whistleblowers of Me Too must be extremely hurtful and threatening. Knowing that so many stick up for the abusers rather than the victims makes it even more important that we change attitudes to sexual harassment and assault of women, and men.

    2. Toni, sorry for your experiences but capital letters, exclamation marks and fury only add to the sense that this issue already has far too much of The Crucible and of McCarthyism about it. Concern that some people may be being denounced and falsely accused, even if they are few, isn’t quibbling. It’s a concern that there be justice .. for EVERYONE involved.

    3. Where do we start?

      The pesky “technicalities” of fairness are kind of important.
      We need to debate the “intricacies” because being slapping a woman’s bottom is not the same as rape. One is boorish, illegal in the wrong circumstances, the other is a crime carrying a major prison sentence.
      You sign off with “empathy” (in screaming CAPS) but you show no empathy for those accused, often without evidence.
      We should definitely always defend those people who are accused (in the case of Spacey) of being difficult to work with, of handing out his number to one of the male students “I think” (yes and that made up a feature story in The Australian) and even looking at someone the wrong way.
      Every woman in the film industry has not had to deal with these alleged situations.
      This bigoted, politically-correct, non-thinking is as close to a direct descendant of McCarthyism as we have seen in 60 years.

      When is this movement going to realise it’s as bad the culture it wants to replace, stop being sexist, stop misusing the word “misogynist”when it means “chauvinist” and acknowledge it is creating it’s own culture of misandry?

  3. Jane, having read Kendall’s piece, I can only say I wish I had written it. I have already said in other threads (eg; the Geoffrey Rush case), that a firm ‘bugger off’ by the female (or male for that matter) at the time of the alleged ‘harassment’ would probably have stopped the behaviour in its tracks, and perhaps the perpetrator too.

    As an employer of over 30 years, I have witnessed all sorts of sins and wickedness perpetrated by both males and females, moreso in recent times now that the social disintegration of the ‘working class’ wrought by 2 generations of ‘progressive’ policies is most apparent. My latest employee crisis is a mother seeking a DVO against her daughter’s boyfriend days after the birth of their second child to stop boyfriend’s threats to remove the 18 month old first child. Lovely stuff.

    The ‘progressive’ Left should have worked out by now that the destruction of the traditional family has been most devastating to the workers, not the bosses. The bosses and the elites financed by the taxpayers are smart enough to work out that they and their children will do best in stable long term relationships (dare I say marriages).

    Clever people who read these threads might also work out that the loss of clearly accepted and enforced social rules governing male-female relations in all aspects of life; dating, procreating, and family building has spawned the current state of debased communication between the sexes; the Meeto being its latest manifestation. .

    1. Can’t say that I totally agree nor totally disagree. It seems simplistic to believe that in a society where traditionally men have held so much power economically, socially, politically and physically; that a firm ‘bugger off’ is going to be such an effective defence. As to the stability of the family, as a left winger who has been in various de facto relationships and now one stable long lasting marriage with child, I can say that I don’t think the institution itself is necessary, although I believe it an option well worth considering. I am happy I didn’t marry the women I didn’t marry, and happy I married the woman I did. As far as I can tell the destruction of the traditional family has a lot to do with economic policies which have necessitated both parents to be working far more than forty hours a week, which uproots workers and sends them far away from the extended family thus negating a support network, which promotes a user pays system denying services to those who most need them. If you had written this article you would have written a very different one, because the article is saying that it isn’t all black and white, while you seem to be saying it is all white.

  4. Greta has articulated the situation with nuance and intelligence. Good to have the profane Razer off the case for a change.

    Greta has introduced a sense of proportion to the issue which might save women’s credibility and make the case against the real sexual abusers; and not the tasteless, petty and harmless actions which are conflated into a dangerous weapon by any accuser.

    1. As a women I find this article balanced and fair. But Archie, I dont find fair at all your blanket comment denigrating the “credibility” of (all) the women involved. Think again Archie.!

  5. Greta, there’s been so much written about this lately that is, frankly, shit. You’re by no means the most irritating, but I’m ready to burst. So you’re the lightning rod through which I’ll discharge my frustration.

    Before I vent, may I say that some of the points you raise show an incipient whiff of common sense. But parts of your argument are based on an unsustainable premise and demonstrate that you’ve been drinking too much of the ‘cordial. My points are as follows:

    1. In point 1, Greta, you seem to suggest that the right of defence against any assertion of ‘misconduct’ by an accused male is reprehensible – that any defence is automatically an effort to intimidate the accuser into silence. It suggests that the victim (always female) could never have misconstrued or over-reached or acted with malevolence. It’s true that, later in your article, you raise the issue of prejudicial guilt by media. That’s somewhat hypocritical. You did the same thing in your Point 1. You also assert that the men who do file for defamation ‘invariably get what they want’. Seriously? I’m sure Craig McLachlan was gagging for his career to be trashed. That’s happened already. And completely independently of his guilt or otherwise AND regardless of the outcome of his counter-action.

    2. Read again the glibness with which you demean half of the human race. ‘Some men in (and out) of the workplace are sexual abusers, assaulters and harassers. But plenty (plenty means a lot) are just stupid, over confident, have bad taste and an ugly sense of humour.’
    I’m sorry Greta, but here’s an unfortunate truth – just as many women are stupid, overconfident etc. Especially those fuelled with the self-righteousness afforded by #metoo. The unfortunate reality, Greta, is that men and women are just as capable of malevolence as one another. They just do it in slightly different ways. Think that’s not true? A few of supporting (but rarely reported) facts: partner violence (domestic violence) is initiated equally by male and female partners. The only difference is that men tend to do more damage and cause more deaths. Consider also that most violence against children is committed by women as is the most infanticide. In my particular experience as an employer over 30 years, ALL of the cases of bullying in my firm have been perpetrated by women (against both males AND females). I make these points only to demonstrate that men and women are pretty much equally good at being bad (Yay!Equality!). But that’s not what you’d think from reading your piece or anything else about gender politics in the last decade.

    3. The central tenet of the French letter (open, that is) is EXACTLY right. The call to constant outrage is infantilising women into thinking that they are powerless in everything unless supported by the ‘collective’. Most of the women I know groan and sigh about the direction this is taking. They (and I) want our daughters to grow up without the expectation that malevolence is the default position of the male gender. They want their daughters to have amazing relationships, fall in love, maybe get their emotional knees skinned and learn that people are complex, multi-dimensional beings that are both fascinating and (sometimes) infuriating. And to have the capacity to speak up if someone does the wrong thing. If someone (anyone) commits a crime, call the authorities. Just don’t cower in anticipation of #metoo coming to the rescue. BTW, I say that to my sons too (equality again!).

    4. Greta, you seem to have a foot in either camp about how and when issues of perceived abuse or inappropriate behaviour should be reported. Allow me to try to assist you to reach a determination; maybe we could try the grown up approach. If it’s minor, tell the perp that they’re making you uncomfortable. Give them a chance to back away gracefully (The legendary Chinese war strategist Sun Tsu recommended always giving your ‘enemy’ an honourable way to surrender. It a good thing to remember in workplace/gender relations. A quiet but firm word, delivered on a timely basis, leaves room for apology and reflection whereas a public humiliation invariably leads to counterattack). If it’s illegal, or in contravention of a workplace standard, report it. Then just watch how seriously it gets taken. Every employer is scared witless of an employee action for ignoring workplace misbehaviour. And they’re also shit scared of wrongful dismissal actions, so don’t be thinking you’re going to get marched out the door. Yes, someone might get upset and a career may be damaged. But act like a responsible adult and speak up. Now. Or don’t, and don’t complain later.

    5. #Metoo could never have been an ‘inspiring call to arms’. It was always going to be an unseemly mess as due process went out of the window. As such, it has few redeeming features. Weinstein could have been brought down by a single action from a committed accuser (who wasn’t prepared to be bought off). But you correctly point out that the rush to be righteous is, at very least, unseemly. Like you, Greta, I cringe with you to see how enthusiastically men are lashing themselves to the whipping post in order to be seen as being on the right side the new McCarthyism).

    In closing, Greta, Allow me to suggest you re-read your piece with the objective clarity it deserves. You could actually be a champion for maturity, strength, due process and common sense.

    Finally, I also agree with you that using a nom de plume is, in the current climate, prudent. Right now, the mere thought of a contrary view is VERBOTEN (word used intentionally and with some irony). So for the sake of my family and my livelihood, I’ll do the same.
    Love B.

    1. Well B, I agree with some of your points, have no independent evidence for others, and think some of your points are plain wrong.
      Contrary to your point 5, the #MeToo movement is “an inspiring call to arms” despite some thus inspired going too far with a presumption of guilt and the difficulty in cases were complainants are few of preventing trial by media. Weinstein faces a presumption of guilt, which will cause grief in bringing him to trial, but the presumption is well founded on the evidence of all too many complainants. I’m all for the #MeToo movement but not for everything done in it’s
      name.

      Your point 4 is bit patronising. Surely everyone understands that a one off verbal advance, however clumsy or ill informed, is not a wrong or a crime. There are many ways to respond to these. When the matter is pursued despite a refusal we are in another territory, where the stance of one person is not respected. That can be cause for complaint. Stroking a woman’s thigh at a public function, where comment would be disruptive of some goal of the function, is a wrong and should be complained about, regardless of whether it is after the event. The crucial point is that it is possible for men and women to deal with issues of sexual attraction politely and respectfully, if both are respected as equals. The #Me Too movement is necessary only because a male culture of treating women as game to be exploited has lasted too long.

      As to point 2, saying that calling SOME mean abusers, assaulters and harasseers, while “a lot” are ” just stupid, over confident, have bad taste and an ugly sense of humour ” is not to demean half the human race. It is, in my view, rightly to demean a lot of men. It is a pity many men can be thus demeaned but that is the legacy of a patriarchal culture that we should have left behind. It is, of course, correct that a few women can sexually abuse, assault and harass and that more than a few can act stupidly in courting others for sex. Still they are well and truly outnumbered by the corresponding men. This is not a fact of nature but a matter of cultural history. I like the #MeToo movement because it can help clear that legacy away.
      “Love” does not nor should come into my comments,
      H.

  6. I agree with what “Greta” says, but then I’m a man so I guess that’s natural. Nevertheless I’ll also say that Uma Thurman weighed in today against Weinstein, but at least acknowledged that having unwillingly “consented” to his requests for favours, he did provide the quid pro quo of offers of further good work for her.

  7. A very good summation. But, Robert not all men are like that. Yes we might feel it would be nice to touch someone, but not without some kind of approach/permission short of it. Of course there are plenty who just go ahead. One of my issues with #MeToo is that we have a lot of fuss(mostly justified) from some very privileged people, but the women most likely to suffer this are working for low wages and have no particular status that they can call on. A woman working for survival fr herself, or her kids is mighty vulnerable to the creeps and they sure don’t all live in Hollywood.

  8. It’s not complicated Greta. It’s about whether you want to see rape and harassment in the workplace continue. To take your points one at a time.

    You start by warning victims off; cynically, telling them they can never succeed in changing the sexual abuse culture the powerful men in Hollywood. I suspect there were quite a few PAs and lawyers paid to do that.

    How dare you say “neither the crime nor its emotional consequence” is the same for actresses as 13-year-old gymnasts”. Don’t you think child actors are also at risk. And the only people inappropriately merging “vastly different degrees of pain, suffering and criminal behaviour” are you and the backlash to Me Too. Each victim’s statement is personal and individual.

    Your next point repeats the same theme, however you must have been blind not to see that the only “histrionic escalation” is not by #Me Too but is by the misogynist backlash. One site, that claims to support all workers, had over 40 articles against Me Too.

    Have you ever risked your job to tell an obnoxious lewd boss to leave you alone? I thought not. Most men wouldn’t either. So telling women to just say no is ridiculous. The abusers know they are bullying their employees and they enjoy it.

    You read men’s declaration of solidarity with Me Too as “an identity-marker of innocence and political correctness”. You don’t give them credit for actually wanting to stand arm in arm with women against sexual bullying. You totally ignore the fact that men also were victims.

    You have a naive assumption that all young Hollywood actresses are privileged. Nor do you appear to understand that agents and managers can also be abusers. And to assume actors have other jobs to go to if they decide to refuse advances is incomprehensible in the light of those blacklisted.

    Without those Hollywood actresses speaking up, Me Too would still be in the position it’s been in for the last 10 years – getting nowhere; and the abusers would still be getting their jollies at job interviews.

    Thanks for revealing that Woody Allen only pays a tiny percentage of the usual rate to actresses. However, I note you didn’t mention Allen’s last pay cheque. http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/staggering-cost-of-woody-allens-tv-flop/news-story/cabf7028438faa6ca6e82de1fbc84c70

    You totally missed the point, Greta, that it’s the young women and men who got the job that often had to give over first. And what about the ones that were enticed with the offer of a job that they were never intended to get.

    Ridiculously, you say Me Too will result in no art, films, or books. But you fail to mention all the film scripts rejected by Hollywood executives who choose which films to make based on politics, money, and how much violence and gratuitous porn they can get away with. Have you read Salma Hayek’s experiences getting her film Frida made? https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/13/opinion/contributors/salma-hayek-harvey-weinstein.html Do so, before you diminish what happens to women artists in a male dominated industry. From its comments, a man who had heavy involvement in the non-artistic side of the entertainment industry, said, “I am angry. At what women and a very few men have had to endure at their intimate cores to earn what their legitimate talent should have earned for them on its own.”

    If you can’t tell the difference between flirtation and sexual harassment, then you have never had someone flirt with you. Look it up in the Oxford dictionary. The operative words are ‘light hearted’. Nor is there any “good way” to operate a job interview with your balls hanging out. The issue here is not what consenting adults do.

    And finally you talk about “bypassing legal principles” and due process. Give the police a chance. Of course you ignore the right to free speech for victims and witnesses.

    Tom Hanks says it all. “We need to listen to everyone who has been a victim, to give them a full-throated opportunity to speak as specifically as they feel comfortable doing and the people in power – the bosses – have to take note of what the new rules are and they have to follow them.”

    My conclusion is that while brown nosing your Hollywood bosses like this, might get you somewhere; every time you see a young actress or actor on screen, you will wonder what they had to do to get their part and another tiny bit of your soul will wither.

    1. Are you deliberately conflating when you distort the author’s message by generalising a claim that the author says “neither the crime nor its emotional consequence” is the same for actresses as 13-year-old gymnasts”.”

      The author is clearly talking about particular actions in particular contexts. The full undistorted quote, as you well know, is “A nasty or foolish man sticking his hand up the dress of his female colleague is not something that should be tolerated. But neither the crime nor its emotional consequence is the same as 13-year-old gymnasts being sexually assaulted by their doctor”.

      I won’t bother deconstructing the rest of your distortions but seriously, try arguing in good faith, instead of resting on rhetorical distortion.

      1. Greta was putting apples and oranges together, a deliberate fallacious argument. In fact a number of the Me Too victims were also underage at the time. It’s of particular concern at Disney studios where although there are procedures in place, young performers do not trust those implementing them. http://variety.com/2017/biz/news/jon-heely-disney-music-group-child-sex-abuse-1202634502/

        Even senior female employees are at risk of sexual bullying at Disney. http://variety.com/2017/tv/news/jocelyn-mcdowell-disney-channel-jimmy-blackburn-sexual-harassment-1202514421/

    2. How dare she say it? How could she not? If you think the emotional trauma of an adult actress being groped is the same as a 13-year-old gymnast being sexually abused over and over again, your inability to reason is part of the problem.

  9. Something is seriously playing up on someone’s computer; I’ll try again.
    Excellent commentary – at last some one other than Helen Raizer, puts it all into perspective. I guess what irks me about the #MeeToo business is the, almost pathetic, cry of the individual victim. It seems to me indicative of the i-Generation (I want to therefore I will) who aren’t really uniting (with other victims and non-victims alike) against this cultural pustule. I would be more inclined to spread my empathy if it were #UsToo . What’s of more concern to me is just how deep and how potentially large this pustule really is.

    1. The phrase Me Too was first coined by social activist Tarana Burke to help survivors realize they are not alone. That is the first step in helping them heal emotionally.

  10. For some reason not all my comment made it to this site. The penultimate sentence should have read …”I would be more inclined to spread my empathy if it were . Don’t know what happened.

  11. Excellent commentary – at last some one other than Helen Raizer, puts it all into perspective. I guess what irks me about the #MeeToo business is the, almost pathetic, cry of the individual victim. It seems to me indicative of the i-Generation (I want to therefore I will) who aren’t really uniting (with other victims and non-victims alike) against this cultural pustule. I would be more inclined to spread my empathy if it were . What’s of more concern to me is just how deep and how potentially large this pustule really is.

    1. What about the incredibly selfish, egotistical, my-jollies-0r-your-job perpetrators?

      The point of Me Too is not only to inform the public of the extent of the problem but also to break the silence of victims who thought they were alone. It is a first step to emotional healing.

  12. #trending

    they dined on severed heads again today
    the soft, mashed up into palatable pap
    easily digested, teeth not required
    skulls scooped clean, discarded
    along with the hard cores

  13. Yes as Fed rep in a school situation I would ask the complainant if they had addressed the issue with the offender. For some reason some people like to escalate their complaint. For instance I forgot to lock the door of a toilet that had suddenly become unisex so a complaint was made to the principal, when it could much more efficiently been addressed directly. Surely every misdemeanour could be addressed and dealt with directly. If that fails why not address it in writing. If that fails then escalate it. Incidentally we never had a me-too type complaint in the 20 years I taught, event tho half the teachers were women. Maybe we could ask why not. Maybe teachers have more brains.

    1. Of course most colleagues would laughingly remind you to close the door to the toilet – if you were an approachable type.

      However, you forgot to mention sexual harassment of the largest group in schools – students. You also forgot that most sexual harassment is also bullying. I find it very hard to believe that any teacher would tell a student to take it up with a sexual bully. That is not one of the suggestions students made when surveyed in the Crossing the Line report below. Asking a bully to desist can be fraught with difficulty. It’s bound to end in tears if not injury.

      This 2013 report on sexual harassment in American schools could equally apply to Australian schools. https://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/Crossing-the-Line-Sexual-Harassment-at-School.pdf

      There can also be sexual abuse and harassment by teachers both of colleagues and students. I have a teacher friend who said she never had any problems with her high school students; it was some of her colleagues that didn’t know the rules -including bullying staff, often with a sexual element. A principal or deputy can make a teacher’s life hell.

      Interestingly, Australia was the first country to enact legislation against sexual abuse in schools, at least for the students. See link. (Note: many country schools in early Australia had only one teacher.) https://prosecutionproject.griffith.edu.au/sexual-abuse-in-schools-an-australian-history-of-criminalisation/

  14. Great comment piece, articulates all the disquiet I, as a committed old feminist, have been feeling ever since this movement really took off. Thank you, whoever you are.

  15. Yes, let’s take every allegation as an individual situation and take it on its merits. I hope also the #metoo movement can start a long-term change in attitudes and behaviours and reduce or prevent future situations arising.

    1. Oh I don’t agree. The mob thinking of the boys club in Hollywood and many other industries has given them free sex, the right to bully anyone they please and get away with it for years.

  16. Well you are right in saying all the drama in the media can ruin careers , but the fact about it all is men will always want to touch women it’s human nature ,we will never stop it , it’s the degree and methods that are the problem, it’s a very complex situation , I don’t think it will ever be solved ,simply because of the urges within the humans psyche , women have what men want and all men go about in their own way ,some nicely ,some in an ugly way , so the best way women should resist it is to PROTEST LOUDLY at the time of the actions they dislike ,so people in the area see and hear what’s going on and that can embarrass the man commiting the act which I hope would work , otherwise I have no solution!

    1. How about teaching the perpetrators about manners and honour.

      It’s not manly to abuse women, and most men don’t do it in the workplace.

  17. I’m so sad that you had to use a pseudonym for this. But that’s the times we live in.

    I agree with pretty much everything you’ve written here. I’ve not said a lot about this. I’ve fought with my daughter over it – she sits in the moderate middle of the #metoo spectrum.

    Mostly, I try to see it as a collective vomitous purge. Women collectively are sick of being treated like shit – sexually and otherwise – and the resentment of years is heaving to the surface at last.
    Betty*
    *not my real name either

  18. Very good article. I agree entirely. In “real life” I can understand someone being sexually harassed and being shamed and terrified at the risk of exposure, perhaps being genuinely threatened by any exposure, but in the terms of a high profile person, even if at the time they were intimidated it seems they have plenty of opportunity to come forward sooner, unless the worry of an impending role, or loss of salary, is more important. Harbouring these claims for a number of years and then coming forward seems so wrong to me, as a number of other ‘victims’ may not have become so had they come forward earlier. Do they carry this on their conscience? I think not.
    Media, Social and otherwise are guilty too of propagating the claims and destroying careers before the so called guilty party has even a chance to prove their innocence.

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Newsletter Signup