The one positive thing about the Harvey Weinstein tragic farce is that it has empowered women to speak up. Like anyone else with functional moral values, I am humbled and angered by the flood of #MeToo posts on my Facebook feed, that starkly demonstrated just how pervasive is this sickness in our society and civilization. This isn’t a problem for women to solve – it requires men to also step up. “Well, I haven’t ever sexually abused anyone” is a statement of apathy, not action. Shabana Mir’s father and Brad Pitt demonstrate the power and responsibility that men have in ensuring that predators have no safe spaces of ignorance and oblivious in which to prey. Hopefully, #MeToo has empowered women to communicate without fear of judgement with men, so that jointly, we can do what needs to be done.
The #MeToo campaign has credibility, which is why it works. One event is an anecdote, but multiple events are data. The pattern of that data, that can only exist because of the solidarity of #MeToo, is outing other serial abusers like director James Tobak. There will be more. As Laurie Penny writes at LongReads:
Something important has changed. Suddenly women are speaking up and speaking out in numbers too big to shove aside. The public narrative around abuse and sexual entitlement and the common consensus around who is to be believed are changing so fast you can see the seams between one paradigm and the next, the hasty stitching where one version of reality becomes another.
The reason it is changing is because of that collective, undeniable credibility.
That credibility creates an incentive for parasitic political activists to promote their own agendas rather than be part of the solution. The right sees Weinstein as a vehicle to bash Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And we even have a clumsy attempt to link Weinstein-type behavior to Islam. All this is typical, and evidence that #MeToo has had substantive impact. Let’s hope that the real momentum continues.