The #MeToo flood of stories of women who feel abused by men – ranging from lurid stares to straightforward rape – seems like a disaster to me for the Democrats. Not because of the stories themselves, but because of how the progressive media and commentators have reacted to it. It has turned into open man-bashing which will cost the Democrats both votes and funding, whilst buying precious few female votes.
Let’s talk about the man-bashing first.
How did the Huffington Post, that bastion of progressivity, report the issue? It ran with a story by an editor that said
“Women can turn the whole internet into a list of “Me toos,” but it won’t make a difference until men ― all men ― acknowledge how they perpetuate misogyny and commit to making a change.”
This is textbook sexism: ‘all men … perpetuate misogyny’? I should be fired within ten minutes if I asserted that ‘all women’ were guilty of something that bad, but instead of this editor being instantly fired and then derided by senior Democrats, this openly sexist man-bashing has gone unpunished. It’s not too late, you know, this editor could still be fired tomorrow or next week. But it’s not going to happen and that is poisonous for the Democrats. This is their issue and their newspaper, and an editor of it openly advocates male-hatred of the kind that is illegal in many countries. The fact that half of white women voted for Trump despite him being the groper-in-chief tells you not many women change their vote on this issue, but white men have deserted the Democrats in drove and this open hatred of them will keep them away.
Am I over-reacting, picking on an isolated case of zealotry? Nope, the Huffington Post piece was a common reaction amongst the progressive commentariat. Leah Fessle in Quartz thus got away with saying that “our culture raises all men with toxic ideals about masculinity.”
Again, textbook sexism. If she were a man saying similar things about ‘all women’ in the same newspaper, instant unemployment and public humiliation would have been his fate. Again, it’s not too late to fire her next week, but it won’t happen.
The alt-right is having field day with the reactions in the progressive media to the #MeToo revelations. The Us National Review makes the simple head-line ‘metoo train wreck calls all women victims all men toxic abusers’. They have a point, but I think the problem is not the stories of the #MeToo women, which are varied and thus can be read in many different ways. The problem is the open anti-male hatred that supposedly progressive media have subsequently engaged in. Here is an example of the more elaborate points made on an alt-right site:
“The following Guardian listicle, titled “Men, you want to treat women better? Here’s a list to start with,” is a good example of the aforementioned problem.
- Don’t expect women to be “nice” or “cute” and don’t get upset when they aren’t those things.
- Do you feel that any woman on earth owes you something? She doesn’t. Even if you’re like, “Hm, but what about basic respect?” ask yourself if you’ve shown her the same.
- Involve women in your creative projects, then let them have equal part in them.
That’s right, ladies! Don’t ever bother being pleasant, respectful, or even displaying that you care about basic personal hygiene to your colleagues and the people you meet throughout the day, but everyone, especially men, should nearly wet themselves in enthusiasm upon meeting you, and include you in all their business-related projects and discussion panels. And in case you poor gullible men were expecting a simple show of gratitude or at least a smile in return — sorry to ruin your hopes, but the author includes the following demand:
- If you do the right thing, don’t expect praise or payment or a pat on the back or even a “thank you” from that woman. Congratulations, you were baseline decent.
In the great progressive West, the job of men is to be the unappreciated servants of frigid and entitled women brainwashed by the Amy Schumer school of How To Be A Fat Empowered Slut. ”
You see my point? What is amazing is not this alt-right response, which of course is over-the-top itself, but more that newspapers like the Huffington Post, the Quarts, and the Guardian (which I am a subscriber of) indeed publishes male-bashing stuff. Just think about how misogynistic and sexist the phrase ‘Do you feel that any woman on earth owes you something? She doesn’t. Even if you’re like, “Hm, but what about basic respect?” ask yourself if you’ve shown her the same.’ truly is. The author should, of course, be fired tomorrow, but she won’t be.
The open anti-male hatred currently tolerated in supposedly progressive newspapers does a lot of damage to the progressive brand. This open sexism is not just against the ideals of the progressive movement, it is also electorally short sighted. Men don’t like being openly abused and most women don’t truly hate men either, so you lose with both genders.
The progressive Dutch newspaper that I read (‘de Volkskrant’) thus looked on in bemusement at the American reactions to the #MeToo moment, with a commentator calling it ‘humourless one-dimensional puritanism’.
One even reads harsher assessments of the sentiments involved, such as by a self-styled philosopher on twitter saying “The #metoo campaign is just the dialectical guilt response of 150 million neurotic women for having read #Fiftyshadesofgrey. With pleasure.”
The open male-bashing is a huge loss for the Democrats and the alt-right is having a field day on that score.
But there is also a funding loss looming, I think. Weinstein was a rich lefty who gave the Democrats a million. Did he get any support from top Democrats in his hour of need? Nope, they let him drop like a stone. No testimonials about how he was such a good guy previously and that he would now surely see the error of his ways. No statements about the things he funded and the convictions he showed on other important issues. At least, none that I saw.
Of course, you might say he got it coming. Me, I will wait for courts to decide the issue because I do not trust trial-by-media on this topic.
But from a Democrat funding perspective, it’s a train wreck. What do you think other male millionaires, who outnumber the female variety by a huge multiple, are going to think? Do you think they will like the Democrats more, feeling looked after and amongst loyal friends who believe in innocent-till-proven-guilty? Or do you think they will feel that they are suspect for being powerful males, rapists until proven otherwise?
What should senior Democrats have done then? Show sympathy to the women of #MeToo, of course. Formulate where they want communication in possible sexual encounters to move towards. And leadership by speaking up for men in general, openly and massively decrying anti male-sexism in progressive newspapers.
What is the positive message? I think they should have seized the opportunity to talk about the need for men and women to be clear about when they want sex and when they don’t. “No is no, yes is yes, and don’t mess with maybe” should be the mantra. That would lure the Republicans into the mistake of saying “Just say ‘no’” (which is of course what the evangelicals have said): the Democrats should win on the issue of sex.
It’s not too late, they can still unite and show leadership, but don’t hold your breath.
The mishandling of the #MeToo moment by the progressive forces thus shows both a lack of leadership amongst the Democrats and a lack of ideas in that movement. There is a total failure to recognise that their narrative should be inclusive and emotionally warm, not exclusive and puritanical. They are going down a road with few votes and fewer sponsors. Trump’s re-election has just gotten a big boost.