A piece in yesterday’s Times:
The French actress Catherine Deneuve provoked an apoplectic reaction this week when she criticised the #MeToo movement. In a letter for Le Monde newspaper, she and dozens of other women argued that the latest form of feminism “takes on a hatred of men and of sexuality”, and has become too puritanical in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Critics were quick to dismiss Deneuve, the Twitter mob crying that she was elite and out of touch. Clearly it’s unthinkable that one of the world’s most beautiful women might know a thing or two about predatory men.
What Deneuve and other women who question the legitimacy of #MeToo have discovered is that feminism has become more of a cult than a social movement. Increasingly it demands that women think and read in the same way, and worship the same idols as #MeToo, the Lenny Letter (the online feminist newsletter) and the ridiculous Women’s Equality Party. [J4MB emphasis] Actresses have even been asked to congregate in uniform, as they were at the Golden Globes, to show their allegiance to the cause. We non-believers are often made to feel we’re in denial, or waiting to be saved.
Perhaps the worst element of the #MeToo movement is its McCarthyite edge. What was originally a campaign to condemn bad men has morphed into suspicion against an entire gender. The methods of interrogation to “out” perverts are similar to the lists compiled during the 1950s witch-hunt of supposed communists, only in more 21st-century form. “Pestminster” rumours about politicians started on a spreadsheet; Weinstein had his own Google doc compiled against him; and women were invited to contribute stories about their colleagues to a “Shitty Media Men” spreadsheet in the US.
Anyone with an understanding of the law will realise the methodological flaws in inviting accusers to give evidence together, which can lead to corroboration and false memories and is not accepted in police interviews.
But the main issue is the unfairness of this system, as it often means that men that cannot defend themselves against allegations — and may, in some cases, not even be able to see what those allegations are. Of course, none of this matters in the new age of feminism, where pointing the finger is enough to damn another.
Einstein once said of the McCarthy era: “The current investigations are an incomparably greater danger to our society than those few communists in our country ever could be. These investigations have already undermined to a considerable extent the democratic character of our society.” Replace communist with pervert and you have #MeToo.
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