I’ve mentioned the hypocrisy and hysteria of the #metoo movement before in great detail, how it hurts women as well as any real perpetrators. How it infatilizes women into little children, naive and helpless victims against the whims of men in power, instead of strong empowered women who can spot when a line is crossed and act accordingly. However, the hysteria the #metoo movement and ones like it have even further reaching consequences.
Scandals involving crossed lines and improper conduct in academia and the workplace have been around far before the #metoo movement got started, bosses have been propositioning their secretaries, teachers seducing students, coaches “coaching” on more than just sports, priests doing ungodly things etc… It would be wrong to state that every instance of improper conduct was indeed false, and one should not worry about it ever happening. However, due to overzealous efforts to prevent such conduct and an atmosphere of witch hunts and no due process, the pendulum has swung the other way. Among the consequences including infantilizing women into helpless little victims and demonizing men, comes what happens when good men with good intentions over correct for any perceived improprieties.
In today’s climate, many male bosses, teachers, mentors, coaches, etc… feel like they must walk nearly on eggshells to make sure they don’t say the wrong thing, or send off implicit “signals” that their interest in a woman is inappropriate. Almost anything a man could say to a woman could be construed as a “come on”, even body language, unconscious facial expressions, even leaving a door closed during a private conversation in an office could lead to gossip by others! In today’s climate, nothing is ever purely “innocent” or innocuous. Everything could be a “sign” or red flag of impropriety! Any man who might fall victim himself to a false allegation will most likely lose his job and good standing. Even if he is proven innocent, the allegations have done their damage, as many parents of girls and female employees naturally think, “better safe than sorry”. One baseless allegation can decimate a man’s career and reputation irreparably. This atmosphere of hysteria, to many liberal feminists, ensures that women would not get unwanted advances by men in power, but ironically, only serves to create a bigger divide between men and women in public life.
Imagine a one on one business meeting with a female client, or a private conversation between a male boss and female employee being construed as something else by other coworkers, or even the woman wondering why its only her and a man in the room. Would an innocent man feel totally comfortable interacting one on one with a woman in an environment primed to implicate him in some sexual misconduct scandal that he can only be seen as guilty in the eyes of society? What about a male teacher talking one on one with a female student, or coach telling a female athlete how to do a certain move in gymnastics or in a game, or a male adviser working closely with a woman on something like a research project or her senior thesis?
All of these scenarios could be liable for some misinterpretation by paranoid parents, colleagues, even the women being mentored or taught or collaborated with. Considering the immense risk men face in working with these women and a paranoid society all too willing to condemn them, I wouldn’t be too shocked if more and more men see women as a liability rather than a collaborative coworker or star pupil, or someone they can take under their wing and mentor. Employers may not want to hire more women in fear of possible “issues” and lawsuits related to nonexistent misconduct in the workplace, or schools may not want to hire as many male teachers or mentors for young women in paranoia about misconduct. While misconduct does happen in rare instances, an atmosphere of paranoia where men must walk on eggshells and have a witness present at all times when interacting with women professionally only serves to foster mistrust and demonization of men by women and society, and an environment where women are pushed away by men in public life, widening the “gender gap” the liberal feminists say they want to close. If women are now liabilities and scandals waiting to happen, what reasonable man would want to come anywhere near one?
These possibilities are not theoretical either. They have happened to me personally as a woman, to other women I’ve heard about, and in the wider news. One such story was in high school, my male psychology teacher told the class a girl accused him of misconduct because he said she was “the best student ever”. The context was that she took charge of an important project for the National Honor Society, and did very well, and he sent her a thank you note congratulating her for a job well done. Within that context, was anything improper implied? Was he trying to proposition her? Obviously not, however, even the act of writing any note from a male teacher to a female student is taken as crossing a line in the eyes of the #metoo society.
Personally, I’ve had two big stories happen to me. First one was back in my high school days when I’d talk to the school psychologist, an older man who had earned three masters degrees and a PhD and was by far the most qualified and intelligent person in the school. We’d talk all about psychology topics as I was deeply interested in his field with no issue. However, once he had left, I emailed him like we would talk, but only got very curt answers. It didn’t take long to realize he was afraid of being construed by people as being “too close” to me. There was never even a remote hint of improper suggestions in our discourse in his office or via e-mail, but the fear was still the same. The second was back in college where I’d talk to a professor about history. Again, not one hint of any improper topics or any “come ons” by either party, but one day he told me not to show him what I created using his ideas from his class as they quote “crossed the line”. Now, some topics we discussed would have been suggestive with no context, but they were strictly in a historical context in what we discussed in class.
It’s clear in all those scenarios wider society cannot seem to differentiate an inappropriate come on from talking in a strictly scholarly way about a topic. Even the innocent sending of a thank you note for a job well done by a teacher to an exceptional student is construed as an improper advance, never mind discussing pederasty in Ancient Greece, in my case! With such a stifling atmosphere, it’s a miracle a male teacher could teach female students anything without it being construed as an inherent come on. With male teachers walking on eggshells all the time, any intellectual atmosphere and growth for women in academia is stifled, which is bad news for any woman seeking to collaborate on research projects, write their thesis or dissertation, or have intellectual conversations with male professors. Even my own father, who has worked with young people for over 30 years is afraid to create lasting bonds with students over the fear of decimating allegations. I commend his will to mentor these young people even in the face of the witch hunts…
Indeed, the issue has even poisoned the family unit! Mothers are taught to make their daughters doubt the intentions of their male relatives, even their own fathers! Children can no longer hug say, Grandma or Uncle Joe in fear that it will teach them to submit to inappropriate conduct by adults or submit to sex by powerful men in their future, according to the Girl Scouts!
What was strictly business in the workplace is now more than just “business”. A male teacher could only teach the “wrong” things. An innocuous doctor’s appointment is now a liability waiting to happen. A male role model is now a predator. Your own family members, even your own father is not to be trusted! This Salem Witch Trials atmosphere around men and women only serves to widen the gap between men and women being able to work side by side in society. The only “safe” option is to be completely segregated by gender in all areas of life! Because of the liberal feminist hypocrisy in trying to remedy the issue, it has only spawned a host of new issues! Just because some rotten apples exist, must we throw out the whole barrel??? When will we be able to have scholarly discourse with out teachers again? When will we be able to collaborate with our male coworkers and bosses? When will we be able to accept the wisdom and guidance a mentor can give us, including a male one? When will this insanity end?… I say #NotMe!