- Date published:
11:35 am, December 11th, 2017 - 69 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, culture, feminism, gender, International, Media, patriarchy, Politics, Social issues, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: #MeToo, containment, liberalism
Rebecca Solnit has a piece in the Guardian on how #MeToo is being hi-jacked for political ends by “people who don’t understand it and by people who oppose it. [and] against people who are feminists and allies”.
Was this not predictable?
Wasn’t the fact that liberal media outlets were pushing a crusade against individuals – plastering pages with moral outrage beside lists of the latest, greatest person to fuck up or be fucked up giving anyone pause for thought?
The tree was shaken. Bad apples fell out. Then some other apples fell out. And truth be told, keep shaking that tree, and pretty damned soon there’ll be no apples left.
In response, Rebecca Solnit suggests that people who’ve been thinking about gender politics and women’s rights should be in charge of this moment – suggesting that if only “the right people” are afforded some form of elevation, then we can happily proceed with the task of identifying the bad apples and separating them out from the good. Her piece ends with the following passage –
Moving forward, we need to figure out who decides not just these individual cases but how we move past this era of impunity—and who “we” is going to be, because justice for women sure doesn’t include Project Veritas and Mike Cernovich.
So maybe the idea is to apply “approved hierarchies of wrongness” to sexual behaviour. Above the line, and you’re gone. Below the line, and you’re okay. But the line drawn between sexual behaviour and sexual abuse will not be at the same height or level of the line applied to other behaviours and abuses – if a line for other abuses is even drawn at all. Kate Jessica Raphael touches on that last point (more below). But before getting there, allowing or encouraging some agreed authoritative (suspect : “authoritarian”) “inquisition on sexual behaviour” (if such a thing was even possible) is just going to go barreling down the same track and on the same bandwagon as every other moral crusade. We know how that ends. When large numbers of people get swept up in a fervour, it never ends well. One not inconsequential reason it never ends well is, that so focused is that bandwagon on barreling people over; so intent is it on its purpose, that it barrels right on past some screamingly obvious stuff sitting just off to the side.
Kate Jessica Raphael wrote – (facebook)
We have elevated sexual harassment to the level of the worst thing you can do and it isn’t. It is bad but all these things [previously listed in her post] are bad. So we say, “Oh, we must respect women, therefore Al Franken cannot be in Congress” but someone who voted to take welfare away from millions of women can be. Someone who voted to kill a million Iraqis can be. Someone who voted to prevent women from accessing health care can be. Orrin Hatch has a law named after him that prevents women from getting abortions, and he is fourth in line to the presidency and no one is demanding he resign. This campaign worked because it’s “sex” and sex gets people to pay attention.
She’s not wrong. But she’s still missing or avoiding the crucial element, which was pointed out by NZ Femme – (the standard)
the whole tree is infected from the roots up, and needs to be pulled up, surrounding soil dug out, and a new orchard planted
And that’s our problem right there. Very few people are up for that. Most people would far rather delude themselves that there’s no need to be ripping out the political, economic and social structures and systems that generate the attitudes and behaviours people are being condemned for. Most people want to satisfy themselves with the story of a few bad apples. Certainly, our liberal institutions want things to go no further than a few bad apples, and anyway… that’s all it is, or ever can be given the intrinsic goodness of our liberal institutions, right?
So the crusade will carry on until the crusade is ended. And it will be ended if and when it ever morphs into a serious challenge to existing institutional arrangements. At that point it drops off media pages and becomes vilified by them as a project of excess if need be. That’s how this shit goes. Nothing of substance or note is ever meant to change. And nothing of substance or note will change.