‘What happened to women’s agency?’
Your Squire is a guilty white male. I blame my parents.
And there you have it! The liberal-progressive-socialist Trifecta! Identity politics + victimhood + blame-shifting. I broke bad but it ain’t my fault. It’s Da System! Your Squire is not an agent of his own life. He is a victim of a white, patriarchal socio-economic construct. (And violent, 1950s TV kiddie cartoons.)
The evil partisan side of the Squire delights as the #MeToo conflagration brings down another liberal politician or media star after a spate of conservatives. But his better angel (back from disciplinary leave) whispers that there is a scent of McCarthyism to the movement, an indiscriminate mania. No one said politics was fair but maybe Al Franken got jobbed for some bad jokes.
The white lab coats here at the Policy Werkes have detected a new meme on social media: Franken photoshopped with hands placed on boob-endowed Facebook friends, acquaintances, and luminaries. Politically incorrect? Sure. Funny? We only report, you decide.
Have you now or have you ever …?
Might there be a difference in degree between the crimes of Harvey Weinstein and the indiscretion (if that) of Garrison Keillor? Yet both careers have ended, both reputations destroyed, at least, for the moment.
There was a point at which the French Revolution promised liberté, égalité, fraternité before it became the Great Terror. A point at which a needed corrective became a witch hunt, voracious for victims regardless their degree, or lack, of guilt.
So now Meryl Streep, whose craft I admire, has weaponized the #MeToo movement for partisan gain. Rather than explain why she never spoke out against Harvey Weinstein’s depredations despite reaping awards and millions by starring in his movies — She Must Have Known! — the First Lady of institutional, liberal Hollywood is casting stones at the Trump women. (Reported here.)
“I want to hear about the silence of Melania Trump. I want to hear from her. She has so much that’s valuable to say,” Streep said. “And so does Ivanka. I want her to speak now.”
A welcome corrective comes from one Daphne Merkin, writing in the New York Times. “What happened to women’s agency?” she asks.
‘Frail as Victorian housewives’
Described as a “critic and novelist,” Ms. Merkin writes that the women she knows, when men have “come on” to them … have routinely said, “I’m not interested” or “Get your hands off me right now.” Or sometimes, it is reciprocated. (Or so we’ve heard.)
I hear these same feminist friends say. “What ever happened to flirting?” and “What about the women who are the predators?” Some women … have gone so far as to call it an outright witch hunt. … more troubling is that we seem to be returning to a victimology paradigm for young women … perceived to be … as frail as Victorian housewives.
If you are starting off with pinching butts, you are not flirting. Surely, in the pantheon of victims, there exists more than seven degrees of separation between Paula Jones, a little-educated, low-level state employee summoned by state troopers to Governor Clinton’s quarters, and Anita Hill, a Yale-educated attorney specializing in equal rights litigation and of near-equal status to Clarence Thomas. Both in degree of offense and ability to defend. Mrs. Merkin again:
The fact that such unwelcome advances persist, and often in the office, is, yes, evidence of sexism and the abusive power of the patriarchy. But I don’t believe that scattershot, life-destroying denunciations are the way to upend it. In our current climate, to be accused is to be convicted. Due process is nowhere to be found.