Introduction: Are you familiar with the “me too” movement? If you live in Sweden I know you are. Outside the Nordics, you may have been spared. As with many popular phenomena, it’s both silly and annoying at the same time, while also holding a kernel of truth as well as an opportunity to reflect and learn. The most important lessons here I think are to:
1) Notice your own reactions: are you just running with the herd, getting caught up in group psychology and attacking straw men, or are you actually thinking?
2) Take the chance to consider the difference between, on the one hand, groups taking sides, groups yelling at each other, individuals in groups being accused of what other individuals in the same perceived group have said or done; and on the other hand, relevant individuals calmly and logically discussing their personal experiences in the matter at hand and what to do about it instead of pitting groups against groups.
Summary: Individuals on both sides of the “me too” campaign have made mistakes, but worst of all is that actual rape victims are compared with female colleagues overhearing a bad joke that was thought to be told in private
Length: very short, 1-2 minutes
A few short thoughts on the me-too campaign that has its epicenter in Sweden this fall (October-November 2017):
Let me start by saying that the campaign isn’t all bad.
If anything, that’s what I want you to take with you from this article. No matter what you thought before, at least consider the possibility that there are some facets of the phenomenon worth considering.
Second, try to recognize that there are bad seeds in both camps. Yes, some men have it wrong. As do some women. Not all men are despicable swine, and not all women are lying b***… *ehum* persons.
Again, some are truly evil, others are unfathomably narrow minded. But most are just trying to lead lives where they and their loved ones, men and female, can feel good about themselves. They are not actively trying to ruin other people’s lives, they might even actively be trying not too, but are ignorant or misunderstood — often because we are so quick to want to misunderstand and build straw men just to get to set them on fire.
Some make occasional mistakes despite trying their best. Some are just lazy and/or stuck in their ways. Many are frustrated that the other side just doesn’t seem to understand their perspective.
I’ve definitely made mistakes, some more publicly than others (I’m sorry, Emma), some despite thinking things through, sometimes actually thinking that I was a bit clever. I am what many would call a librarian, travelling the world, hunting for lost treasures, messing with magical artifacts of immense value. Wait, no, that doesn’t feel right… No, I’m a libertarian — i.e., above all I treasure individual rights and freedom. As a libertarian I hold all people as equals: men, women, elderly, children, no matter when or where or how you were conceived.
However, despite being acutely aware of all living persons’ equal worth, misdirected humor, ignorance and crowd psychology (locker talk) makes me as guilty as the next person when it comes to “soft” me-too transgressions. In other words, I ‘ve said things that have hurt women. Well I’ve hurt a lot of other people too, but right now it’s about women.
The good thing with the me-too hysteria is that every man, from the comedian, via cat callers to misogynists and rapists get to think through their actions an extra round. Maybe just one employer will be pushed slightly toward gender neutral hiring procedures, maybe one music producer will reconsider the old ways of casting female lead roles, maybe many women dare step up and take what’s theirs if they are more confident men will be a little more conscious about how they react to that.
We don’t have to dwell on everything that’s bad with the me-too movement since that could fill books… Men are being sentenced without evidence. Disproportionate power is given to liars who just regretted their decisions when waking up. There will be less flirting, less social fluidity. Women that want to fit in with the herd try extra hard to find or fabricate me-too situations.
Most important though, is that the me-too movement tends to label every man a rapist, even if he just happened to recite a bad joke that was overheard by a female employee. With every man a “rapist” some may be pushed over the actual line, most however will cower in asexuality and a robot-like attitude toward women.
Worst of all is that actual rape victims will be banalized and marginalized, simply put on par with plastically enhanced women who got cat called or ogled.
OK, these are my three take-aways regarding the me-too movement:
- There are good things, with the me-too campaign, albeit few and far between,
- Both sides have bad seeds and have done dirty deeds. Not all men are guilty and not all women are innocent
- Think about the actual rape-victims; they need healing, not being compared to the butt end of private jokes