I was hoping that this would just blow over before I had a chance to write about it because it’s annoying in more than one way. With my hectic schedule and the pace of our news cycle in the blessed Trump era, I miss out on story after story that actually interests me. But of course, the one issue I’ve been avoiding like the plague refuses to go away.
Let’s get a few things out of the way:
It can be argued that almost any movement has its redeeming qualities and serves a purpose at least to an end. But #MeToo is deeply flawed and doesn’t represent me as someone that’s been sexually assaulted.
I don’t support Candace Owens, and never have. I muted her on Twitter last summer shortly after she rose to fame because although I enjoyed her original viral video following the Charlottesville riots, the rhetoric she adopted as she started to book Fox News slots made it clear to me that she lacked substance.
A broken clock is still right twice a day.
The entire premise of #metoo is that women are stupid, weak & inconsequential.
Too stupid to know what men might want if you come to their hotel room late at night.
Too weak to turn around and tell someone not to touch your ass again.
Too inconsequential to realize this.
— Candace Owens (@RealCandaceO) June 11, 2018
My most serious grievances with #MeToo are its lack of due process, the complete dilution of rape and sexual assault, and its erasure of male victims and female perpetrators. I’m speaking in broad strokes, because there are exceptions to every rule but these are the overwhelming patterns I’ve noticed.
And as much as it pains me to say it, Candace had a point. Please hear me out.
Do you remember the Babe article about Aziz Ansari? A wide-eyed 22 year old nobody photographer met him at an Emmys after party and understandably was star struck. She went on a date with him and went back to his apartment. She ignored every neon, blinking, Times Square billboard sized sign of what he wanted from her and remained in a situation that she didn’t want to be in and then acted as though she was somehow a victim.
I go on my fair share of dates, and I can tell you firsthand that it doesn’t take a masters in physics to figure out when two people have drastically different end goals for a date. Time and time again he made it clear as day that he has no intentions of getting to know her, yet she stayed in his apartment under the premise that the same man that spent the night shoving his fingers down her throat and asking her “where she wanted him to fuck her” was suddenly going to take an interest in her childhood and spend the rest of the night playing with her hair. People made excuse after excuse for a grown woman who remained in someone’s home long after it became obvious that she was little if anything more than a sexual conquest to him.
If you want to have a conversation about objectification, fine, but objectification and sexual assault are two very different issues and discussions that I think should remain mostly separate.
#MeToo has shed light on a serious problem and highlighted stories of serious, disgusting behavior. But because #MeToo casts such a wide, indiscriminate net it lumps the girl that stayed at Aziz Ansari’s apartment because she wanted to date a movie star in with actual rape and assault victims. It’s the kind of outrage first, facts later mob that gave us Mattress Girl, Duke Lacrosse and UVA. It’s irresponsible, it’s unfair, and ultimately has debased the conversation around sexual assault.
Candace Owens — like most talking heads — is constantly chasing shock value by saying the most outrageous things that come to mind. Sometimes I think Fox News guests are literally given MadLib scripts to stick to based off of comments sections and viral memes. And I don’t necessarily feel bad about the backlash she’s received, but I don’t think she ever called sexual assault victims weak or stupid. She said that the #MeToo movement made them look that way…and she’s not wrong.
#MeToo’s big tent has given a platform to everyone with the slightest complaint of sexual foul play — no matter how trivial. And as someone that actually has been sexually assaulted, it’s insulting. This year, I made plans for what I thought was a date. I got to the address and realized it was a house instead of a bar, and didn’t think much of it. Maybe he wanted to pregame? But after being inside for a few minutes it became clear that we had to very different ideas about what was happening that night so I called myself an Uber, went home and slept like a baby, because I’m an adult with a brain that can make decisions for myself. By legitimizing women like Aziz Ansari’s accusers, #MeToo DOES dampen this dialogue and make it harder to take victims seriously. As someone that was sexually assaulted, I think one of the cruelest things you could do is lump in every ass grabbing and regretful hookup with what happened to me and millions of others like me.