Allow me to conflate two issues that, at first blush, don’t appear at all related.
First, as a man, I know my voice in the MeToo movement that’s currently taking place is not the most vital. That said, I am happy to express my admiration for the many women (and the smaller number of men) who’ve stepped forward and outed their abusers. In the process, they’ve brought the topic of sexual abuse and harassment into the national, and international, forefront.
Early on, it was called the #MeToo moment. And, in the instant gratification world we’re living in today, that wasn’t an inaccurate qualification. If the media firestorm was only about Harvey Weinstein and the women he, personally, harassed, it really would have been just a moment – a fleeting blip in our collective consciousness.
But the New Yorker expose was really made possible by many pre-moment actions, including those of women who stepped forward and confronted Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. For the record, it feels more than a little foreign to me to be praising (former) employees of Fox News (full disclosure: I did work for Media Matters for America for a bit, where Fox News is a frequent target of attention). Nonetheless, women such as Gretchen Carlson, Megan Kelly, Laurie Luhn, Laurie Dhue, Andrea Tantaros, Juliette Huddy, Wendy Walsh and Andrea Mackris, set the stage by outing arguably the top two mahers at Fox News. They sparked the conversation.
The Weinstein story followed. And after Weinstein, came the flood. With the timely assist from Alyssa Milano, the flood is what made the “moment” into “the movement.” Actors, news anchors, comedians, celebrity chefs, producers, directors, politicians and pundits… many men in positions of power have since been made accountable for their actions. Forced out of positions that made them so powerful. Had their covers blown. (Notably, our President has, so far, proven immune to his accusations.)
The consequences have been surprisingly swift and punishing. So much so, that there’s a legitimate conversation taking place about overreach, and what type of actions, exactly, deserve the MeToo label.