On Friday, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) uploaded a new video from Christina Hoff Sommers, aka the "Factual Feminist," to YouTube. In the video, Sommers discusses the ways in which the #MeToo movement has stepped out of bounds:
The #MeToo awakening is an historic moment; it has the potential to correct long-tolerated abuses and to lead to a new era of understanding and respect between men and women. Please, let's not allow it to be hijacked by delusions of gender armageddon.
Sommers mentions an article published by Harper’s Bazaar in which the author, Jennifer Wright, cites a bogus statistic and an alarming quote when discussing the Aziz Ansari scandal:
Many asked, why didn't Grace just leave? The Harper's article offered an increasingly common explanation. Perhaps she was frightened. Women often go along with unwanted sex on dates because, the article claims, "women are afraid men will murder them."
The author, #MeToo activist Jennifer Wright, quotes a favorite feminist adage from novelist Margaret Atwood: “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid men will kill them." Wright conjures alarming statistics to justify the fear. For example, that "98% of homicidal partners are male." Well, that figure is beyond misleading. The author apparently didn't check the source. According to the Justice Department, approximately 30% of homicidal partners are female, 70% male. All of these deaths are tragic, but they do little to support Wright's fears. There are more men who kill women than vice versa, but that's because men are more likely to kill, period – and for the most part, they kill other men. Nearly 80% of murder victims are men.
The odds of a woman being killed on her date are infinitesimally small, but the odds that baseless attacks on men will weaken a great movement are high.
She continues, noting that the #MeToo movement must remain humane and reasonable in order to thrive:
If today's sexual reckoning is to achieve lasting progress, it must be a human undertaking; it's something men and women must work on together. We need to dispense with "men want to kill us" rhetorical fantasies. We are not in a war against half the human race.
Guilt by association is wrong, and so, for that matter, is innocence by association – which is the premise behind the slogan, "Believe all women." Women, like men, are fallible beings. Even the feminist standard-bearer, Margaret Atwood, acknowledged this in a recent article on the excesses of #MeToo.
Sommers then quotes Atwood: "My fundamental position is that women are human beings, with the full range of saintly and demonic behaviors this entails, including criminal ones. They're not angels, incapable of wrongdoing."
Going further, Sommers states that the visceral reaction to anyone who asks for moderation within the movement has become alarming:
The Factual Feminist is also concerned about the hysterical overreaction to anyone who dares to introduce a note of moderation. Consider what happened to the actor Matt Damon. In an interview with ABC in December of 2017, Damon described #MeToo as "totally necessary," and he said that all forms of harassment had to be “eradicated without question." But he insisted on nuance. There is a difference, he said, "between patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation." There is a "spectrum of behavior," running from the iniquities of Harvey Weinstein to the boorish indiscretions of Senator Al Franken – and punishment ought to be proportionate. Minor transgressors shouldn't necessarily lose their jobs. In such cases there is a place for remorse, apology, forgiveness.
Well, Damon's comments were reasonable, humane. Who could possibly disagree?
Actress Minnie Driver does, says Sommers. In a recent interview, Driver claimed that there is "no hierarchy of abuse," and that men need to remain silent. The Factual Feminist disagrees:
Minnie Driver's claim that there is "no hierarchy of abuse" is incoherent. Gradations of harm and degrees of guilt are fundamental to our moral intuitions and our legal system. Our criminal laws make many fine distinctions among bad and worse actions, and so do our judgments of others in every day life.
...And telling man as a species to shut up and listen – that isn’t progress. It's sexism.
...What I wish is that Damon did not have to issue a ritual recantation, and that men and women could discuss the issues freely and rationally. If men and women of good will could work together, they can make historic progress in the fight against harassment and abuse. But to succeed, the movement is going to have to channel its outrage and confront its own excesses.