Amy Chozick, the New York Times reporter who covered Hillary Clinton, with, some might say, a touch of fandom, had a very revealing article in Sunday's paper, crediting Hillary Clinton's defeat with starting a new feminist movement. Here is how Chozick's piece begins:
Hillary Clinton, the first woman who had a real shot at the presidency, has finally set off a national awakening among women. The only catch? She did it by losing.
In the year since a stoic Mrs. Clinton watched as Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th president, a fervor has swept the country, prompting women’s marches, a record number of female candidates running for office and an outcry about sexual assault at all levels of society.
Even those women who disliked Hillary-the-candidate or who backed her opponent Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary now credit the indignities and cynicism Mrs. Clinton faced in the 2016 election and her unexpected loss to Mr. Trump, an alleged sexual abuser, for the current moment.
We wouldn’t be here — black gowns at the Golden Globes, sexual assault victims invited to the State of the Union address, a nationwide, woman-led voter registration drive timed to the anniversary of the Women’s March — without Mrs. Clinton’s defeat.
Chozick may think that Mrs. Clinton lost the race because of "the indignities and cynicism" she faced, but there is an alternate explanation: she was not a good candidate, beset with ethical challenges and, more than her personality, Trump voters feared she would continue the policies of the Obama administration that gave us eight years of a less than robust economy (thus dampening the economic prospects of women and men).
But it is true that a "fervor" has swept the country. We saw it at the Golden Globes (where Hollywood tried to pretend that many in expensive black gowns were shocked! shocked! to learn that there was widespread and seriously ugly sexual misbehavior in the industry that gave us the term "casting couch") and we will see it again when women in black protest at President Trump's State of the Union address.
Ms. Chozick is probably right, however, that Mrs. Clinton's defeat contributed to the rise of this feminist movement. So it is fair to ask: What kind of feminist movement is this? Is it good for women? Will it promote the economic and emotional wellbeing of women?
I'm all for jerks who've abused women getting their comeuppance. If any man is accused of committing a crime, such as rape, it is essential that he be tried and, if guilty, punished to the full extent of the law.
But this isn't how the MeToo movement is developing.
It is quickly becoming something quite different from that–it is becoming anti-male, in many cases a witch hunt and it is being weaponized to destroy men who may be innocent but are not accorded the opportunity to defend themselves. It is also being politicized–it has become part of The Resistance aimed at overturning or irreparably damaging a legitimately elected presidency.
I urge you to read IWF's Carrie Lukas' plea not to politicize the MeToo movement. French cinema great Catherine Deneuve and a hundred other French women, intellectuals and writers, have also criticized the anti-maleness of the MeToo movement. Meanwhile, as Patrice reports, former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice worries that the angry MeToo movement could cause a backlash against women.
It is a legitimate worry that, with the rise of the MeToo movement, in which sexual accusations once lodged don't seem to require supporting evidence, some professionals will have reservations about women in the workplace thus, ironically, making this brand of feminism a hindrance to our continued progress.
One other thing: Ms. Chozick, we women are not helpless. You make it look like Mrs. Clinton lost because she is a woman. That is not the reason. We will have a woman president in the near future, and, when this happens, as was the case with Margaret Thatcher, her gender will be the least important thing about her being elected.
A renewed women's movement that concentrates on economic opportunities, on work life balance, and other benefits to women and families–unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the sort of women's movement Mrs. Clinton's defeat triggered.