#MeToo, a movement to combat sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace, has been celebrated as a watershed moment for women.
Everyone loves the party game “Two Truths and a Lie.” As we assess the #MeToo movement at its five-year anniversary, can you identify which of the three following statements about the #MeToo movement is a lie?
A. MeToo triggered a backlash against women in the workplace.
B. The movement has been co-opted by the Left to promote a victimization narrative and liberal agenda.
C. MeToo condemned bad individual actions but was careful not to paint all men as potential predators.
A. Truth! The backlash against women in the workplace, especially younger women, has been the harmful unintended consequence of this movement. In 2018, researchers at the University of Houston began collecting data from hundreds of men and women about how the workplace has changed following #MeToo. What they found was eye-opening: “19% of men said they were reluctant to hire attractive women, 21% said they were reluctant to hire women for jobs involving close interpersonal interactions with men (jobs involving travel, say), and 27% said they avoided one-on-one meetings with female colleagues.” A 2018 survey by LeanIn.Org survey found similar disturbing trends in the workplace.
B. Truth! During the 2018 Grammys, the Golden Globes, and the Oscars the #MeToo movement was front and center as actresses and entertainers showed their support through their clothing choices, speeches, and performances. However, they also hinted that the movement was not just focused on holding men in positions of power accountable for misconduct. Their intention was also to advance a leftist agenda based on the false narrative of rampant gender discrimination in the workforce as evidenced—in their misguided view—by the raw gender pay gap. (Learn more about the wage gap here.)
C. Lie! We can celebrate how #MeToo encouraged victims (largely women) to come forward with their stories of harassment and misconduct. Many men in power had their day of reckoning for alleged past actions as well. However, #MeToo pushed a narrative of pervasive misconduct and rampant discrimination, painted men as potential predators, and drove a wedge between men and women. As a result, there has been a backlash against women in hiring and day-to-day interactions with men in the workplace that could leave some of them out of important opportunities for advancement and set them back in their careers.
IWF of course supports the spirit of any movement that calls out wrongdoing and brings offenders to justice. But we also believe in the presumption of innocence and due process for individuals who are accused of harassment, assault, or any misconduct.