Spiked: Meet the women worried about #Metoo

Thirteen bold women on why we must reject victimhood.

Nathalie Rothschild says…

Why is the #Metoo campaign worrying? It is hard to know where to begin.

I could discuss how it is normalising the kind of mob behaviour that is the most negative aspect of internet culture, and how it is eroding the presumption of innocence.

I could mention how the insistence that men are complicit in perpetuating a ‘rape culture’ characterised by a ‘continuum of abuse’ – running from lockerroom banter to gang rape – demonises half the world’s population and relativises, and therefore trivialises, sexual violence.

I could argue that it poisons relations between the sexes, turning everyday interactions into a social minefield.

I could focus on the censorious impulse behind #MeToo. ‘Outed’ celebrities and their work are denounced as ‘degenerate’ and erased, much like ‘unacceptable’ material was shoved down the memory hole in George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.

I could discuss how #MeToo marks a return to puritanism, and revives a Victorian view of women as actual or potential victims of sexual assault and therefore in need of shielding.

But perhaps the most disturbing element of #MeToo is how it has transmogrified into a kind of confession competition. The more gruesome a woman’s testimonial is, the more sympathy she is likely to get from the online sisterhood.

The idea that the moments in our lives when we felt power was exercised upon us should be those that mark us and define us forever runs counter to the view of women as active, autonomous agents. And it is that view which ought to define the experience of being a woman in the 21st century.

Nathalie is a print and broadcast journalist based in Stockholm, Sweden.