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May 8 2018

The Good and the Bad of the MeToo Movement

by Charlotte Hays

"The #MeToo movement has uncovered real abuses of power," Heather Mac Donald said in a recent speech at Hillsdale College. Nevertheless, Mac Donald is worried about where all this is going. At Hillsdale, she said:

Our nation is about to be transformed, thanks to the #MeToo movement. I am not speaking about a cessation of sexual predation in the workplace. If that were the only consequence of #MeToo, the movement would clearly be a force for good.

Unfortunately, its effects are going to be more sweeping and destructive. #MeToo is going to unleash a new torrent of gender and race quotas throughout the economy and culture, on the theory that all disparities in employment and institutional representation are due to harassment and bias.

The resulting distortions of decision-making will be largely invisible; we will usually not know of the superior candidates for a job who were passed over in the drive for gender parity. But the net consequence will be a loss of American competitiveness and scientific achievement.

. . . however pervasive the diversity imperative was before, the #MeToo movement is going to make the previous three decades look like a golden age of meritocracy. No mainstream institution will hire, promote, or compensate without an exquisite calculation of gender and race ratios. Males in general, and white males in particular, will have to clear a very high bar in order to justify further deferring that halcyon moment of gender equity.

The entertainment and media industries are already feeling the heat. The  MeToo Movement was the theme of the Oscars last year, with Academy President John Bailey feeling the need to preface his remarks by apologizing for being a white male of a certain vintage. Natalie Portman snarled that the category she was announcing--best director--was "all males." Mac Donald writes:

The prospect of left-wing entertainment moguls having to sacrifice their box office judgment to identity politics is an unalloyed pleasure, and of little consequence to society at large. But quota-izing will hardly be limited to Hollywood.

Orchestras, perhaps feeling the need to atone for having let white males such as Mozart and Beethoven, Schubert, Chopin, and Brahms dominate for so long, will be under particular pressure:

Orchestra boards will pay penance for their own inadequate diversity by a mad rush on female conductors, whose numbers are minuscule. It was already difficult two years ago to land a U.S. conducting position for a universally esteemed white male conductor, reports his agent. Now it would be nearly impossible, the agent believes, adding: “If I had a trans conductor, I would be rich.”

Publishing houses are scrutinizing their lists for "gender" balance among authors, and the New York Times has hired a "gender editor." In business and academia, "diversity trainers are already sensing a windfall from #MeToo," Mac Donald said.  Banks and financial institutions are facing demands to make public their payrolls by shareholders who apparently prioritize "diversity" over talent and dedication.

I urge you to read Mac Donald speech. She goes through various fields and suggests how they might be affected by the drive for greater "diversity." As usual, Mac Donald is an iconoclast:

Ironically, the best solution to sexual predation is not more feminism, but less. By denying the differences between men and women, and by ridiculing the manly virtues of gentlemanliness and chivalry and the female virtues of modesty and prudence, feminism dissolved the civilizational restraints on the male libido. The boorish behavior that pervades society today would have been unthinkable in the past, when a traditional understanding of sexual propriety prevailed. Now, however, with the idea of “ladies and gentlemen” discredited and out of favor, boorishness is increasingly the rule.

Contrary to the feminist narrative, Western culture is in fact the least patriarchal culture in human history; rather than being forced to veil, females in our society can parade themselves in as scantily clad a manner as they choose; pop culture stars flaunt their promiscuity. As we have seen, every mainstream institution is trying to hire and promote as many females as possible.

As the #MeToo movement swells the demand for ever more draconian diversity mandates, a finding in a Pew Research Center poll on workplace equity is worth noting: the perception of bias is directly proportional to the number of years the perceiver has spent in an American university. The persistent claim of gender bias, in other words, is ideological, not empirical. But after #MeToo, it will have an even more disruptive effect.

Unlike Mac Donald, I do see one cause for optimism. Things are becoming so extreme in our society, whether it is the Resistance or the MeToo Movement, that people are beginning, I think to pull back a bit snd take stock of where we are. Nobody wants to live in the Garden of the Absurd, which it sometimes feel we are doing.

If Mac Donald is right, however, we're careening towards a world in which talent, aptitude, and hard work will matter much less than gender and skin color.

 

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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