#MeToo’s #MeToo 🙋🙋

Deutsches Haus' Youtube Channel

Deutsches Haus' Youtube Channel

Accusing the accuser

NYU has accused a prominent feminist scholar, Professor Avital Ronell, of “inappropriate physical contact” with a former graduate student and ruled that she be suspended for the upcoming school year. The investigation has gained nationwide attention as this was a rare case in which one of the #MeToomovement’s scholars was accused of the accusations she herself had sharply criticized. 


When viewpoints flip

Interestingly, the pro-#MeToo side and anti-#MeToo side have adopted arguments that are typically utilized by the opposite. Anti-#MeToo speakers point to the hypocrisy and believe the victim should be respected for raising his pains, while prominent feminists believe the accused is a person of sound social standing who shouldn't be knocked down so quickly. The media, regardless of political leanings, has taken a broadly critical tone (albeit at differing severity) against the professor.

Critical outlets are comprised of those who already harbored doubt to the validity of the #MeToo movement. They cite this case as an example of the movement’s hypocrisy. They state that the movement’s victim-first stance only applies when the perpetrator is someone they dislike. These outlets criticize the controversial letter of support by stating that it attempts to embolden a sexual predator through her academic reputation while demeaning the victim.

Skeptical outlets are the typically #MeToo-friendly left-leaning ones. While the articles do not criticize the #MeToo movement itself, they do point out that certain feminist speakers supporting Professor Ronell are utilizing the same logic as those who supported powerful men. Emphasis is given to a controversial letter of support written by several feminists, which focuses on the suspect’s social standing rather than the proposed criminal act itself.

#MeToo: An evolving movement

It's been nearly a year since Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault accusations sparked the #MeToo movement. However, this case shows that the movement is still in its rocky infancy. Neither side has figured out a concrete philosophy on how to deal with sexual harassment accusations and will at times go against their own stance. Until our society develops a solid foundation, we will forever have a debate in which one side will argue "assault" and the other will cry "witch-hunt."




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