I have been wondering about the recent MeToo social-media campaign that encouraged many women to share their own stories of having men put them into into uncomfortable or awkward situations with sexual overtones to varying degrees. I missed the beginning of the trend and I assume it started with actual assault or contact that could have been prosecuted as a sex crime except for the fact that the victim, for whatever recent, decided to not report it or to forgive the transgression. By the time I heard of the trend, there were many MeToo stories that may have annoyed the person but where the most extreme reprimand may have been some form of expression that the behavior was socially unacceptable. Because all of the complaints were united under the same umbrella term, the result was a declaration that included nearly every direct interaction between a female and a non-relative male to be as objectionable as criminal sexual assault.
The trend included some participation of men who attempted to include their similar experiences, but this was met with the objection that this MeToo was a solely a female issue. The men’s issues would have to find some other catch-phrase so as to not diminish the message of that universally all women experience objectionable behavior from men and on numerous occasions.
Due to the prevalence and frequency of these experiences that are included in MeToo, we can conclude that most if not all men are guilty of these transgressions at some time, and probably all the time. The conclusion is that there is a problem with all men in this culture, and that there needs to be a solution to restrain male behavior through more vigorous pursuit of penalties that may be civil reputation harming if a criminal or civil case were unavailable.
The MeToo campaign is a continuation of a longer campaign to harm or destroy a man’s reputation where it is sufficient for a mere accusation by a woman of a inappropriate behavior by a man. Cases involving successful men (often late in their careers) receive lots of publicity. Also, there are many cases involving men in colleges not even at the start of their careers. These all target specific names with explicit accusations and have at the minimum a permanent tarnish on that man’s reputation.
Some have described this as a war against men. Some have described these cases as justifications for men avoiding interaction with women with one extreme example being the so-called MGTOW monk.
To be clear, my knowledge of this is limited. My impression is that this type of accusation against specific men of behaviors vague enough to implicate all men as having one time or another performed some act that some woman would find objectionable.
I am particularly intrigued by the similarity of these accusations at a society-level with the accusations that occur in contested divorces where there is a need to divide up property and earnings based on who is more responsible for making the divorce necessary. There is a goal of setting terms of alimony and child support.
The MeToo campaign is presented to the court of public opinion for who is at fault for why there needs to be something comparable to a divorce from the societal arrangement of how all men and all women participate in society.
Using this analogy of divorce, there must at some point have been a pre-marital arrangement for societal interaction between men and women. I would suggest that the marriage occurred with the passage of the 19th amendment almost 100 years ago. That makes the pre-marital arrangement in the not too distant past.
In my view, there are a lot of indications that even very progressive reformers are seeking a return to the period the preceded the 19th amendment.
The amendment itself concerned the women’s right to vote in all elections. Immediately after ratification, there was a low participation rate of female voters, suggesting a pre-existing culture for women’s behavior that had to change.
I like how Camille Paglia describes this older culture where men and women participated in distinct spheres of society each with its own independent power structures. Specifically, the exclusively female sphere were led by females, and in particular the elder females that provided guidance and discipline for matters of that sphere, such as dealing with home making and child rearing.
The national divorce analogy is that there is a desire to return to this older model of separate spheres where there is a sphere for women and that sphere would be led by women. The result of the divorce would not be a return to the women’s traditional roles of home making and child rearing, though. To some extent, modern technology makes obsolete the home making aspects (and a lot of the burden of child-rearing). Instead it appears that the end-state of the divorce would be that the exclusively female sphere of influence would be running businesses or even governments.
The divorce model is exemplified by some feminists goals of having one half of all businesses run by women and half of all domestic duties run by men. This is a default 50/50 type of divorce.
Before getting there, we are currently in the argument over who is the blame for the divorce who who is most deserving of the wealth and future income. The MeToo campaign paints men as behaving more dishonorably and thus justifying a split more favorable to women. If men are so bad, then they should forfeit all wage-earnings to women, leaving full control of businesses to women, and all well-paid positions staffed by women. Men would be permitted to living with playing video games or watching televised games in their man caves. Women would run everything else.
I’m exaggerating. The intent is to just imagine the current political climate as a period of settling on a divorce between men and women in terms of how they participate together in society. The divorce settlement determines how much property goes to each party and the extent of entitlement of one party on the other’s future income.
In this negotiation, a key consideration in actual divorces are the children in order to determine child support. I see something similar emerging in the intersectional feminism that brings in all minorities exclusive of straight white males. Intersectionality appears to adopt all of these marginalized minorities as the children that need support after the divorce.
The MeToo campaign supports a claim that the female group deserves custody of these marginalized minorities and that the male group needs to be responsible for marginalized group support (similar to child support in a divorce between two partners).
This support for marginalized groups are already being pursued. The Affordable Care Act is a subsidization of health care with rules on premiums that effectively redistributes money from men who are more likely to pay full (unsubsidized) premium prices and collectively receive fewer services at lower overall costs. It seems likely now that we’ll end up with single-payer health care at some point with similar pattern of wealth transfer. At the same time, there is growing consensus on a universal basic income and free college education.
Men will end up paying most of the costs of these programs while receiving little if any benefits. This looks similar to the nature of post-divorce child-support with the women getting the custody of the dependents. The men pay most of the costs, and receive very restrictive benefits similar to the restrictions on visiting rights.
In summary, I view the current social and political environment as a divorce proceeding that is initiated largely by the women who are also building a case for dividing property more in their favor, and to maximize the aliminony, child-support, and custodial rights from the men.
In the last few years, I have heard of an increasing concern that the country will experience a Civil War v2.0. From my perspective, I do see an escalation of tensions between large groups of the population. This was exposed very clearly in the 2016 Presidential election and its consequences. Some have pointed to various secessionist movements or of the rising violence in protests that are already resulting in casualties between armed and organized factions. A conflict may be brewing, but it is not going to be like the Civil War of the 19th century. The groups are not concentrated in states and certainly not in contiguous states. Instead a better analogy is a divorce from the existing arrangement for coexistence of men and women in society. The two groups include both men and women, so it is not really a war between the sexes. But it is a confrontation that could lead to a divorce that returns to two spheres of influence: one for women and the other for men. The women’s sphere will now be different as the owners of most of the property and earning of the men, and they will have custody of assuring the welfare of those who qualify as the historically marginalized minorities. In the end the difference between calling the eventuality a Civil War or a National Divorce may not matter: it will get messy.