I was recently quoted in a story for the Washington Times by Christian Toto about the #MeToo movement’s uptake in Hollywood, and whether or not there is a liberal bias driving actors’ willingness to call out public figures.
I shared other thoughts that were not quoted by the author, part of which were as follows:
• I think those in the industry should acknowledge that sexual assault and abuse is not a partisan issue. Hollywood activists use their influence, often, to encourage votes on particular issues and for particular candidates. They should carefully consider that these two issues are separate and present them as such. We should, on the one hand, pursue better policies and candidates that can contribute to an improved sexual culture and work on behalf of oppressed persons, but we should also remember that, on the other hand, doing so does not automatically equal a vote for a particular party.
• The #MeToo movement – in Hollywood and beyond – should consider the following two points in order to be a movement for justice and to take into account the fuller picture of sexual abuse and assault. First, the #MeToo movement often rhetorically relies on the threat of incarceration or related punishment for those who are accused of committing sexual assault. I would protest that mass incarceration is a major injustice and that a feminism that contributes to that injustice by regularly calling for imprisonment is no feminism at all. Further, discussion around imprisonment shows that we have not fully dealt with the embedded nature of sexual abuse in our culture – often, people joke about those in prison getting what’s coming to them (i.e., being sexually assaulted in prison). We should refuse these kinds of jokes to better tackle the depth of our complicity in our culture of abuse. Second, the #MeToo movement is heavily focused on the workplace as the site of sexual abuse and assault. Yet, many people are abused at home, by loved ones, and – in the case of disabled people – by caregivers. In fact, disabled people (who are largely unemployed) are twice as likely or more to be sexually abused in their lifetimes. The #MeToo movement needs to help the general public get clearer on where sexual abuse occurs, and how to fight it – especially in more intimate settings than the workplace.