In his column, Bret Stephens argues that the #MeToo movement is undermined by the likes of actress Minnie Driver and others who refuse to differentiate or point to degrees of behavior constituting sexual misconduct by men. On one level, I agree, and it seems obvious to me that those degrees exist and the consequences of any individual behavior should befit the level of offense.
What is missed in this argument, though, is that when we get too caught up in parsing the degrees of any individual incident, we lose sight of the big picture, which is a pervasively sexist culture that creates fertile soil from which all of these behaviors grow. Because of our intensely individualist culture, we often get caught in the cycle of singling out “bad actors” and forget to examine the underlying roots of these issues. Clearly, this epidemic of sexual abuse and sexual assault does not spring from nowhere.
The frustration that so many women feel when we start to get overly focused on “degrees of offense” is that it distracts us from the real problem of widespread misogyny in our culture.
Diane Tatum, Seattle