The past few weeks have seen the exposure of men in business, in the arts, in politics, and elsewhere as sexual predators and/or the perpetrators of sexual harassment. This is a Good Thing, unless we conclude that this is a problem with them. Because #MeToo isn’t just about George H. W. Bush. It isn’t just about Judge Roy Moore. It isn’t just about Bill Clinton. It isn’t just about Bill Cosby.
These men leveraged the power conferred on them by their positions, statuses, and money to exploit other people for their own sexual gratification. But not all power flows from being an actor, a director, a judge, a senator, a former president, a comedian, or a well-liked public figure.
In the society in which I live, men have power conferred on them merely by virtue of being men. And we use that power. Sometimes we violate the letter of the law. Sometimes we “merely” act in ways that are immoral or unethical.
So neither women nor men—especially men—should forget about the rest of us. Because it’s not just them. It’s us.
In reading some of the comments, I realize that I was a little unclear. What I mean by ‘us’ in that last paragraph is men. I’m male; I’ve seen what we do and what we let pass by. It’s not all legally actionable by any means, but it’s there. As much as I would like to say #NotAllMen, tell you I’ve met heterosexual males who don’t take advantage of the power conferred by being male, or exempt myself—I can’t. Right now, men are the problem.