Andrew Cuomo Case Proves That #MeToo Is Not Enough
COMMENTARY: The only way to make the workplace, the movie studio, the sports arena and even the Church free from sexual misdeeds is to reject the toxic ideology of the sexual revolution once and for all.
I feel like I’ve written this column before. Yet another prominent man has fallen from public grace because of predatory sexual behavior. This time, it is New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who resigned amid charges of sexual harassment.
I wrote a version of this column about then-Cardinal McCarrick and Harvey Weinstein. I wrote another version about Jeffrey Epstein, Harvey Weinstein and Theodore McCarrick. “What is the point you think you have to keep making?” you might ask. Just this: The #MeToo movement is not enough. Holding particular powerful men to account for their sexual misconduct is not enough. The only way to make the workplace, the movie studio, the sports arena and even the Church free from sexual misdeeds is to reject the toxic ideology of the sexual revolution once and for all.
The New York Attorney General’s Office issued a 165-page report last week charging that the outgoing governor “engaged in conduct constituting sexual harassment” against at least 11 women. Debra Katz, the attorney for one of Cuomo’s accusers, stated that his resignation is “a testament to the growing power of women’s voices since the beginning of the #MeToo movement.”
I do not agree with this assessment. The #MeToo movement is wimpy. A few high-profile cases of predatory men being publicly shamed and punished is not enough.
Neither is gender politics, pitting men and women against each other according to a “feminist” script, an authentic solution to this problem. The difficulties of proving the charges, the pain of enduring the harassment in the first place, the long-term trauma often comes along in the aftermath of sexual victimization: Women should not have to put up with all of this. Women are suffering far more than a few successful lawsuits or criminal indictments can repair. Besides, the purely “man vs. woman” “feminist” storyline cannot make sense of the numerous male victims of homosexual predation.
No, the real problem is the sexual revolution itself. I will give you a short statement that encapsulates the philosophy that I believe is responsible for the sexual havoc in our lives.
Reproductive health can be defined as a state of well-being related to one’s sexual and reproductive life. It implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
“What is the problem with this statement?” you might ask. Doesn’t everyone support “reproductive health”?
Here is the problem: This statement and others like it never tell us who is responsible to provide everyone the “satisfying and safe sex life” that we are all supposedly entitled to. When pressed, the advocates of “reproductive health” say this applies to consenting adult partners.
But “consent” is too thin a defense against sneaky and manipulative behavior. The appearance of “consent” can be manipulated. This part of the #MeToo movement is profoundly true. The “consent” caveat is just not enough to rescue this definition of “reproductive health.”
Who believes they are actually entitled to a “satisfying and safe sex life”? The rapist, that’s who. This idea of sexual entitlement provides cover for predators and disarms victims. (Come to think of it, I’ve written that column before, too. The poor girls who had their lives ruined on PornHub couldn’t bring themselves to criticize pornography. They wanted to be considered “sex positive.”)
By the way, where did this definition of “reproductive health” come from? Surely this is some kind of straw man argument that was cooked up in a fit of exasperated exaggeration.
I found it on the United Nations Population Fund FAQ page: “What is reproductive health?” The original document helpfully refers back to Paragraph 7.2 of a “U.N. Programme of Action,” adopted in Cairo in 1994 and never, as far as I know, amended on this particular point.
Behind documents like this lies the philosophy of the sexual revolution created by people such as Alfred Kinsey and Wilhelm Reich. Kinsey famously authored statistical studies of sexual behavior purporting to show that “everyone is doing it.” This was supposed to cure people of their sexual inhibitions and hang-ups.
Wilhelm Reich was an Austrian doctor of medicine and psychoanalysis. He wrote the book The Sexual Revolution in 1936. He came up with the idea that sexual activity was necessary to a healthy life, even for children. He taught that sexual taboos were more psychologically harmful and dangerous than any problems that unlimited sex itself might cause.
This philosophy has given us a generation of sex addicts and predators. The #MeToo movement, like many others in today’s world, would like to be against sexual predation and still remain “sex positive.” They want to accept the premises of the sexual revolution but draw a line against non-consensual, predatory sex. We have enough experience to show that this line will not hold. The revolution creates incentives and excuses for predation. We cannot invent enough punishments after the fact to protect women, and even men, from sexual predation.
Soon-to-be-former Gov. Cuomo is accused of creating a “toxic workplace.” But, actually, the sexual revolution created the toxic workplace. The sexual revolution issued hunting licenses to predators.
Too many men have internalized the revolutionary message that they are entitled to have sex as often as they choose, with whomever they choose. Until that changes, we are going to continue to have these problems. Shameless men will continue to prey upon vulnerable women and men under their power.
That is why the #MeToo movement is not enough.