Paris (CNN)A collective of 100 French women including film star Catherine Deneuve have signed an open letter defending men's "freedom to pester" women, sparking an angry response from a group of feminist activists.Even the NY Times published a MeTooism criticism:
The open letter, which criticized the #MeToo movement and warned about a new "puritanism" sparked by recent sexual harassment allegations, was published Tuesday in French newspaper Le Monde.
The group of writers, performers, academics and businesswomen denounced a "hatred of men and sexuality" and the recent wave of "denunciations." Men's "freedom to pester" is "indispensable to sexual freedom," they wrote.
"Rape is a crime, but insistent or clumsy flirting is not an offense, nor is gallantry macho aggression." ...
Deneuve and others argue that while the Harvey Weinstein scandal had led to a "legitimate wake-up call to the sexual violence exercised against women," the "fever" of publicly denouncing abusers "really only serves the enemies of sexual freedom."
Cycle of shame: Harassed in the street, then again on social media
To make matters worse, they wrote, "the movement chains women to the status of the eternal victim" by framing them as "poor little things who are dominated by demon phallocrats."
Not only that, but the movement has spawned a wave of hatred toward the accused, they said, who are mentioned in the same breath as sexual aggressors without being given the chance to defend themselves.
This new type of "swift justice" has already claimed its victims, they wrote, citing men forced to resign "when all they did wrong was touch a knee."
This comment is a clear reference to the resignation of former UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, who stepped down in November after admitting to touching journalist Julia Hartley-Brewer's knee in 2002.
But privately, I suspect, many of us, including many longstanding feminists, will be rolling our eyes, having had it with the reflexive and unnuanced sense of outrage that has accompanied this cause from its inception, turning a bona fide moment of moral accountability into a series of ad hoc and sometimes unproven accusations.I am beginning to think that no one expects women to make any sense on this subject.
When those women wore black at the Golden Globes, were they trying to make a statement that they too had traded sexual favors to get movie roles? And when women complain about sexual harassment, how many of them are just trying to brag that they are pretty enough to attract male attention. Most of these complainers appear to be seriously mentally disturbed.