This argument has come up a lot since the start of the #MeToo movement, with men solemnly explaining to women that a grope is really not the same as a rape, which is super helpful of them because if there’s one group who really aren’t clear about the severity of rape, it’s women. But increasingly when I hear someone say, “Harassment isn’t as bad as rape”, what they seem to be saying is, “It isn’t that bad at all.”
All of these men are multimillionaires, so concerns about their current lack of employment are not based on them no longer being able to pay the gas bill. Rather, it shows that, despite the alleged realigning of power dynamics by #MeToo, men are still seen as the stars of the show and women as faceless background nobodies. You know, it’s that classic Hollywood plot: man strives for success, man gets success, man frantically masturbates in front of women and gives them the crusty paw, man makes glorious comeback. In the case of Batali, Rose, Lauer and Keillor, it’s the men wanting this storyline; in the case of CK, it seems to be others wanting it for him. In all cases, it’s the diminishing of the women who were harassed. Are the women these men exploited being interviewed about how their careers were hampered? How they were denied opportunities because they spoke up, or said no? The answer, of course, is ha ha ha. Increasingly it looks like #MeToo didn’t topple the patriarchy – it showed how tenacious the patriarchy is at enforcing its stranglehold.