#MeToo and the Disruption of the Patriarchy

The #MeToo phenomenon is a cultural movement like no other. A few weeks ago, I sat in a circle with about seventeen men to talk about #MeToo. The responses were varied, but the overall tone was consistent. These men sensed the gravity of this moment. Voices were low. The energy introspective. There was little in the way of defensiveness or anger. It made me wonder: Why so grave? What are we sensing here?

There are many ways to look at it, but one of them is this: Men are disoriented—even conscious, aware men—because we can all feel the patriarchy crumbling. That means we are losing our unconscious advantage in life—what many have called privilege. Our positions within the patriarchy, and certain advantages conferred by those positions are being challenged. To the extent they are challenged effectively, the patriarchy is actually being disrupted.

#MeToo would not have been possible without the digital world in which we live. Only a ubiquitous, nearly universal network such as Twitter could amass a huge number of women’s voices so that they may finally be heard. Until now, men, by virtue of their power positions, have been able to silence individual women raising issues about male behavior, or to ignore them. That was the patriarchy in action. The disruption is now happening because of the power networks provide to magnify the collective reality in ways that the hierarchical patriarchy could never allow. This is how digitalization is changing the social landscape.

2 Comments

  1. Paul Simone

    Reply

    Mark Twain’s – Character of Man:

    “…For all his history, in all climes, all ages and all circumstances, man furnishes oceans and continents of proof that of all the creatures that were made he is the most detestable. Of the entire brood he is the only one – the solitary one – that possesses malice. That is the basest of all instincts, passions, vices – the most hateful. That one thing puts him below the rats, the grubs, the trichinae. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain…All creatures kill – there seems to be no exception; but of the whole list, man is the only one that kills for fun; he is the only on that kills in malice, the only one that kills for revenge.” –

    Now considering the time that this was written, it would be easy to assume and I believe a mistake to think that when Mark Twain says “Man” and “He” that Twain actually means all of human kind… as in all humans – men and women… but upon reflecting, I do honestly think he just means man as in the male of the species… Which is why I am fascinated to hear and read the Dali Lama say: Western women will come to the rescue of the world…

  2. Evan Reminick

    Reply

    Going back years, several women have told me about having been raped. Many more have told me stories of harassment. The shock of the #me too moment is that I’d never seriously extrapolated the experience of women I know to all women and confronted the cancer of sexual predation in the society we share. It’s like walking down a familiar street and finding it coated in an ancient, sticky, smelly slime I’d never managed to notice – despite having regarded myself as compassionate, observant, and intellectually honest. I suppose this is what’s meant by being “woke.” The more important consideration is, what’s next? What is the next chivalry, the next citizenship, the next social goal?

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