It seems that for every #MeToo story shared, there is a subtle (or not-so-subtle) victim-blaming response. Today’s comes from Condoleezza Rice, who spoke about the movement while appearing on CNN’s The Axe Files with David Axelrod. While discussing the recent barrage of sexual assault allegations coming to the cultural forefront, the former Secretary of State started by commending the movement.
The conversation seemed propitious at first. “I don’t know a woman alive who hasn’t had somebody say or do something that was inappropriate at best and aggressive at worst,” Condoleezza Rice told Axelrod. Most women could probably say the same thing, hence the compelling need for movements like #TimesUp and #MeToo. However, the politician went on to critique the recent cultural conversation, saying that #MeToo might “infantilize women.” Really? More so than a culture that previously expected — and forced — them to stay silent?
While Rice’s criticism of #MeToo differs from the most common disagreement, which problematically likens the movement to a witch hunt, it still suggests that women are the ones who should change, rather than the social norms which allow for such prevalent sexual misconduct.
Her “snowflake” suggestion misses the whole point of #MeToo, which is to empower women. Rice went on to explain that she fears that the movement will have negative repercussions for women.
Telling women to “be careful” rather than placing responsibility on society at large is exactly the reason why the #MeToo movement exists in the first place.
Here’s the whole interview excerpt.
Writer, artist, and activist Bree Newsome pointed out the irony of Condoleezza Rice’s statement.
It’s okay to criticize aspects of the movement. But we think that anyone who shares a #MeToo story is far from delicate.