French Women denounce #MeToo Movement Puritanism
#Metoo feminists are still interested in making us believe that our society is only patriarchal. That is not true. I believe that there is also a matriarchy.
Her name is Catherine Millet, she is a writer and an art critic who is part of a group of about 100 French women opposed to the #MeToo movement. Her group created a manifesto that explains why the #MeToo movement’s methods have negative consequences for women and society as a whole.
Millet, along with five other women are the main promoters of the group opposed to the #MeToo movement. Behind them, there are 100 personalities of French culture, led by the actress Catherine Deneuve, singer Ingrid Caven and editor Joëlle Losfeld.
Millet denounces that this movement, which she calls “puritan”, hypocritically favors a return of “Victorian morality”.
She defends “the freedom to flirt”, which she considers indispensable to safeguard the legacy of the sexual revolution.
Millet runs a magazine called Art Press, which he co-founded in 1972.
When asked about the reactions to her position on the #MeToo movement and the right to flirt, she immediately answered “Absolutely.” She says her and her colleagues wanted to react to the word of radical feminists, which is the only thing that is read about in the press these days.
“It was annoying because it was not a point of view that we shared and because, around us, we knew many women who felt the same,” she explains from her Paris office.
“In my opinion, you are not traumatized for years because a man touched your thigh …” Millet says that not all women deal with or respond to those situations in the same way.
While many women, especially those consumed by mindless feminism believe that flirting or a touch is rude or out of place, many women still prefer that to sanitized social relationships.
Millet and her group of women have been reproached for their alleged lack of solidarity with other women, but she says that such accusation leaves out some very important points.
“A man is not asked to share the opinions of the rest of the men on the planet. That’s impossible,” she says. They are not saying that it is OK to rape women; they simply point out the skids that the #MeToo and the feminist movements have had.
“For example, to question certain men for quite minimal facts, which have had serious consequences in their careers is exaggerated.”
Millet points what many people have said in public, but that is clearly evident. Radical feminists have hijacked the feminist movement. They have created micro-groups that create public courts to try men without allowing them to defend themselves.
“Suddenly, we had the feeling that all the men were pigs,” she says.
Millet does not take sexual abuse lightly. In fact, she explains that people who have not yet been sexually abused have to put themselves in the shoes of those who have suffered sexual violence, but she also thinks about the men who have been victims of very fast accusations that had serious consequences in their professional lives.
When questioned about the consequences of pointing out the dysfunctions of the #MeToo movement and how this would damage awareness of sexual violence and abuses of power against women, Millet says that if it is true that opinions matter for all women, then “our opinion is worth the same as theirs”.
Censoring people because of unproven cases of alleged sexual misconduct seems exaggerated to Millet who explains that cases suchas that of Kevin Spacey is an example of how the methods of the #MeToo movement have unnecessary negative consequences.
“I think it’s very serious that an actor is deleted from a movie [Kevin Spacey], and replaced by another actor in All the money in the World after being accused of sexual assault. They are methods that remind me of those of Stalinism.”
Millet believes that the current hypocritical puritan wave that is taking over the world and that goes hand in hand with hijacked feminist movements will end up installing “a totalitarian society”.
“I quote a phrase that I wrote. In every controversial text there is a part of exaggeration, but I fully assume it. I see a climate of inquisition, in which people watche over neighbors, as it happened in the Soviet regimes, and then denounce them on social networks. Every corner of society is under surveillance, including our intimate sphere.”
The public lynching of men by women’s groups seems to be a return to the wild west, Millet says. “Justice has flaws and it is undeniable that things escape, but we live in a society that accepts that the public can judge and not an established court.
Millet along with her coleagues have been victims of witch hunts by women’s groups. They were called anti-feminist, as if that were a negative label to carry around today.
Millet is very clear about what it means to be a feminist today and compares it to what it should truly be.
“If we talk about the current state of feminism in particular, yes that I position myself against. But today there are several feminist currents … I feel closer to the feminists who integrate sex in their speech, who tend to be younger than me, than to those who express, through the #MeToo movement, radical positions that I have never shared, neither now nor during the 70’s.”
According to her, feminism is still very justified in the social environment. For example, regarding equal pay and also in fighting for that equality in sexual freedom, that’s taken for granted.
Because the attacks led by hijacked feminists groups failed against Millet and her group, they were later labeled as “white and bourgeois” and then they were accused of defending an elitist position.
“Yes, we have been criticized for not taking the subway. Actually, I take it several times a day. When I was younger, some man came to rub me against me on public transport, and that’s not why I died or became a disabled person.”
Among the signers of her group’s manifesto there is a real generational, ethnic and racial mixture that is what diversity should be all about.
That is different from the women who attack her and her colleagues, who are mostly intellectuals and academics but with little diversity. “Catherine Deneuve must have a different way of life, but the others are quite similar to those who attack us,” Millet says.
While most feminist groups see flirting as molestation, Millet and her group believe that there should be a right to flirt.
“It’s two things that go together … When a man flirts with you or bothers you, you have the freedom to tell him to stop doing it. One has the ability to say no. On the other hand, importuning is a rather mild word. It is not the same as harassing, far from it. Someone can bother you smoking by your side in a public place, for example.”
MIllet says that one of the aspects that are frequently criticized against her group is the right to importunate. “Open the dictionary,” she says. “Importuning is synonymous with bothering, annoying, getting mad…”
When asked if she granted that some women do not want to be bothered when they walk down the street or take the subway, she explains that there is a clear difference between say flirting and crossing the line to what would be considered a crime.
“You may find it unpleasant and you can complain, but it does not mean it is a crime, and as such, I do not want it regulated, nor by a superior moral nor by law. We must accept that there are impertinents in life. These women seem to aspire to a utopian society regulated to the smallest detail, where a man must take precautions before addressing a woman,” she adds.
Coding relationships, says Millet, is impossible, unless people become robots. Instead, importunating in public always depends on determining a person’s intentions.
“When I tried to seduce a man, sometimes I felt an attraction that was not big enough to yield immediately,” she grants. “There is a moment of doubt … Sometimes you end up yielding and sometimes you do not. While those women say that one is not always definitive, I think there are nuances.”
Millet says that the surprising thing is that the desire for censorship no longer comes from extremely conservative circles, but from women who consider themselves feminists.
The results of the current wave of sanitization in heterosexual interaction rendered the firing of an American professor because he showed images of the eighteenth-century piece of art, probably something libertine, to his students … Some of their parents had considered them pornographic.
When asked about a remark she made about how she had reacted had she been raped by someone earlier in her life, Millet said that if the violence of that act had upset me, she thinks she would have had enough moral capacity to overcome that fact and try to forget it.
“That is my personal answer. I recently read an interview with a lawyer who had been raped as a young woman and who advised her clients not to report it and go to trial, because that only makes you a prisoner of suffering,” she added.
“Except in cases where there are serious physical consequences, I believe that the mind manages to overcome the body.”
When questions about the psychological consequences of rape against women, Millet argued that they exist for some women, but not for all. “We must stop believing that women are always a victim.,” she explained.
One of the signatories of the text, the philosopher Peggy Sastre, recently wrote an essay titled “Male domination does not exist” to which Millet responds that in her opinion such domination does exist, but not everywhere.
“In our society, today and in the middle class, women have great power. In the domestic sphere, it is often they who impose their will, because of the guilt of young men and the fact of working and being financially free.”
As explained by Millet, feminists are still interested in making people believe that society is only patriarchal, when it is also matriarchal.