LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Here's what 'Me Too' is about

Posted

To the editor:

(re: “A pendulum swing too far,” Jan. 18)

Last week’s editorial on the “Me Too” movement does a disservice to the sacrifice and courage of the many women who have come forward to tell their stories of sexual assault, harassment and intimidation in the workplace, and demand accountability.

The timing is peculiar. The moment that a woman (Erica Vladimer) alleges sexual assault by state Sen. Jeffrey Klein, The Riverdale Press asks if “the pendulum is swinging too far?” 

Sure, the allegation against Mr. Klein brings the “Me Too” movement “home” in a sense. But was the movement not worthy of an editorial before Mr. Klein’s appearance on the stage? Why wait until an allegation of misconduct against a prominent local politician to weigh in on this topical editorially? This suggests that only stories about the most publicly powerful men are worthy of opining about.

We can all be sure, however, that there are many women readers of the paper who have suffered sexism, misogyny and sexual crimes at the hands of men in the workplace who are less well-known than Jeffrey Klein, but whose lives have been every bit as adversely affected as Erica Vladimer claims hers to have been.

In its first editorial on this monumentally important topic of justice for women, does The Press really want its primary message and emphasis to be the bemoaning of a looming miscarriage of justice, as unfortunate as such an occurrence will be? The Press pleads that “everyone, good or bad, must get a fair shake,” reducing victims and victimizers to bland sameness.

In human affairs of this magnitude, there are going to be missteps and slip-ups — without question, there will be the occasional story that is not based in fact, the occasional man who suffers unjustly. Yes, investigations should occur, care must be taken, due process must be honored. But in putting immediate emphasis on worrying about the reputation of men, don’t we risk continuing to toss out the lives of women, willy nilly, ad nauseam?

This editorial insufficiently emphasizes the structures of sexism and misogyny, and gives little more than lip service to the profound ways in which eons of male domination of public and private life have confined and damaged the lives of generation upon generation of women.

In suggesting that “one big (false) claim” could undo the forward momentum in justice and rights for women that the “Me Too” movement and feminist struggles in general represent, this editorial lacks vision and an embrace of social movements.

It seems to put the onus for the success of the movement on the honesty of each and every woman, rather than the appropriate and non-criminal behavior of men. 

It’s disappointing to see The Press taking such a pinched and legalistic view of a movement for collective liberation of women around the world.

Jennifer Scarlott

Want to share your opinion? Send us your thoughts to letters@riverdalepress.com.