The fall of Harvey Weinstein and other celebrity sex monsters feels like a cultural turning point. (STEVE CRISP/REUTERS)
Sunday, November 26, 2017, 5:00 AM
The fall of Harvey Weinstein and other celebrity sex monsters feels like a cultural turning point. The social contract between men and women is being rewritten before our eyes. There is a new resolve to make the workplace more respectful and equitable for women - for everyone.
But there is also panic in the air, which could ruin this #metoo moment.
The harassment scandals have prompted frenzied reactions:
Farhad Manjoo at the New York Times says he has reached the point where "I seriously, sincerely wonder how all women don't regard all men as monsters to be constantly feared." Does Manjoo include himself? Are his female colleagues at the Times suddenly in constant fear of him?
Niobe Way, a psychology professor at NYU, told NPR that the only way to address the harassment blight is to resocialize little boys: "We essentially raise boys in a culture that asks them to disconnect from their core humanity."
The panic has even struck the Girl Scouts, who warned parents that their daughters don't "owe anyone a hug" this holiday season. Parents who insist a little girl give grandma or grandpa a hug for a present can set her up to believe "she 'owes' another person physical affection because they bought her something."
Before we consider all men guilty of harassment or abuse until proven innocent, a reality check is in order. Most of the sensational harassment cases in the media involved high-profile men working in unusual environments with little or no accountability. That suggests they are atypical.