It's OK to criticize the #MeToo movement

Self-help celebrity Tony Robbins got himself into...

Posted: Apr 16, 2018 9:25 AM
Updated: Apr 16, 2018 9:25 AM

Self-help celebrity Tony Robbins got himself into hot water last week when he suggested that many women speaking out as part of the #MeToo movement are taking advantage of the instant attention and, in doing so, turning victimhood into personal gain.

"If you use the #MeToo movement to try to get significance and certainty by attacking and destroying someone else, you haven't grown an ounce," Robbins told a crowd gathered at a self-help seminar in San Jose. "All you've done is basically use a drug called significance to make yourself feel good."

Not at all surprisingly, women around the world -- including the founder of the movement, Tarana Burke -- accused Robbins of misinterpretation, misogyny and being part of the reason such a movement is justified in the first place.

He's certainly not the first to criticize the movement, nor will he be the last: This week, designer Karl Lagerfeld said he, too, is "fed up" with #MeToo, noting that, "If you don't want your pants pulled about then don't become a model!"

But as others who have come before them have proven, including Liam Neeson and Matt Damon -- two celebrities who found themselves under attack after expressing misgivings about the movement -- challengers to #MeToo do so at their own risk.

And yet, is Robbins wrong?

Let's take a look.

Plenty of brands have swiftly moved to capitalize on #MeToo's momentum and message, including makeup brand Hard Candy, which applied to trademark #MeToo, as well as a Virginia law firm. To say that people aren't taking advantage of the #MeToo movement would be false. So would saying that people, even women, aren't uneasy about it.

In fact, one of Robbins' alleged offenses was in pointing out the flaws in the movement by suggesting that #MeToo has caused attractive women to be shunned by employers. Except there's evidence to back that up, too.

In January, the Miami Herald reported that female staffers and lobbyists have found that male legislators will no longer meet with them in person. In March, the Harvard Business Review reported that many men in finance have begun avoiding hiring, or managing, women.

What's more, one could argue that Robbins was simply speaking his truth, and what else can we expect from a man who's made a living (and a very good one -- Forbes has estimated his net worth as close to $500 million) as a self-help guru? His career has been built on telling people to take control of their power and individuality.

Of course, Robbins' instinct would be to discourage people from joining a movement that is inherently made up of victims, or at least to ask people to be sure their intentions are pure. And the fact is that #MeToo, even at its best, is about finding significance.

What the pushback surrounding Robbins' discussion of the growing backlash of the movement makes clear, however, is that #MeToo's work is far from done -- unless, of course, its point is to get people to stop talking about the issues surrounding male and female behavior entirely. Robbins ultimately came out with an apology, because what else was he supposed to do? But silencing discussion is not what leads to change. In fact, it only leads to more, and bigger, problems.

The vast majority of people who believe in or take part in #MeToo are doing it for the right reasons. And we shouldn't let Robbins' comments take away from the meaning and intent of the movement.

But it's OK to be skeptical of a movement. A good movement will stand up to those criticisms and be stronger for it. Which is why we should perhaps be thanking Robbins, and anyone else who comes along expressing reservations about either #MeToo or how people are interpreting it. Discussion will be vital to really enacting change. And so will listening -- even, perhaps especially, to opinions with which we disagree.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 348496

Reported Deaths: 7556
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24427446
DeSoto23439283
Harrison21066330
Rankin15704292
Jackson15597252
Madison11114227
Lee10855179
Jones9181169
Forrest8960160
Lauderdale8008244
Lamar719489
Lowndes7167151
Lafayette6604125
Washington5629140
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Warren4803128
Panola4801112
Marshall4725106
Pontotoc451473
Hancock438088
Union437179
Monroe4361137
Neshoba4351181
Lincoln4212116
Pike3711113
Leflore3668125
Tate354688
Alcorn353974
Sunflower350794
Adams345388
Scott344676
Yazoo342476
Copiah329868
Simpson325191
Itawamba316780
Coahoma314985
Tippah312568
Prentiss301863
Covington300184
Marion288681
Leake287875
Wayne280043
George276751
Grenada271388
Newton265964
Tishomingo240370
Winston237884
Stone234138
Jasper233148
Attala228173
Chickasaw220860
Holmes202274
Clay201154
Clarke188180
Tallahatchie185442
Calhoun183032
Smith182635
Yalobusha173141
Walthall149049
Lawrence145226
Greene141835
Amite138643
Noxubee136735
Perry135638
Montgomery133744
Carroll126831
Webster122632
Jefferson Davis118734
Tunica115827
Benton107225
Claiborne105731
Kemper103529
Humphreys101733
Franklin88324
Quitman85619
Choctaw82819
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson71928
Sharkey51818
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 589110

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson856031591
Mobile49268864
Madison37603533
Shelby27362257
Tuscaloosa27208465
Montgomery26252627
Baldwin25567329
Lee17260181
Calhoun15429334
Morgan15199291
Etowah14981370
Marshall13136235
Houston12112293
Elmore10946219
St. Clair10793252
Limestone10750158
Cullman10566205
Lauderdale10266254
DeKalb9517192
Talladega8972188
Walker7817288
Autauga7585114
Jackson7406117
Blount7382139
Colbert6721142
Coffee6382132
Dale5673117
Russell481343
Chilton4785117
Covington4763125
Franklin459081
Tallapoosa4525156
Escambia443883
Chambers3968125
Dallas3749163
Clarke371663
Marion3465107
Pike333079
Lawrence3267100
Winston299373
Bibb290965
Geneva285983
Marengo262767
Barbour252061
Pickens245762
Butler241472
Hale235978
Fayette227265
Henry214845
Monroe203041
Randolph201944
Cherokee199548
Washington185239
Macon170752
Crenshaw169458
Clay166559
Cleburne161545
Lamar151238
Lowndes145855
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa118429
Perry110828
Sumter110433
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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