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: 500709

Reported Deaths: 9977
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34312538
DeSoto32080403
Hinds31924627
Jackson24482379
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Lee15530235
Madison14574280
Jones13838242
Forrest13447251
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Panola6520131
Marshall6462134
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Pike5817152
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George496779
Scott472698
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Tate4584110
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Clarke292494
Calhoun279346
Holmes267887
Smith263850
Yalobusha233747
Tallahatchie227151
Greene219048
Walthall218763
Lawrence212440
Perry205356
Amite205155
Webster202746
Noxubee186640
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171542
Carroll168838
Tunica159439
Benton148738
Kemper141941
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Claiborne132437
Humphreys129238
Franklin120028
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64020
Issaquena1937
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 817054

Reported Deaths: 15320
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1145501922
Mobile724601333
Madison52172694
Shelby37533348
Baldwin37192547
Tuscaloosa35044606
Montgomery34067734
Lee23195245
Calhoun22205476
Morgan20754376
Etowah19811497
Marshall18317302
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St. Clair15983339
Cullman15383292
Limestone15298198
Elmore15161284
Lauderdale14225294
Talladega13802276
DeKalb12622260
Walker11162369
Blount10162175
Autauga9954146
Jackson9844182
Coffee9195191
Dale8880185
Colbert8826201
Tallapoosa7071198
Escambia6764130
Covington6699183
Chilton6627161
Russell627959
Franklin5955105
Chambers5567142
Marion4982126
Dallas4936200
Clarke474583
Pike4722105
Geneva4566126
Winston4502103
Lawrence4296117
Bibb424086
Barbour356676
Marengo337789
Monroe331463
Randolph328763
Butler325696
Pickens315682
Henry311965
Hale311088
Cherokee301760
Fayette291879
Washington251351
Cleburne247360
Crenshaw244375
Clay241768
Macon232363
Lamar222047
Conecuh185853
Coosa179739
Lowndes174564
Wilcox167939
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Perry138340
Sumter132738
Greene126644
Choctaw88127
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