Tony Groves

I’m about to mansplain something. I could use the trope – ‘As a father of two daughters’ – but that would only mildly deflect from my obvious attempts to impose my male worldview on to a female issue.

I could say that my favourite book of the last year is Mary Beard’s Women & Power – A Manifesto, but that would be seen for the weak attempt to garner credibility that it is.

So no, I’m holding my hands up and admitting from the outset that I am mansplaining.

The #MeToo ‘phenomenon’ has not gone too far. It is not even a phenomenon and it isn’t a reckoning either. I’m sorry, it’s just not.

A phenomenal speech at the Golden Globes is not a reckoning. A handful of men losing their jobs is not a reckoning. Thousands of phenomenal women (and men) telling their stories AND being believed is not a reckoning. Me and you no longer being able to watch House of Cards is not a fupping reckoning.

For so many people to so quickly take the line that it’s gone too far, or its become a witch-hunt is nothing but a patriarchal hegemony reasserting itself under the guise of #NotAllMen.

Unless we look at our workplaces, our social structures and ourselves and then callout the power imbalances, the inappropriate behaviours and the personal blindness, then we are not any closer to a reckoning then we were a few months ago.

#MeToo isn’t a destination, it’s a step on a journey. Getting off the path because it’s gone “too far” is just letting ourselves off the hook.

In Ireland we are hours, maybe days, away from the wording on a referendum to repeal the 8th amendment. In less than six months we will get to vote on this, and it’ll pass. And it won’t be a reckoning. It’s a simple matter of numbers. The baby boom generation are now in the ascendency. Those of my age are the most significant voting bloc in the country today.

The 35-45yr olds are beginning to realise they hold the reins of power. Even the Taosieach is one  of The Pope’s Children. So it’ll pass. But the wording might echo the #MeToo backlash, by saying that full bodily autonomy for women is “going too far”.

I even heard the echo of Donald Trump in his (thankfully) ill fated attempts to destroy Obamacare; the Trumpist language of repeal and replace has crept into the Irish abortion debate. I’d argue it should be a more Irish repeal and feck off. But you might think I’m going too far.

Think about it again. How can calls to stop sexual harassment go too far? Why is an awkward conversation about something that was or wasn’t ‘just horseplay’ going too far? Where is the line?

The only thing that’s gone too far now is the call to halt progress. Rosa Parks wasn’t too tired to give up her seat. She was tired of inequality, and yet there were those in the NAACP who said she had gone too far. They were wrong; we can all see that now.

#MeToo is, as The Badass Feminist Coloring Book author Ijeoma Oluo explains, a women smacking away at the tip of an iceberg with a small ice-pick and not even getting close to what is below the surface. It is not a phenomenon and it is not a reckoning. But it might be the start of both.

If I know anything it is that I know nothing. So I question myself, as a husband, a father, a friend and a work colleague. I’m not going too far when I say I have gone too far and overstepped lines I pretended not to see. I could play my Lad Card, or I could use the locker room talk defence, but that would be more mansplaining, and there should be a reckoning for that.

Tony Groves is the co-host of the Echo Chamber Podcast and blogs at EchoChamberPod. You can Subscribe to the Echo Chamber Podcast by clicking here for iTunes or here For SoundCloud.

92 thoughts on “Mansplaining #MeToo

        1. f_lawless

          I presume you saw Peterson’s interview on Channel 4 with Cathy Peterson? Makes for very compelling viewing despite the interviewer’s incessant attempts to misrepresent him.

          My own musings, naive as they probably are, are that if feminism means encouraging a greater understanding and compassion between the sexes, then I’m all for it -but if it means seeing men as the enemy, then its just sewing more division.

    1. Nigel

      So there’s something wrong about being against sexual harassment in the workplace? I guess it’s a virtue, and if you say it out loud you’re signalling it which means – oh no! – you’re virtue signalling! Which is bad! Which means being against sexual harassment in the workplace is bad! You silly billy you.

      1. Andrew

        Who said there is anything wrong with being against sexual harassment in the workplace or anywhere else?
        There are employment laws too of course. They do exist.
        But I suppose a twitter #tag and endless wittering on the internet is much more important.

        1. Nigel

          I’m sorry, perhaps I misread a negative or critical attitude into your comment? The phrases you used are generally not associated with full-throated unironic support for the positions expressed. Feel free to clarify if I took you up wrong.

          1. Clampers Outside!

            What laws do you wish introduced to improve this “bang up job” Nigel? Maybe point out the performance issues of the current “bang up job” laws before proceeding, for clarification of your point, of course.

          2. Andrew

            I actually don’t know what you are talking about Nigel. Do you?
            Yes, my comment was critical.
            I’m not sure where you’re coming from.
            Some people can be racist and some people can be sexist. They will always exist.A #tag won’t change that and there is legislation to protect people. What else do you specifically want?
            If Tony is so, so concerned with the fate of women where is his witterings on Iran? Where is his support for women who literally risked their lives on the streets of Tehran, some of whom are now missing.
            Women in Ireland or most places in the western world don’t need the likes of Tony grandstanding for them. The women in Iran could use some help. The women working their fingers to the bone in China and Bangladesh to manufacture tat for western markets could also do with some support.
            The won’t be able to give Tony a thumbs up or like on Twitter or give him a virtual pat on the back on broadsheet though.
            So what’s the point in that I suppose?

          3. Nigel

            Ask Andrew about the law situation, Clampers, he brought it up. All I see is more people attacking other people for talking about a particular subject, in this case sexual harassment in the workplace. Andrew doesn’t like Tony writing about it, or people talking about it on social media. In the tired and repetitive pattern of criticising people for saying things that are correct in the wake of monstrous wrongs rather than the wrongs themselves. Now both you and Andrew are telling other people what they should focus on, something else that you both approve of, rather than this subject, which apparently you don’t. The irony of focusing on telling other people what they should be focusing on instead of the thing they’re focusing on is too tangled to unravel, but it’s a doozie.

          1. Andrew

            My name is Andrew,. I assume yours is not MKG985 and the €20 is imaginary and worthless.
            As worthless as this posturing on the internet.

        2. The Ghost of Starina

          “What about women in Iran/Saudi/India” is a common diversionary tactic by those who wish the status quo to remain. They don’t actually give a toss about the well-being women in Iran.

          1. Andrew

            What status quo are you talking about? The patriarchal hegemony?
            I’m sorry you see the plight of women; who are suffering real oppression in other countries, as a mere ‘diversion’.
            It would make one wonder how genuine your concern for women is in the first place.

          2. anne

            Yeah tis worse over there.. shur what harm in a bit of groping & sexual harassment & unequal pay & no say over your own body & & etc. etc.

  1. Mensonge

    Speaking as one who possesses a womb, wombs have no place whatsoever in the Constitution. Simple, straightforward repeal of this amendment that has done such harm to women is the only just action.

  2. Eric Cartman

    Mansplaining isnt a thing
    Not all Men are predators
    its a witch hunt of men, using the likes of harvey weinstein who has actually committed crimes to end the careers of men who havent, every accusation believed , guilty till proven innocent


    1. Eline

      1. Yes it is
      2. No they aren’t, why would anyone think they were and how is this relevant?
      3. Just shut up

  3. MKG985

    The first Tony piece I ever fully agreed with. He’s right, the few repercussions are nothing in the grand scheme of things.

  4. The Ghost of Starina

    here, here. You’re absolutely right, it is only a step in a long, long process of societal change. Hollywood will have its scapegoats and then continue on, business-as-usual. Self-congratulations on acheiving a “phenomenon” will only lead to further complacency.

    Fight on, my sisters and brothers!

    1. Daisy Chainsaw

      Weinstein will collect an Oscar by 2025 as producer of Best Picture. By then he’ll have been” punished enough” and eased back onto the A list the way Mel Gibson was.

      Meanwhile, Ashley Judd’s career will still be stalled.

      1. anne

        Hope not. I can’t watch Mel Gibson in a movie anymore after hearing him screaming at the girlfriend. He’s a total dipso but that’s no excuse.

  5. Kevin Quinn

    For those of us who want to live in a fair society, it has gone too far when the burden of proof for life-destroying allegations shifts from the accuser to the accused. When I hear some women (but definitely #notallwomen) saying, well, it’s acceptable for men to suffer punishment for false or exaggerated accusations because it’s part of a general rebalancing and anyway now they know what it’s like to be a woman, I think, damn, I thought we were in this together. So, Tony, for the sake of a fairer society, please go on condemning disgraceful behaviour, but make sure you’re not pandering to the enemy.

    1. Barry the Hatchet

      What sort of punishment are you talking about exactly? Because I struggle to identify anyone who has actually been punished as a result of “Me Too”. The punishment for sex offences is a prison sentence and the burden of proof in that regard remains as high as it has ever been. All we are seeing here is some people being subject to slightly awkward press interviews (not a punishment) and some people losing out on work (a clear commercial and employment decision – not a punishment).

      And I have not seen a single person argue that it is in any way acceptable for someone to suffer punishment for false or exaggerated accusations. I do see a lot of straw men though.

      1. Nigel

        One man just got convicted for abusing 150 girls since 1992, and it could have been stopped at any time if someone had actually listened to one of the victims and taken them seriously rather than as threats to the reputations of institutions and important men. To say nothing of our own history of ignoring victims to protect good names. But yes, Me Too is threatening the reputations of hypothetical men unjustly accused everywhere.

          1. Nigel

            In a choice between a man accused of sexually assaulting women and a woman whose husband was accused of sexually assaulting women you went after the woman. In a comment about a man found guilty of raping girls you randomly bring up a woman who wasn’t ever accused of such a thing. There’s a type of consistency there I suppose.

          2. Nigel

            So, either you’re luxuriating in the issue of sexual harassment as a means of tagging gotchas over the female candidate that lost the election a year ago, or you genuinely think you’re making a good point here. Except I think maybe the gotcha is the point? Which is it? Malicious or stupid? Or both? Either way, it’s clear you take the issue about as seriously as any other wannabe edgelord.

            (Note the guy was later actually fired not, y’know, supported in a run for the Senate.)

          3. Nigel

            Also you seem to keep forgetting that the guy who was accused of sexual assault multiple times won after you spent all your time attacking his female opponent, who wasn’t. And then Republicans tried to put a man accused of child rape into the Senate. But sure, this story just came out about Hilary, who should have fired that guy straight away, but didn’t, so, yeah. I mean, Larry Nassar and that guy who just resigned from the RNC after decades of sexual misconduct they really pale in comparison, don’t they?

          4. Clampers Outside!

            Wow! Excusing her now.

            Allow me go again…
            So what you are saying is… Hillary is still fit for Pres in your view. Amazing really. Double standards out the whazoo!

            As before the rest is you.

          5. Nigel

            No but you do like to keep bringing her up and I have no problem with you reminding us who and what you excuse.

          6. Nigel

            Already said it. Twice. I know I use a lot of words and you have difficulty following relatively simple arguments but c’mon.

      2. Rob_G

        Aziz Ansari’s reputation was put through the wringer over a slightly disappointing evening between two consenting adults.

        1. Nigel

          A lot of men really didn’t like the implications of that story, as if suddenly sensing the edges of a vast sea of female experience of which they were completely ignorant.

          1. rotide

            That’s really not why a lot of men (and women) didn’t like that story.

            Trying to frame it any other way is silly.

          2. Nigel

            Sorry rotide I didn’t mean to suggest there was just one reason why men (and women) didn’t like the story. That’s just one that jumped out at me.

    2. Eline

      We’re not talking about false or exaggerated accusations. Stop saying that.
      Some might be false, and that’s horrible, we all agree on that I think, but it’s rare.

      It’s just sad that while false accusations of sexual assault are so much rarer than actual sexual assault itself, men (and women) get protected from all accusations because it might be one of those extremely rare false accusations, but women (and men) don’t get protected, and not seldom get ruined for something as common as sexual assault (forced to quit job, to move, gets bullied and humiliated etc. etc., there are numerous of SA victims who commit suicide, if their environment had just showed some sympathy for the victim, or even left him/her alone, these people probably could’ve lived with their horrible fate -women are often quite hard to break-).

      Yes we should be in this together, women protect men all the time, and even now, in #metoo, women are fighting each other because prefer to keep our men happy, let’s not forget that. So when we need you, don’t turn your back all of a sudden.

      If you can’t handle the shift that’s now happening then I’m sorry for you but you might need to grow a spine. And if you don’t know how to do this, go find a woman in your neighborhood and she’ll help you with it.

          1. Bob

            Due process working correctly allows for the guilty to free so long as the innocent are not punished unjustly. The system works as intended, even if unfortunately that let’s the guilty off the hook on a regular basis.

    3. realPolithicks

      “I think, damn, I thought we were in this together”

      When did you start thinking this? I’m guessing most women don’t feel this way.

  6. f_lawless

    Maybe it’s not that the #MeToo campaign has gone too far as such, but rather that it’s gone about as far as it can go as a tool to promote positive awareness between the sexes. Is the #MeToo phenomenon leading to constructive dialogue between men and women? Perhaps it is, but if not, then I think the end result will be more polarisation.

  7. postmanpat

    You can still watch House of Cards. Just download it on BitTorrent. That and every Woody Allan film when they also get pulled from Netflix and discs from the shelves (for the old timers out there), Also every movie from Roman Polanski. and every movie or TV show made by and/or staring celebrities who have publicly defended him so that’s, Woody Allan (again), Whoopi Goldberg, Terry Gilliam , Guillermo del Toro ,Michael Mann ,David Lynch ,Tilda Swinton ,Adrien Brody ,John Landis ,Martin Scorsese ,Sam Mendes ,Kim Cattrall ,and GASP! ..Meryl Streep ?!?! . Meryl Streep ? hummmm? that name rings a bell , she’s that feminist actress hero right? Ditto spotity, ITunes, CDs music from underage sex perverts, ie The music of Aerosmith, the music of Bowie, the music of Led Zeppelin etc, etc, . If you really want to split hairs, the music of Lennon and McCarthy. (they frequented brothels back in the day, as did plenty of other respected artists which sexist and exploitive of women depending of who you talk to) not that there stuff was on ITunes last I checked but still. I mean, the list goes on and on. Thank god for peer to peer and illegal downloading. I never saw Manhattan or all of China Town…I might want to some day.

  8. rotide

    Didn’t Listrade write an article about this exact subject a few months ago that was saying exactly the same thing without all the virtue signalling and hysterical finger pointing?

    I can’t find it but Tony would do well to look it up


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