This is the full audio recording of a debate at Battle of Ideas Stockholm on 18 November 2017, hosted by Kulturhuset Stadsteatern. This was a very passionate debate about a difficult subject.
What should we make of this? Many say the public naming of, mainly, male creeps is necessary, since the judicial system has, over and over again, proved ineffective or even unwilling when it comes to dealing with women’s experiences of oppression. But while calling out harassment is said to be empowering, there are concerns that there is a danger of a name-and-shame witch-hunt, with calls to blacklist named individuals for behaviour of various levels of seriousness. In the US, there is a spreadsheet circulating with the names of dozens of men who work in journalism, titled ‘Shitty media men’, containing anonymous and unverified allegations of everything from creepiness to criminality, which has already led to the sacking and disgrace of one well-known literary editor. Some worry that conflating a wide range of behaviours can dilute the response to the most serious incidents.
Is #MeToo a valuable way for the everywoman to show solidarity with victims and raise awareness of the broader problems of sexual harassment everywhere? Or does it stir up the gender wars, exaggerating the idea that most men are sexual predators and most women their victims? What does #MeToo reveal about deeper cultural trends?
freelance journalist; producer and reporter for Sweden’s public service radio