Condoleezza Rice, #MeToo

Why Condoleezza Rice Is So Wrong

By Grace Lidia Suárez

Condoleezza Rice said, on CNN:

Former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that while she believes the #MeToo movement is “a good thing,” people need “to be a little bit careful” about how they respond to it.

“Let’s not turn women into snowflakes. Let’s not infantilize women,” Rice insisted during an interview with CNN’s David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” which airs at 7 ET Saturday night.

Rice said she didn’t want “to get to a place that men start to think, ‘Well, maybe it’s just better not to have women around.’ I’ve heard a little bit of that. And it, it worries me,” she told Axelrod.

Following last year’s downfall of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein after sexual harassment and assault allegations, people have begun sharing their stories of sexual harassment and abuse, using the hashtag #MeToo.

Rice, the first African-American woman to become secretary of state, was careful to emphasize that she didn’t want to “belittle” women who have shared their stories of sexual harassment “because we’re all different.”

Asked by Axelrod if she had ever been a victim of harassment, Rice said she’d “certainly had people say inappropriate things.”

“I’ve certainly had people suggest that maybe we should just go out — and you know — and situations in which it was somebody more senior than I,” she said.

“I’ve never had anyone do anything that I would consider assault. But I don’t know a woman alive who hasn’t had somebody say or do something that was inappropriate at best and aggressive at worst,” she added.

I think she’s wrong. Absolutely wrong!

The reaction of Jamil Smith is right on.

“Let’s not turn women into snowflakes,” said Condoleezza Rice about #MeToo in a @CNN interview. “Let’s not infantilize women.” What an unbelievably irresponsible and stupid thing to say.

This tweet puts it very well.

@JamilSmith @CNN Women of that era (I include myself) learned to “deal with it.” It was the only way to get by/ahead. But that doesn’t mean it should continue to happen. As women we should want something better for those who come after us.

In a nutshell, what Rice is saying is that if we complain about men being louts (or worse) we risk being ostracized. Men will think “it’s just better not to have women around.”

Just think about that. What if Blacks had been told (which they were, by racists), “if you complain about N jokes, white men will say ‘maybe it’s better not to have Blacks around.'”

I wish Axelrod had had the guts to take Rice to the race scenario and see how she would have reacted. Instead, he just sat there and nodded, doing a wonderful imitation of a potted plant.

Here’s Bree Newsome, who always says what I’m thinking.

& It’s actually men who are infantilized. The basic underlying argument is that men are incapable of controlling themselves, so it is the responsibility of women to endure violations against their bodies

I am very disappointed in Condoleezza Rice. Women in her position, who at this point should have nothing to lose and no one to fear, should be speaking out strong and loud. We owe it to the young women who cannot yet speak out.

I am equally disappointed in Catherine Deneuve, for the same reasons. The idea that men somehow have a right to “pester” women for sex is archaic.

This terse smackdown from Mona Eltahawy sums up why Deneuve is so wrong.

Sexual harassment and abuse are wrong, everywhere and regardless of who commits them. All women deserve to be free of sexual harassment and abuse. If Deneuve and her fellow signatories cannot grasp those simple facts, I suggest that France begin sex education workshops that will help them understand “European sexual norms and social codes.”

Refusing to put up with unwanted sexual advances is not being a snowflake. It is being a human being who demands respectful treatment. It is men who are being infantilized by the idea that they are such children they cannot control their urges and that it’s up to women to be the adults.

The rules are incredibly easy:

  • Keep your hands to yourself
  • Don’t ask subordinates to go out
  • Never ask anyone to go out a third time if you were turned down twice
  • If you think a comment may be out of line, it is
  • When in doubt, ask your sister or your mother

And finally, here’s a zinger from Charlotte Clymer, who is truly in a position to know how men think.

There’s this attempt to make it seem like women are complex ciphers when it comes to sexual consent, and only when the planets are aligned on the third Tuesday of the third month of the third millennium or some shit will a guy know what’s appropriate.

Bullshit. They know.

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