Organizers of the Women's March spent last year confirming suspicions their nascent movement would represent only the interests of progressive feminists, lurching radically leftward with each new activism initiative they undertook. That seems likely to continue on Sunday as they commemorate the anniversary of last year's historic marches.
As summer turned to fall, another women's movement emerged, this time with a narrower focus on exposing persistent male sexual predation in the workplace.
From #MeToo, the Women's March and its allies in the broader feminist movement can learn a valuable lesson. In turn, leaders of #MeToo should look to the Women's March for a masterclass in the dangers of self-isolation.
Harvey Weinstein's downfall emboldened women around the world to publicly share their experiences with other powerful men who abused imbalanced dynamics to abuse female workers, felling a series of giants across a wide swath of industries. The resonance of the matter at hand – sexual misconduct in the workplace – gave #MeToo a rare opportunity to transcend party lines, building a coalition of women from both sides of the aisle and everywhere in between.
It's arguable that #MeToo's markedly broad coalition allowed the movement to tackle a problem that's plagued women for years with an efficacy contemporary feminists could only dream of wielding.
In a matter of months, the movement has rocked the landscape of Hollywood, the media, and Capitol Hill. That's thanks in part to the work of feminists, but also to the work of women outside the feminist community who (like most of us) would hesitate to associate with it. When it comes to #MeToo, most women have clearly deemed the cause worthy.
There are new indications #MeToo risks being overtaken by the same activists who have driven the feminist movement out of the mainstream. Such an outcome seems almost inevitable given that the women best positioned to lead #MeToo into 2018 and beyond are educated urbanites working in media and entertainment.
But it doesn't have to be that way.
From #MeToo, the Women's March should discern that women accomplish more together, not separated by political disagreements that divide reasonable people who are otherwise united in seeking to advance the cause of their sex. From the Women's March, #MeToo should discern that excluding women from causes that purport to represent their interests over political disagreements hurts those causes more than it helps.
For years now, the work of progressive feminists has landed them on the political fringe. They suffer a credibility deficit with most moderates and conservatives. That's bad for women, and the exclusionary tactics of the Women's March (which once seemed almost interested in transcending party lines) are evidence of this. In turn, the more #MeToo begins to resemble the contemporary feminist movement, the narrower its coalition will be, and the less credibility it will wield outside the confines of the Democratic Party. That, too, would be bad for women.