Millennials often get blamed for killing things — car ownership, home ownership, Applebees, diamonds, department stores, marriage, face-to-face interaction, hotels, offices, golf, the wine industry, beer, napkins (yes, napkins), and even the European Union — but rarely get credit when they kill things that needed to die.
One of those things is the cultural acceptance of workplace sexual abuse.
Hot-take writers can blame millennials for many, many things, and some criticism is fair. Trust me, as a millennial, I am no fan of hipsterism, especially man-buns and dopey glasses. But, the attitudes millennials bring to the workplace, their relationships, and their culture is helping to end the normalization of behavior like that exhibited by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
In fact, one can argue that millennials killed Weinstein's career.
I'll preface by saying that "millennials killed ____" articles usually use overly-broad generalizations. I'm going to do a bit of that, along with citing some polling, but bear with me.
Millennials, generally, handle relationships much differently than previous generations when it comes to equality, gender roles, and empathy for the other person. I'm not necessarily talking about the death of chivalry; I'm talking more about women feeling empowered to have an equal voice in relationships on finances, work situations, and intimacy.
This is one reason why young people, particularly young men, are cheating less than previous generations. According to the Institute for Family Studies, just 12 percent of those under age 37 have cheated on their partners, compared to 20 percent of those older than 55 and 17 percent for Generation X. We have a stronger moral compass on issues related to sex. We are the generation that grew up watching the Clinton scandal and impeachment, with many of us learning about sexual abuse even before we hit puberty. We are the generation that loved watching "Mad Men," but never wanted to emulate it.
More women, especially young women who on average are more educated than young men, are holding senior roles in the workplace. Fewer young men seem to desire the sort of situation Weinstein developed for himself, and more young women are being brought up not to tolerate it.
In fact, it's rather fitting that a millennial woman stood up to him and exposed him. The woman in the now-infamous hotel tape, Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, is a 24-year-old model.
On the other hand, older actresses and supposed feminists in Hollywood — even those to whom Weinstein was no longer a threat to their careers — refused to expose him and stayed silent for a long period after these accusations were made public. They are the ones leading the "not everybody knew" mutterings that at this point are quite hard to believe.
So, what caused this cultural shift toward not tolerating this behavior? In short, the worst in millennials has also helped bring out their best qualities.
Millennials, generally, get offended more easily than previous generations; they are mocked for being "triggered" social justice warriors who need "safe spaces." These accusations are not representative of the whole group, but there is little doubt that the vast majority are more sensitive to past generations to what they see as social injustices and systematic oppression.
While certainly some on the Left and on campus take accusations of cultural sexism and racism way too far — a left-wing professor just released a study saying robots are sexist — there is little doubt that this oversensitivity may have helped create a proper sense of sensitivity against things like men using their positions to curry sexual favors.
Unlike Hollywood liberals who were talking a good game at award shows about fighting against sexism and misogyny while one of their own was sexually abusing women, millennials are living their values. Most young Americans don't just talk about ending sexism and misogyny; we're trying to live it in our own lives. Killing Harvey Weinstein's career is just one step for millennials in killing future Harvey Weinsteins and the culture of sexual abuse.
Ron Meyer (@Ron4VA) is a Washington Examiner columnist and the editor of Red Alert Politics (a sister publication of the Washington Examiner). He's also a supervisor of Loudoun County, Va. (R-Broad Run).