#MeToo is encouraging us to look at romance through a whole new lens.
Experts are split on whether the #MeToo movement will have a positive or negative effect on traditional gestures of love and romance – which form of the basis of Valentine’s Day celebrations.
“Safe romantic gestures – candy, cards, compliments and flowers, which are most popular forms of celebration on Valentine’s Day – might be construed as aggressive and harassment,” said Carrie Lukas, author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Women, Sex, and Feminism.”
“Given the allegations of sexual assault by prominent men, workers would be wise to proceed slowly on workplace flirtations and ensure that their approaches are open and consented to”, she said.
However, the number of people admitting to being in an office romance has fallen, and some feminist activists call that change as well as zero tolerance for unacceptable behavior in the workplace long overdue. The movement is sparking the kind of direct communication essential for love, they say.
“#MeToo will make relationships between men and women more romantic,” said women’s rights activist Jaclyn Friedman.
“If we all become more thoughtful about the care with which we treat our partners, it can only help build trust and intimacy,” said Friedman, a writer of the book “Yes Means Yes!”
The #MeToo movement has exposed men accused of sexual assault and harassment in fields including entertainment, politics and business. Dozens of prominent men have quit or been fired from high-profile posts, and police have opened investigations into some accusations of sex assault.
Thus, the movement is changing dating dynamics in important ways, said Liz Wolfe, managing editor of Young Voices, which distributes opinion pieces written by people younger than 30.
“One good aspect of the #MeToo movement might be an increased emphasis on communication when it comes to sex and romance,” Wolfe said.
However, there are those who are less optimistic. Dr. Carole Lieberman, a psychiatrist and author of “Bad Boys: Why We Love Them.” says the #MeToo movement is splashing cold water on whatever embers of romance are struggling to survive between men and women, as women become more sensitive to and less accepting of patriarchal gender norms and traditional gestures of romance.