'Welcome to our world, men': The Current's #MeToo panels spark debate online

The social media discourse surrounding The Current's female and male panel looking at #MeToo movement.
The Current held two discussions on #MeToo this week — one all-female, and one all-male. (David McNew/Getty Images)

As more and more people add their voices to the #MeToo moment, the discourse surrounding consent and sexual assault surges on.

It's a continuing conversation as the movement shifts to accommodate different perspectives — as made evident by the diverse response to The Current's panels (one all-female, the other all-male) on #MeToo. 

On Tuesday, The Current explored the idea of a generational divide in the #MeToo movement after an op-ed by writer Margaret Atwood received backlash over her reservations. 

Margaret Atwood is among a number of older feminists whose recent reservations about the #MeToo movement have been met with criticism (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press )

Rania El Mugammar, an artist and equity consultant who works on gender-based violence, was one of three women on our panel. She believes it's important to expand our understanding of sexual violence, and to realize that events ranging from "bad dates" to violent rape exist on a spectrum.

"Those are all part of the same culture that enables and fosters rape culture," she says. "There's room for both of these conversations to happen at the same time."

Her words struck a chord with readers and listeners.

Not everyone was happy with The Current's approach to separate our #MeToo discussions by gender.

On Wednesday, it was the men's turn to talk about their role in the #MeToo movement. 

"I think men's primary role should be to listen," Jordon Veira, an artist and youth worker, said.

"This is an opportunity for us to understand the nuance and specific ways that we can participate in various forms of violence."

'Welcome to our world, men. Women lose their livelihoods all the time because of the "unpleasant experience" of sexual harassment and violence,' says Isabella Tatar on Twitter, responding to our all-male panel on #MeToo movement. (CBC)

For criminology professor Neil Boyd, the notion that men were losing their careers over an ill-defined understanding of sexual assault or harassment didn't sit well.

"There are some times when we've crossed boundaries," he told Anna Maria Tremonti, "when we've described activities that amount to a bad date, rather than sexual assault or sexual harassment."

"People shouldn't lose their livelihood as a consequence of an unpleasant experience."

Advice columnist David Eddie agreed.

"We're talking about a person's livelihood, you're talking about their ability to put food on the table," he said. "All of a sudden that vanishes, on the basis of allegations."

Other people responding to this conversation have a different way of seeing things.

For panelist Jordon Veira, focusing the conversation around men's livelihoods, although important, is the wrong approach.

Here's his call out to how men can move this #MeToo moment forward:

Listen to the episodes:

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