Let’s discuss divisions between younger and older women over #MeToo

This week’s featured article


Where there has been solidarity and safety in numbers in the #MeToo movement, there is now also an increasingly apparent generational divide. And it’s not just among women.

Compared to their elders, younger women are seen as generally more willing to speak out about being sexually harassed, and bring a new set of expectations to their sexual relationships. There are also generational differences in approach to dating relationships, and in expectations that, if spoken, their concerns about sexual misconduct would be received without repercussion.

Baby-boomer women “took it for granted they wouldn’t be heard” by men, especially in sexual situations, said Amy Lynch, a Nashville-based consultant who helps employers navigate generational relationships in the workplace. Millennial women — those in their 20s and 30s — are more likely to have grown up in an environment supportive of gender equality, with the expectation — not always fulfilled — that they’ll be attentively listened to in those circumstances.

“I have sometimes joked that my generation is feminism’s Frankensteins,” said author and blogger Courtney Martin, 38. “Our mothers raised us to believe we deserved sexual equality, but now that we’re actually demanding it, it can seem overly entitled or sensitive to them.”

Debra Katz, a Washington lawyer specializing in cases of sexual harassment and discrimination, says younger women make up the bulk of her firm’s clients.

“Women historically felt they would immediately lose their job if they came forward with sexual harassment complaints,” Katz said. “Among the younger generation, people are not suffering in silence. … The advice they’re getting now is to come forward and report it.”

Generational differences surfaced in two highly publicized offshoots of the #MeToo movement earlier this month.

In France, there was a notable backlash — led by younger women — in response to an open letter signed by 74-year-old movie star Catherine Deneuve and dozens of other women about men being unfairly targeted by sexual misconduct allegations.

In the U.S., a woman identified as “Grace” wrote a detailed account of an encounter with comedian Aziz Ansari that left her feeling disrespected and abused. Among older women, there were suggestions that Grace should have been more vocal and assertive in dealing with what amounted to a bad date. Among younger women, there was blame for Ansari and suggestions he had pressured Grace without heeding her words and body language.

First published in The Japan Times on Jan. 30.

Warm up

One-minute chat about “my generation.”


Collect words related to “gender,” e.g., female, difference, equal.

New words

1) solidarity: unity, e.g., “The team-building exercise strengthened our solidarity.”

2) repercussion: effect or reaction, e.g., “Everything we do has repercussions.”

Guess the headline

#_____ movement is starting to show g_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _nal divides


1) How do different generations of women see things differently?

2) What may be the reason for this difference?

3) What happened in France?

Let’s discuss the article

1) What are some rights and wrongs of dating?

2) What do you think about the #MeToo movement?

3) What can be done to reduce harassment?




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