Against the tide, Venstre deputy leader Inger Støjberg claimed yesterday that the MeToo movement and emerging discussions around sexism in Denmark have started to paint “all men as sex-hungry and abusive monsters”.
Støjberg, who got used to dividing opinion as the former immigration and integration minister, decried a loss of “nuance” in the debate, claiming that she “would not want to be a man in 2020”. Her comments were made into a Facebook post early yesterday morning.
It is not the first time that some of Støjberg’s statements have come under scrutiny, and already a number of politicians have distanced themselves from her claims.
Denmark (finally) catches the wave
Her Facebook post follows the emergence of the MeToo movement in Denmark, which was sparked off by TV hostess Sophie Linde last month. She claimed in August that a DR executive threatened to torpedo her career if she did not give him oral sex as an 18-year-old.
Since then, a number of women in the media and politics have come forward to share their own experiences of sexism within their respective industries.
It is within this backdrop that Støjberg made her remarks. She claims she fears that the current discussion risks taking the emphasis away from serious cases of abuse.
“A good old-fashioned compliment”
“It has simply gone too far when we see examples of completely innocent compliments about a woman’s appearance being classified as sexism,” wrote Støjberg.
“I honestly believe the world would be a really sad place if men no longer dare to compliment a woman, for fear that it might be perceived wrong and that he therefore risks being hung out to dry.”
Such comments echo much of the conservative rhetoric that has followed MeToo movements across the globe.
Let them eat cake
Despite claiming that she wishes to keep the debate “focused” on ‘real’ cases of abuse, many of her fellow politicians have criticised her comments.
Twenty-two members of Venstre have since come out to assert that MeToo should not be shut down.
Among them was Venstre leader Jakob Ellemann-Jensen, who signalled his support for Sophie Linde and the MeToo movement on Instagram, stating that “a problem must be recognised if it is to be manageable”.
Since then Støjberg has taken over as acting leader, as Elleman-Jensen is on sick-leave.