In #MeToo World, Dating A Whole New Game For Many Mainers

By Ray Routhier
Portland Press Herald, Maine

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The #Metoo era has become, for some, a tense dating environment.

Portland Press Herald, Maine

Lauren Kennedy has come to view dating as something of a burden — something she’s not sure is worth the bother right now.

The University of Southern Maine senior is disturbed by some of the dialogue on social media about the #MeToo movement, where critics personally attack women who have gone public with accusations of assault or harassment.

“The reason I haven’t been dating lately is because of all of this,” said Kennedy, 24, of Portland, pointing to a lack of respect for women, fostered by public figures, including the president, who have been accused of harassment.

“At the same time, it’s liberating,” she said. “I realize I don’t need to date to be happy.”

Chris Allen
AGE: 46
HOME: Portland
OCCUPATION: Graphic artist
“It’s helped me so much to understand what women go through.”

That’s one way to deal with the tense dating environment that’s resulted from an impassioned public discussion about sexual misconduct, harassment and what is or isn’t appropriate behavior.

The highly charged climate has been fueled by the Hollywood sex scandals of last fall, the #MeToo movement and the polarizing presidency of Donald Trump, as well as online dating sites and apps that can embolden crude or belligerent behavior.

In the relatively small dating pool that is Maine, some singles have reacted by dating less or worrying more about whom they’ll meet and what they should or shouldn’t say.

Some women say the current climate has prompted them to stand up to unwanted advances and be more selective when choosing dates. Some men feel unfairly persecuted by the current movement, while others say they are glad to get an understanding of the humiliations so many women have gone through.

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