Tuesday 15 October 2019

'Young men shouldn't grow up thinking they are baddies' - Miriam O’Callaghan on ‘Me Too’ movement

Miriam O’Callaghan
Miriam O’Callaghan
Sorcha O'Connor

Sorcha O'Connor

Miriam O’Callaghan has said she is "very lucky" to have never experienced a ‘Me Too’ moment during her career as a broadcaster and said working alongside men has always had a positive impact on her career. 

The Prime Time presenter said she has never found herself in a situation where she has been made feel uneasy at work by a male colleague. 

She added that young men should not be made feel like they are ‘baddies’ as a result of the Me Too movement.

Speaking to RSVP magazine, she said the movement had made necessary corrections and said there was still more work to be done to reach an equal playing field. 

“I am obviously aware of other people who have had bad experiences, but I would be making stories up if I said that I have had anything similar. I have had contrary experience: men have promoted me at work and I had a wonderful father,” said the 58-year-old. 

“Dad was a feminist even though he came from a farm in Kerry and he encouraged us all to go to university. He was a great role model and I also have a great brother, husband and work colleagues in RTE and BBC.”

Miriam revealed she was hit with backlash when she posed a question on Prime Time on whether feminism was going too far nowadays and if men were being punished.

“I asked that question in the promo for Prime Time when we did an item on it and I got an awful lot of criticism online. A lot of women said, ‘I can’t believe you asked that question’ and obviously I answered them back. I said that you can ask a question without saying that the movement has gone too far. I think people are much more aware of the movement now but you also need to not terrify every young man in the country as a result,” she said. 

“Maybe some young men might be afraid to go out because of what they might say to young women. I think the correction was necessary and I don’t believe that it corrected enough. I am an unreconstructed feminist and I certainly think that we lived in an unequal world. However, I wouldn’t want young men to suffer.”

A mum of three boys, Miriam said society should not think of every man as a predator.

“I still think the correction was necessary and it needs to continue, but we can’t live in a world where every man – young, middle-aged or old – is a predator or a potential attacker. I don’t believe that. I believe that the overwhelming majority of men I know are decent kind and gentle. Overwhelmingly, I don’t think that young men should grow up thinking they are baddies from the get-go.” 

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