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The #MeToo Movement Is Hurting Women Entrepreneurs

So-called helpful initiative has turned into a vicious witch hunt against men — with serious consequences for both sexes

The #MeToo movement started as a powerful curtain-pull, revealing the misogynist underbelly of major industries.

It has turned into a male witch hunt with serious unintended consequence for both sexes.

The headlines have shifted from the shocking, yet not surprising, stories of men abusing their power over women. Now we are seeing men being victimized by the ultra-feminists. But it isn’t just men whose careers are jeopardized by the #MeToo movement’s overexuberance.

The real victims are the women these feminists vow to protect.

The #MeToo movement has weaponized the stories of victims to launch the largest man-bashing campaign this country has ever seen — just in time for Valentine’s Day.

It has ruined any chance for aspiring women to be mentored by great men and seriously hamstrings any female entrepreneur’s chance to work with male clients.

Women don’t have to worry about the glass ceiling because they can’t escape the glass box placed on them by ultra-feminists.

Since the raids started, I watched as the dynamics shifted between myself and my male colleagues, mentors, and clients.

I have worked for years to be seen as an expert and formidable professional. I am now seen as a liability.

Now, we meet with the door open. Our friendly hugs have turned into awkward handshakes. My frequent lunch invitations have gone all but extinct. All for fear of being labeled the next Matt Lauer or Harvey Weinstein.

As a 20-something female entrepreneur, I find it difficult to identify great mentors. The female mentors I crave are typically too busy running their business and their home lives to invest the time. And the many male mentors I have encountered treat me different for fear of being seen as a “gross old man.”

Being a young woman in business is hard enough without having feminists strike fear in the heart of every good man.

I have worked for years to be seen as an expert and formidable professional. I am now seen as a liability.

Women in and out of the corporate world are accustomed to being treated differently because of our sex. Sometimes it works to our advantage, and other times it handicaps our advancement. All of us may not be catcalled or booty-groped in the hall, but we have all endured less subtle forms of sexism.

One older gentleman approached me after I addressed a packed hotel ballroom of business leaders to tell me how impressed he was with my work. And before I could earnestly accept his compliment, he went onto explain it was particularly impressive given the fact that I was so young — and I was a woman.

Early in my career, I watched as male colleagues were invited out to drinks and cigars with male bosses and I was politely dismissed. Male and female clients have openly criticized me for dressing in a “distracting manner.” I’ve had what I thought were professional friendships dry up as I announced my recent marriage.

Related: This Is the Backlash to the #MeToo Movement

Former bosses have told me that I am the “pretty one” they bring with them to meetings. A manager has inappropriately kissed me. I’ve been asked to give a hand massage to one of the more powerful men in the room during a business meeting. I’ve been lured into closed-door meetings with the promise of a professional conversation and escaped unprofessional intentions.

I am what the #MeToo movement began as, but I cannot thrive in a world that the #MeToo movement has created.

What the #MeToo ultra-feminists don’t know — or perhaps we could more accurately state they don’t care to know — is what it’s like in the real world.

Feminists rail against the “good old boys club” and tout their bra-burning mantras and pink hats because they don’t have to work with men. They can be simultaneously disrespectful and ridiculous because the only time they come in contact with men of influence is from behind the barista counter.

The #MeToo feminists have lured my generation into a haze of hate and disgust for anything male and anything white.

They have made it practically criminal for a man to walk up to a woman in a public place and ask for her phone number. That would constitute harassment.

Related: Why So Many #MeToo Feminists Are Hypocrites

But if that same man is approached by a woman and doesn’t express immediate interest? Well, that’s clearly discrimination.

So, dear feminists, let me “woman-splain” for you.

We need men. We need them to be good boyfriends and husbands. We need them to be good mentors and fathers. We need them to be good bosses and employees. We need them to be good partners and clients. We need them more than we need your divisive rhetoric.

We all have our stories. It is not what happens to us that defines us, but what happens because of us.

Abuse against women is the longest standing and most popular mistreatment of humanity. We will not completely eliminate abuse, but we can lessen its grip.

We must teach our young girls what abuse looks like and feels like, and that they must never exchange their personal safety for professional promotion. We must teach our young boys to respect all women as if they were sisters or mothers, and not objects and property.

We must realize that men and women of all ages must learn and practice self-respect. And we must realize that victimizing ourselves and others will never lead to the personal and cultural advancement we all desire.

Gabrielle Bosché is president and founder of The Millennial Solution, a best-selling author, and a TEDx speaker based in Washington, D.C.