Me too. Yep, me too. In fact, I don’t know a single woman who can’t say #metoo.
Is #metoo Helping? A movement that’s been stolen from a black woman that has suddenly become viral because a celebrity said it. The problem with the movement isn’t that it’s suddenly happening more but it’s highlighting a problem that has been around forever. Speaking out about it is admirable, but it’s not changing much. While men are suddenly in a rather uncomfortable spotlight, simply naming and shaming the accusers isn’t helping. In fact, naming and shaming has become so popular there’s even a danger that it’s become “in”. We prize people speaking out, whether or not they are good themselves or even if the event occurred.
The “Cost” of Abuse
For many women who have dealt with me too situations the fact is that the damage is priceless. Our self-esteem and security can’t be bought back but this movement seems to make people believe that by naming and shaming any man who has done us wrong will do it. The truth is, most of us can buy our self-esteem and security back on our own. A classy woman holds herself above this sort of thing and doesn’t let it seep into her soul to rot and fester until such time as she can get revenge. For the me too’s this is often about payback and revenge, not about speaking up for the problem.
A good proportion of women who ascribe to “me too” are doing it for themselves. They’re doing it to feel part of something, of the wider movement and of the other women surrounding them. They want to be included, who doesn’t? While you can’t fault someone for that, you can wonder whether there’s anything more behind their desire to express their experience. A recent post showed one of the speakers at the women’s march, previously convicted of murder, of threats, and more, being cheered by thousands of women simply because she spoke up. Is everything forgiven because one man hurt her?
If we take into account that practically every woman has been in a situation to say me too then it simply shows a wider problem in society that needs to be dealt with. If society in general has accepted this behavior so far then it’s society that needs to change. If we weren’t “aware” of the problem until now then it’s our own fault for being self-centered and single minded about it. So many “if’s” and so little action.
We now have a choice that was always there, yet this movement seems to be making it’s progress based on the false assumption that it wasn’t. Women have always had the right and the choice to stand up for themselves and to say something. While society is more likely to listen now, that doesn’t change the fact that we have waited this long to do something about it. Women’s liberation started in the 1960s and even in the 1940s with the war effort women had a voice. Yet no words were said. It was accepted, part of society, normal.
The risk here is that with the popularity of such a movement people who are not in a situation that fits #metoo will simply say they were because they are more likely to be believed. Right now, we believe the victims. The accused are guilty in the court of public opinion whether they did the deed or not. The difficulty with hearsay and he said/she said situations is that they are hard to prove. We live in a society that judicially gives people the benefit of the doubt yet this movement is actively making it accusatory instead. The accuser is always right, and that is a far more dangerous thing for society at large.
In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to have a movement for this. It would simply be unacceptable and society would shun people who behaved this way much like we shun rapists and pedophiles. The aim of this movement isn’t about the individuals, but many individuals fail to see that. Even if they do see the problem being society they’re not changing anything. Standing at rally’s, marching, even being more willing to stand up and say no or to out the people who hurt us only goes so far. There is already legislature against sexual assault and harassment, there is already legislature against discrimination. Women have already won.
Some people are simply victims.
There will always be predators and prey, it’s simply the natural order. Progress, means that the victims are more willing to stand up for themselves because they have others who understand. It means that more people believe the underdog. Not just because we all “hate” the big player but because we realize that standing up is tough. There will always be bad men, there will always be victims, but judging someone simply because they are accused isn’t justice. Judging someone because “I said so” is a dangerous precedent.
While I applaud women for speaking up, I can’t help but wonder what is the next step. Women are so guilty of sexualization just like men because they feel untouchable. It’s “okay” when a woman does it because it’s less predatory and less threatening. The truth is it’s just as predatory. It all goes back to our natural instincts. We naturally admire strong sexuality because we want a strong mate and that’s healthy. Women don’t want equality with this behavior they want to become the predators instead. We’ve already won, we’re not achieving anything at this point asides from strengthening our solidarity.
What it all boils down to is Boundaries on both sides.
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