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writing for godot

No, It’s Not You, Too

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Written by Jeannette de Beauvoir   
Thursday, 26 October 2017 09:35

mce_markerTo all men, but especially to the feminists, the allies, those who respect women: please stop posting “me, too,” in the online effort to indicate the magnitude of the culture of sexual harassment. I’m sorry, but this isn’t about you. I know that all your life you’ve been taught that everything is about you, but this one isn’t. Really.

I’m not saying that you personally haven’t experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence. And if you did, I’m sorry that it happened to you. And it’s not that we don’t appreciate your empathy.

It’s just that this has nothing to do with you.

What we’re talking about is a culture, not an individual act. It isn’t about specific abuses. It’s not about that one time that something went terribly wrong in your world. As a friend wrote on Facebook, “It’s not about storms. It’s about climate.”

It’s about growing up and living in a culture that accepts and rewards predatory behavior of men toward women. A culture that works by diminishing women. If a man does something that hurts or distresses or even simply makes a woman uncomfortable, it’s supposed to be okay. If we call him on the behavior, then we’re too sensitive, or we have no sense of humor. Even in our attempts to regain dignity, we have it stripped from us.

Your experience isn’t my experience, and comparing my lifetime of sexual harassment to a single event in your life diminishes my experience still more. It makes me feel even smaller than I did before you decided to chime in.

I know that you’re probably hurt by our rebuffing your attempts at solidarity. I know your intentions are good. But rushing in and waving your hand changes the conversation (yet again) and makes it (yet again) about you. How rotten your experience was, and how brave you are to stand with your sisters here.

The thing is, we didn’t have one rotten experience. No one can put a number to the times or the ways that this culture rewards sexual harassment and demeans the women and girls it targets. We don’t have one terrible tale to recount: we have a lifetime of terrible tales. We have a lifetime of listening for footsteps behind us on city streets at night. We have a lifetime of watching women “put in their place.” We have a lifetime of experiencing slut-shaming. We have a lifetime of being called “honey” by men we don’t know, and being told we have no sense of humor if we don’t participate in demeaning ourselves. We have a lifetime of living in a culture that sees women as disposable.

So stop pretending that you know what we’re talking about. Stop pretending that your experience is somehow equivalent, that when you post #MeToo it makes you sensitive and connected to women. Stop pretending that this one is about you.

Want to stand in solidarity? Want to create change? If you really do, then listen. Bear witness. Hear us. Ask us what we need. Work to change the culture.

But the first step in changing the culture is accepting that it isn’t all about you. Because that’s what got us here in the first place.

 

 

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

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Founder, Reader Supported News

 
0 # LionMousePudding 2017-10-26 21:30
Brava
 

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