The #metoo hashtag is trending as a response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault allegations that were made last week. Many women are standing up and asserting that they’ve also dealt with sexual harassment or something worse. I can’t stay silent, I’m speaking up on behalf of all women and I think it’s safe to say we (women) have all dealt with inappropriate comments, probably from the beginning of time, that being, when we got our first training bra.
Listen, we’ve always been told, “cover up” or “your outfit is too suggestive”. We’ve been given the unimaginable task of helping guys behave or risk hearing, “well can you blame him? look at how you presented yourself.”
I want to know who’s having talks with boys and young men about how to act when a female is talking to you. Here’s step one, look her in the eyes. Step two, show her the level of respect you think YOU deserve.
The mixed messages never end…from middle school and into college I was a cheerleader and the schools I cheered for were OK with my skirt being just below my butt crease. I was wearing the schools stamp of approval in the form of the schools initials or mascot on my uniform. Go get the school excited about the game in your very short skirt. Meanwhile, a boy saying inappropriate things about what he thought of me, to me or behind my back in a locker room…that was deemed to be fine and dandy. B/c on one hand, I’m dressing a certain way, as OK’d by my school, but on the other hand, that must imply something to every guy I walked by.
The female body is amazing and beautiful, but it doesn’t belong to anyone other than her. The “boys will be boys” and “locker room talk” that’s been passed down from generation to generation as OK — it’s just not OK. Getting away with assault with a slap on the wrist can’t be the norm. I’m glad people are outraged over the Harvey Weinstein situation, they should be. We all should be outraged. However, we also elected a man president who had “locker room talk” and said it was OK to grab women by their private parts b/c we want that. Explained away as “locker room talk” and half our country nodded blindly…”Ooohhh! Ok, that was locker room talk, thanks for the commentary Mr. President.”
Are. You. Kidding. Me.
I haven’t had to deal with half the things other women have, but I’ve endured long stares, and creepy comments…I didn’t ask you to compare how you like your coffee with how you like your women, while looking at my wedding ring, but thanks for the uncomfortable moment, sir.
This has to stop happening. We can’t chastise Mr. Weinstein and then elect Mr. Trump. Shift the conversation and use words that actually describe what is happening, stop protecting the men who perpetuate the culture.
We need our very good and honorable men (men like my husband, men who value women and all they have to offer, and there are TONS of YOU!) to stand up with us and call out other men for unacceptable behavior and treatment toward women. Help us change the conversation, describe our experiences as they actually are and protect us, not our harassers. [See above image]
So why am I choosing this to write about? Normally I write about Reagan or other things going on in our family (like my brain surgery). I’m writing b/c in 10 years Reagan will be 14 and what will school culture look like for her? Will there be adolescent boys who will defend and protect our girls? Or will they be joining in to degrade our girls? How will Rob and I react if Reagan has to deal with this sort of behavior. If he and I aren’t going to be quiet now, we sure as hell won’t be quiet then. Not only is Reagan a girl, she is overcoming disability. In this world, she has two strikes against her and it shouldn’t be that way. In the world we’re raising Reagan in, I want her to be treated respectfully as a girl and I want her to be treated equally. We all want this for ourselves and our children. WE HAVE to start valuing each other more, regardless of abilities, skin color and all the other things that make us each unique as a person. Everyone. E V E R Y O N E needs to be valued, treated with respect and talked to kindly, whether gay, straight, christian, atheist, girl, boy, black, brown or white.
This is why I’m writing. I’m saying #metoo b/c I’ve dealt with harassment, I’m saying it for the women I know who have endured more than me. I’m saying #metoo for my daughter, so that 10 years from now she won’t have to b/c it won’t be the norm. Please stand up with me and say it. Change the conversation, change the culture. Be part of the solution.