“If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
The #metoo hashtag started by Alyssa Milano is making the rounds on social media, now in the heat of the coming outs of famous women about being harrassed by Harvey Weinstein, Roy Price and Lars von Trier and less well-known women who have come out about harassment by The Gaslamp Killer.
My problem with #metoo is that if men haven’t trusted statistics on this or haven’t recognized #everydaysexism and similar efforts to make it visible – why would they now? It’s no secret that there are large parts of our society that still ignore harassment. Many of us women* have been and still are educated to suffer it silently. So the point is not to make it known, the story is not the sensational revealing of omg how many women’ are harassed.
The point we have to make is that so many people take it for granted, shrug it off, ignore it, and don’t support victims if they get harassed. And I’m not just talking anonymous strangers, I’m also aiming this at many men* I know. It’s why the “safe space” culture so many have started to complain about is so necessary. It’s not to “coddle” people, it’s about starting an effort to normalize consent culture. To inspire the courage to speak out against everything you’ve ever been taught. I think safe space culture makes many people feel uncomfortable because it puts a finger into a wound that we all know is there but are used not to mention. If you need a name for it: rape culture isn’t the worst you could use.
This #metoo thing is fine, as a reminder and for making us feel connected, making us feel that we’re not alone with this. But: It won’t change anything if we don’t build on it, if we don’t call out harassers in the moment, and if we don’t build alternative structures in which our jobs, our reputation and even friendships don’t rely on taking harassment for granted. We need to shift the attention from “it happened to me too” to “this person did this to me and it’s not okay, it’s not harmless, it’s not funny, and it undermines my position how you stick together in looking away” – we need to hold men* accountable for what they do. There is a kind of masculinity that is build on rape culture, that feeds from every moment we don’t counter it.
#metoo gets attention and attention is power but if you don’t use that power, don’t build on it it will just burn out. The trick will be to not let this ‘omg soooo many women* get harrassed?!’ wave fade back into everyday normalcy but to connect it to our everyday lives until not only the sensation of a big number but every single act of sexual harassment counts for itself.
28 thoughts on “#metoo”
“smaller incident” happened to me. in the public. assgrabber guy. i was in my early/mid twenties, and i got really angry immediately and shouted loudly at the guy. redfaced asshole shouted back in my face, drunk as fuck. but the really really scary thing was that nobody around me reacted. not in any way besides looking into a different direction. few minutes later i saw him and his family, so i went and told his wife, who only stared through me with the utmost empty eyes ever. one of the saddest and annoying moments in my life. but i am glad to know that my first reaction was anger, and that i was able to confront him. i even kind of had to. and i sweared to myself i will be NEVER ever looking away, like the “lady” in front of me filling a beer glass like nothing happened.
Twice, when I hitchhiked. Both time I had luck. First guy started to talk about women in a very disgusting way and I was really scared. And he asked me if I want him to pay my vacation. I was approx. 19 and he was approx. 60. So I just told him to stop and I could jump off. It was in the afternoon. And the only thing I had in my mind, while we were driving, was that there are many cars behind and in front of us. I felt safe. More or less. Second guy started a conversation about a rape case in our region where a young women was raped while she was hitchhiking. (“And what about you? Aren’t you afraid as a young women when you do hitchhiking?” he asked me) He sounded very angry like “what kind of asshole is doing this?”. But the conversation did kind of change by 180°. And it was really scary, too. But now we were really in the middle of nowhere. Some cows. No people. And when there were houses, then far away. A lot of wood. And I really thought:”OK, that’s it. And nobody knows where I am.” It was pre-mobile-phone time. But this guy was so stupid. Instead of trying to harrass me or even worse in the middle of nowhere he tried finally to kiss me in front of the main railway station of Kaufbeuren. It was afternoon. So also many people around. So I could get out of the car. Can you imagine? This guy was an idiot in many ways. Once a women picked me up. She was great. We talked a little bit about our experiences and she told me that a guy, somewhen in the 1950ies, wanted to rape her. But she told him, she has got Tripper or something like this. That was too much for this guy. He let her go. So I thought, if I will ever get into such a situation again it is definitely worth to try. No joke. I was serious.