me too

this
is officially
the worst club
ever
you don't even want to know
what you have to do to get in

fill out a form?
no chad

interview?
no--
no but like a long interview?
no chad

Women (and more than a few men) all over the internet are confessing the fact that they've survived sexual harassment and abuse. Some of them detail instances of assault from strangers, friends, teachers, and relatives. Some simply say "me too."

I said, "me too."

At one point, my whole Facebook feed was "me too."

Many of us chose to type in all lower-case letters.  I can't help but hear it as a whisper. From strangers, friends, teachers, and relatives. We whispered our confessions into a vast, chattering space where we hoped with equal strength that it would be heard, and that it would never be heard.

I cannot help but think that it is always the women who confess.

I cannot help but wonder: what is the magic number of #metoo shares that will unlock empathy in the people who most need to grow it? 1,000? 10,000?

If 9,999 of us hold our breath and type "me too," will we fail to matter?

#metoo is moving, but it also feels like we're only dealing with half of the issue.

It is not my job to confess my own assault in order to beg for mercy.

It is not any woman's job to prove that she understands what sexual assault is, or that she's noticed it's a problem.

My issue with #metoo isn't the chance it gives survivors to reclaim their own story - that is worth celebrating.

My issue is that #metoo reconfirms #yesallwomen, when it should be hammering home #yesallmen.


LONG SIDE NOTE RE: NOTALLMEN

PLEASE TAKE NOTE, SIRS.

I can say with supreme confidence that you have nothing new to teach me about "not all men." Just don't, Chad. Stuff a KFC biscuit in your mouth until the urge to explain shit to me has passed.

For anyone still confused as to why women make such SWEEPING OFFENSIVE HYSTERICAL generalizations about the dangerousness of men, let me give you a manly metaphor:

Imagine you are a marine biologist.

You are Dr. Chad.

Your job is to give great white sharks check-ups. Every day when you go to work, you put on your work wet suit, and you dive into the water. You are keenly aware that while you have an education, training, and experience, you are also swimming in the water with animals that are larger, stronger, faster, and hungry for you.

Now let me ask you, Dr. Chad. When you dip into that murky water, and you feel the little knot in your stomach as you catch a glimpse of muscled flesh and teeth in the depths, are you going to be thinking, "I'm just going to give him a chance. He could be nice!"

but i'm a nice guy

Or are you going to be thinking, "I have worked with sharks for years. I know that sometimes they bite you and sometimes they don't. But I also know that anything could happen here. I'm outweighed, outmuscled, and if that shark comes for me I am a goner. And I'm not willing to risk getting bitten or fucking devoured for the sake of maintaining, what, my sunny fucking personality? Or the fucking predator's feelings?"

That's why #notallmen. Because I don't know your ass from a great white shark, and every woman you know has scars. Me too.

END LONG SIDE NOTE


So where do I come down on #metoo?

I applaud the way it encourages women to refuse to be shamed.

But the problem was never lack of awareness. Who here was not sure whether rape culture exists? Anyone? Anyone kind of back-and-forth on whether women who are brave enough to speak up will be blamed for their own assaults? Anyone pretty much comme-ci, comme-ca when it comes to whether street harassment is scary and humiliating? Anyone?

The problem with the goal of raising widespread awareness is that the people who care most about raising awareness are already PAINFULLY AWARE.

Women's awareness is not a problem. Yet we're the ones stepping up to prove it.

That's like saying the problem with animal testing is that animals aren't aware they're being tested on. THEY GET IT. WE GET IT. WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENS OUT THERE. You're the ones holding the instruments of pain and power and chatting about the game while we wait for you to do whatever it is you're going to do to us today.

We're missing a key ingredient in this glorious dish of rape culture redemption. It's like we got our Denny's breakfast scramble, and we've got the eggs - a shit ton of eggs in fact - but... where's that sausage?

Yes, the problem is male awareness. Not male awareness of the way the media treats pop stars.

But the lack of daily, personal, male awareness. If you want to raise awareness of sexual harassment, and you understand that if the avalanche of "me too" posts is any indicator, women are FULLY INFORMED that rape culture is a gauntlet of weiners that they'll have to navigate the rest of their lives, then that leaves only one group whose awareness needs raising.

Men, it's time to saddle up. Thank you for your support, and for your efforts to listen more and believe us. But it's not enough.

To paraphrase the incomparable, brilliant Ijeoma Oluo, who said of white people attempting to whitesplain anti-racism to her, a phenomenal writer and woman of color, I don't need you to understand me better, I need you to understand yourself better.

(You have to click that link, it's 1,000 times better than anything I have ever written.)

I'd like to see men begin to acknowledge out loud when they've done something shitty to a woman. No shit is too small to call out.

I'd like to see a hashtag for men begin the rounds. I vote for #IAmAllMen, but I'm open to suggestions.

For example! The Chad I met on a recent flight could write,

I am a businessman who travels often. I was sitting on an airplane next to Katie. The airplane was taxiing to takeoff and I reached over and stroked her ponytail without her permission. Then I asked her if it was her neck pillow. I would never do that to a man. I have no idea what I would do if a man did that to me. She was trapped in an airtight box with me for a flight from Seattle to Nashville, and I reached out and touched her body intimately. That flight must have been really uncomfortable for her. I just thought she had nice hair. It never occurred to me that I couldn't touch her. #IAmAllMen

I'd like to see men share the burden of confession when it comes to offenses committed by themselves, as men. I'm not even asking them to take total fucking responsibility. We'll call that our "stretch goal."

Tonight, we are just asking for a little.

Who's with us?



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