The “Me Too” movement exploded on social media earlier this week. So I should not have been surprised when, eventually, some of my Facebook “friends” began to express exasperation or irritation with the trending posts. Thankfully, there were only a few, but even so, it was upsetting. One of them even had the audacity to say, “I don’t understand the ‘me too’ thing beyond it being a cry for attention. Why do these women feel the need to draw attention to themselves? We get it.”
It doesn’t seem like people “get it.” So, since it seems to be impossible to just take us for our word, I decided to respond to anyone who thinks like that old buddy of mine. Why do we feel the need to draw attention to this? Well…
Because there are dozens of apps designed for women to download on their smartphones that will secretly call for help with one touch. Because those apps are necessary.
Because there is a product out there called GoGuarded, designed for women to wear while exercising outside alone. It’s a ring with a serrated plastic blade so that defense can be accessed at a second’s notice. Because that product is necessary.
Because women-only gyms exist so women have a place where they can feel comfortable working out without the fear and humiliation of being leered at or judged.
Because most of the women I know carry pepper spray on their key chains.
Because none of the men I know carry pepper spray on their key chains.
Because most of the women on my friends list have typed “me too” on their statuses in the last 72 hours.
Because another percentage of women I know have chosen not to write those words on their statuses.
Because when I go on vacation with my family and my brother and I both express a desire to go check out the local pub scene, my parents say, “okay” to him and “make sure you stay with your brother” to me.
Because pads and tampons are tax exempt in seven states, but Rogaine is tax exempt in eight states and Viagra is tax exempt in 49 states. Because that kind of communicates that sex well into old age is more important than a woman’s hygiene and health.
Because Elliot Rodger dumped a latte on two women in 2011 because they did not smile at him. Because three years later, he shot 20 people at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Because right before he shot all those people, he released a video manifesto in which he says, “You girls have never been attracted to me. I don’t know why you girls aren’t attracted to me but I will punish you for it. It’s an injustice, a crime…I don’t know what you don’t see in me. I’m the perfect guy and yet you throw yourselves at these obnoxious men instead of me, the supreme gentleman.” Because Elliot Rodger believed he was entitled to a woman’s affection and because he is not the only man who has believed that….even if those other men didn’t commit a mass shooting as a result.
Because one in six American women will be victims of rape in their lifetime.
Because it happens to men too. Because many men feel pressured to stay silent because this kind of thing is not supposed to happen to men.
Because most of the time, harassment and assaults are not isolated incidents; they’re a part of a woman’s daily culture.
Because this movement has been referred to as a “political bandwagon.” Because the fact that many women from both ends of the political spectrum posting about this still doesn’t make it anything more than a “political bandwagon.”
Because I have been mocked for my weight by strange men I don’t know.
Because I have been sexualized for my weight by men I don’t know…and one time by a man I DID know who said, “I’m a chubby chaser, so you better watch out.”
Because when an ex forced himself on me, I felt like I couldn’t tell anyone because they wouldn’t believe me. Because we were in a relationship so it didn’t count.
Because I have dozens more examples.
Because my kind, loving fiancé, who treats me with care and respect, will experience the occasional freak out or rejection due to triggers I didn’t even know were there.
Because the men who love us will suffer too.
Because no matter where I am, I never feel confident saying “yes” when AAA Roadside Assistance asks if I am in a safe location.
Because the “me too” movement is still dependent on the victims taking action and not the perpetrators.
Because we elected a president who bragged about sexually assaulting women.
Because, as scummy as that is, the powers that be still decided that wasn’t reason enough to disqualify his candidacy. Because he is not the first politician to be accused of doing so without consequence.
Because none of those men were held accountable.
Because Casey Affleck won the Oscar for his incredible performance in “Manchester by the Sea.” Because allegations of assault weren’t enough to take him out of the running. Because we have to “separate the art from the artist”…when the artist is a white man, at least.
Because the large number of my friends posting “me too” may make me sad and angry, but it does not surprise me in the least.
Because of the people questioning the validity of this movement.
Let me know if you need more examples.