Why does supporting women even matter? These are my own professional and personal experiences.
Why do women question the validity of this movement?
I’ve asked myself this question over and over a lot recently. How can I be certain that the #MeToo figures and claims are accurate and others continue to question the women who bring their stories to light?
Consent is verbal and it’s a yes response only. No means no, and we all reserve the right to say no at any point. Silence means no. If this is unclear, watch this.
I’ve always been surrounded by big sample sizes. I’m the youngest of 12 kids, I went to a big university, and I went on to hire thousands of people while working as a cog in the ever evolving machine of corporate America. So, when I look at my personal and professional experiences and the people who have shared their stories with me, these figures have always been accurate. When I’ve been sexually harassed and thought back about who I could tell, it occurred to me that I’ve never trusted many of the people closest to me, let alone the world. I didn’t feel safe sharing my stories because they weren’t safe to tell.
This is complicated, I grew up in a really religious space. Many people around me shamed girls without the slightest idea of the damage they were doing. It was assumed girls are responsible for all sexual morality and occurrences, the boys’ actions included. They might say that boys should own part of it, but “boys will be boys.” So it constantly and consistently falls on girls to be responsible for boys’ actions. Girls are told, do not do anything that will increase your risk and exposure, because if something happens to you, well, you were probably asking for it.
If you’ve ever said any of the following, you are guilty of passively or aggressively placing the blame upon girls. At any point in the future if your daughter, your niece, your sister, your BFF ever has a reason to say MeToo, she may not choose to share it with you. She is probably terrified that deep in your heart you’ll be thinking she did something to deserve it. And that’s not her fault.
Her skirt is too short
Her skirt is too long
Her top is too low
Her top is too high
She wears all that makeup
She’s too naturally beautiful
She dyes her hair
She’s not pretty
She’s vibrant, she’s audacious
She’s demure, she’s meek
She drinks alcohol
She doesn’t know how to have a good time
She likes to party
She’s an adventurer
She’s socially awkward
She stays out late
She goes home too early
She’s too thin
She has muscles and they are visible
She runs alone
She didn’t say no
Girls and women are not sexual objects. Our sexuality is a beautiful part of us, but we are not objects for anyone else’s consumption or ownership. There are no conditions under which anyone has the right to harass, heckle, touch, leer, kiss, anyone without their consent.
If you want to be a safe place for your loved ones, listen to them. Love them for who they are. Don’t shame and blame girls and women for exhibiting the qualities that make them beautiful and unique.
If you want to affect real, positive change, deal directly with the root cause, which is redefining sexuality for yourselves and your families. Women’s bodies are not meant to be owned or objectified, and men should not be assigned merit based on their body count. Until our boys realize that femininity is not something to be ashamed of and masculinity does not equal control, dominance, and aggression, women will not be respected for who they are regardless of their body.
Peace & Love,