Posts Tagged #MeToo

It’s just another New Year’s Eve/Nothing changes on New Year’s Day…

… but that never stops us hoping that some things will change, making plans and resolutions, wishing and wondering.

Another tough year for so many of us, for so many people around the world.  Another year of preventable tragedy, of hatred fanned into violence, of brutal terrorist murders, of desperate poverty alongside profligate consumption.  Easy to despair, easy to give up.

I’d rather hang on to hope, and faith in humanity.  So rather than reiterating all of the evils and the horrors that this year has brought, and that we fear for in the next, I’ll remind myself that women are speaking up as they have never done before about sexual violence and harassment.  That the resistance is making its presence felt, here and elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

In the face of lies we have to keep speaking and showing truth.  In the face of hate we have to keep speaking and showing love.  In the face of the horrors that seem to happen daily – in Kabul, in Las Vegas, in Manchester, in Mogadishu – we have to keep speaking and showing faith.

Keep on keeping on.

Sometimes things don’t go, after all,
from bad to worse.  Some years, muscadel
faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don’t fail,
sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well.

A people sometimes will step back from war;
elect an honest man, decide they care
enough, that they can’t leave some stranger poor.
Some men become what they were born for.

Sometimes our best efforts do not go
amiss, sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow
that seemed hard frozen:  may it happen for you.

Sheenagh Pugh – Sometimes

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day

E B White

Theirs is a land with a wall around it
And mine is a faith in my fellow man…

Sweet moderation, heart of this nation
Desert us not, we are between the wars

Billy Bragg, Between the Wars

We are building up a new world.
Do not sit idly by.
Do not remain neutral.
Do not rely on this broadcast alone.
We are only as strong as our signal.
There is a war going on for your mind.
If you are thinking, you are winning.
Flobots – We are Winning
The simplest and most important thing of all: the world is difficult, and we are all breakable.  So just be kind.
Caitlin Moran – How to Build a Girl
If there’s no great glorious end to all this, if … nothing we do matters … then all that matters is what we do. ‘Cause that’s all there is. What we do. Now. Today.  … All I want to do is help. I want to help because I don’t think people should suffer as they do, because if there’s no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.
Joss Whedon – Angel
Never be cruel, never be cowardly, and never, ever eat pears! Remember, hate is always foolish. and love is always wise. Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind. … Laugh hard, run fast, be kind.
The 12th Doctor, Twice Upon a Time

Love is wise, hatred is foolish. In this world, which is getting more and more closely interconnected, we have to learn to tolerate each other. We have to learn to put up with the fact that some people say things that we don’t like. We can only live together in that way, and if we are to live together and not die together we must learn a kind of charity and a kind of tolerance which is absolutely vital to the continuation of human life on this planet.

Bertrand Russell, Face to Face interview, 1959

 

 

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Me Too

It would be difficult to find a girl or a woman who couldn’t say, yes, me too.  As someone said on Twitter, those of us who are referring only to harassment rather than to assault or rape are the fortunate ones – often we barely even recognise what we’ve experienced as being what it is, it’s just the way things are, it’s just what being a girl or a woman means.

me too

Of course, it happens to boys and men too and some are using the #MeToo hashtag to share their experiences.   I know that we find it easier to tell each other about the things that happen to us than men do.  We may make a bit of a joke of it, or frame it as a warning about a colleague who’s all hands after a few drinks or whatever, and we may not be able to talk to anyone ever at all.  But one burden that men carry that we don’t is the need to be strong, and to be seen to be strong.

Nonetheless, primarily I am talking about girls and women.  About the fact that we learn to expect a degree of harassment, verbal or physical. And the fact that whatever our age, size, however we dress, wherever we go, we must learn to always be aware that there are predators – predators in dark alleys, predators in smart suits, predators in our homes and workplaces.  There are men who think that what they want they can have, and that what they want is all that matters.  There are men who will punish with violence or in subtler ways someone who say no.

I’ve got no heartrending stories to tell.  My experiences of sexual harassment have been so very ordinary, which is a story in itself, I guess.  The guy on the bus, the group of lads in town, the pushy sales rep with his sleazy comments, all normal, all ordinary.  I have been made to feel afraid.  I have, when cornered on a train by leery groups of lads drinking Special Brew, been thinking furiously about how to get away, whether there’s anyone else around who might be an ally, whether I should be friendly and risk them thinking I’m up for it, or cold and risk triggering overt hostility.

But that’s all normal and ordinary, and a long time ago.  Something happened a few weeks back, though, which reminded me of some of those earlier ordinary, normal incidents.  Sitting having a drink with my friend, catching up, enjoying each others company, when two very drunk middle-aged blokes come in and try to engage people in conversation.  We avoid eye contact but to no avail.  One of the blokes comes over and asks if he can join us.  We say no, very politely and with smiles because we’re nice people, but we say no.  He carries on talking to us, we continue to (politely) assert that we are fine as we are, and that we don’t want him to join us.  And quite suddenly he makes some remark about our size.  That’s our punishment for saying no.   It reminded me of the man at a party (decades ago) who when I turned him down (despite his incredibly seductive promise to ‘destroy’ me) gave me unsolicited feedback on my weight.  They felt entitled – whether to sex or just to attention – and when that entitlement is denied, they hit back, physically or verbally.

What can we do?  We can stop blaming ourselves for someone else’s vileness.  We – women and men – can stop implying that someone asked for it, or was stupid or naive to find themselves in that situation, or was cowardly to not speak out sooner.  We can challenge the entitled mindset whenever we encounter it, we can not join in with the comments or laugh at the jokes, we can stand with someone in a difficult situation and back up their account when they’re being called a liar.

Remember that every time a man commits a violent act it only takes one or two steps to figure out how it’s a woman’s fault, and that these dance steps are widely known and practiced and quite a bit of fun. There are things men do that are the fault of women who are too sexy, and other things men do that are the fault of women who are not sexy enough, but women only come in those two flavors: not enough, too much, and it is the fate of heterosexual men to endure this affliction.

Rebecca Solnit

And what’s happening to me as I write this is that incidents I had forgotten – not suppressed because they were traumatic, just forgotten because they were ordinary and normal – are coming back to me.  I hadn’t realised that there were so many.

Yes, me too.

What “me too” does is bring it back into the home, the school, the shop, the street, the office where women have been harassed. It makes it small screen not big screen. It makes it ordinary and everyday and seen. … Many have waited a long time for this. Don’t let it go now. Keep saying “me too” because we are fighting not one guy here, but a system that can only be challenged by collective rage, not individual shame.  Suzanne Moore, The Guardian

 

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https://www.rachelmariner.com/harvey-weinstein/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/12/challenge-extreme-masculinity-harvey-weinstein-degrading-women

https://johnpavlovitz.com/2017/10/16/men-side-metoo/

 

 

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