I originally posted this on social media, but several people kept asking to share my status. Because of my privacy settings, that required a lot of copy and pasting and was difficult for people not directly connected to me. So I’m just going to go ahead and toss this up here for sharing purposes. And for what it’s worth, here’s some receipts on me already saying #metoo over and over and over and over and over (major CW on some of those). People everywhere have stories like these! You just have to listen to them.
I am late to the #metoo party because I don’t know that I have the energy to say Me Too anymore. I’ve been saying Me Too for years now, and it’s emotionally exhausting. The main thing I get back from saying Me Too is more Me Toos from other women.
You know what I almost never get? Men saying anything at all. At some point, it stops feeling empowering to hear from so many other women about their shared experience. Instead of feeling less alone, I just feel like a repository of other women’s secrets, having nightmares about their experiences and feeling powerless to change anything.
I said Me Too when everyone wasn’t surprised by Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. I said Me Too when everyone was surprised by Bill Cosby, even though it right there on his Wikipedia page for years before the “news” broke. I said Me Too when Brie Larson had to hand Casey Affleck an Oscar after hugging dozens of sexual assault survivors on stage at the Oscars the year before.
I said Me Too again, when all this happened exactly a year before the Harvey Weinstein story broke. And then a month later, white men and women elected a different Harvey Weinstein as president.
I said Me Too back in June when I went to see Roxane Gay interviewed about Hunger, her book that hinges largely on the aftermath of being gang-raped when she was 12. The event was so popular that the organizers had to turn away over two hundred ticketed people in line. Of the hundreds that made it into the venue, I counted only a dozen or so men.
I’m tired of having to say Me Too. Men should already know. This hasn’t been a whisper network so much as women, trans, and non-binary people shouting into a void about their experiences for YEARS, and being ignored over and over.
If you want to actually change something about rape culture, don’t just sit there and nod when you see all these Me Toos in your facebook feed, reveling in some sort of grim, guilty satisfaction about how you had no idea rape culture was so pervasive when the signs have been here all along.
If you actually care, why don’t you start by picking up a “Lady Book,” like those written by Roxane Gay. Lord knows women have had to suffer through your Man Books for centuries; if I had to read that infernal Hemingway in high school, you can sit through your discomfort of reading Roxane Gay writing about her rape. Amazingly, women also write fun books sometimes. You can read those, too! Watch movies not just featuring strong roles for women, but those that are directed, written, and generally crewed by women, too! Play video games designed by women, and for God’s sake, stop saying you don’t like female musicians because “you just like the male vocal register more.” I promise you’ll be a more empathetic, generous person once you start consuming media that isn’t always about you.
And while you’re at it, stop supporting known abusers because you think they make good art. Stop watching Woody Allen or Roman Polanski movies, or playing video games by assholes who shit on Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian online. There is so much beautiful, creative, meaningful art in the world that is NOT created by abusive men, you won’t even miss their shitty contributions.
You just have to do the fucking work.