Let’s refresh our memories first before we jump into this mess:
The #metoo movement first started in October 2017. This hashtag spread widely on social media with the purpose of demonstrating the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the work place. In just a couple of hours there was an avalanche of revelations and not everyone agreed on this movement.
I’m bringing this up because I noticed how different my experience was during the #metoo movement compared to other people around me. Reading all these posts from girls, women and even some men testifying publicly and exposing their suffering in order to get a proper attention on this issue, moved me and made me anxious at the same time. Because well… me too. The atmosphere was emotionally dense on social media and beyond. Girls were talking about it a lot around me, boys only occasionally or mostly to show their trolling skills. And that’s basically when I started to get slightly irritated…
I didn’t get frustrated at the trolls themselves. I mean… we know what they’re here for and that’s alright (as long as they stay out of my way). Making jokes about this subject is not surprising, our society has become a tough audience and it seems like other’s suffering never fails to get a laugh.
But once everyone is done with laughing and sharing offensive memes (try typing “feminism” on Youtube. I guarantee you’ll never do it again), when is it finally time to confront this matter?
I feel like most guys feel attacked by the majority of the feminist statements, whether or not they have done anything in their past to deserve it. I can understand someone feeling threatened if that someone has legit reasons to shit his pants because he has harmed someone in the past and he’s aware of it. But now here’s the thing: If you’re a polite, respectful and trustworthy dude, know that they are not talking to you. Actually, if you fit into those three (and there are more to it obviously) categories, you’ll feel as disgusted as anyone else knowing some of the stuff that’s been going on. I guarantee you’d cringe if ever you get the occasion to hear some of the explicit mess that NOT ONLY women need to go through every day.
So maybe it is time to talk to those people, to give them some attention and credibility instead of rolling your eyeballs and scrolling past their so-called “hysterical statements” on social media. These are true and real stories that happen every god damned day: at work, in the street, in clubs, at school… I mean the list is quite long and you get the point.
Instead of jumping into conclusions and shaming every penis-holder for not endorsing this cause, I talked to some guys around me to find out more about this issue.
“It’s the way they express themselves… we feel attacked by it. We don’t feel included in the debate…”
This was the most common answer I got and I had to step back for a second to realize this. I agree. But still I do not think it’s enough to step back entirely from this affair.
Here goes a (very) subjective example: As a Kanye West fan, I do not quite identify to the rapper’s fan base. Let’s not go into details here, I suggest you go check out Kanye’s fan pages on Reddit and you can make your own judgement. The point is that I don’t have to agree with the rest of the fans to be an admirer of his art myself.
That’s how I wish some guys would look at this: In every domain you’ll find a minority of idiots that have the power to make the majority look like them. It’s justified to a certain extend to not want to be related to these things in any way, but on the other side there’s this bigger purpose, the act of doing something that feels genuinely right.
And there was indeed an appropriate response to the #metoo movement: the #howwillichange hashtag appeared on Twitter just a couple of days after but unfortunately it didn’t get that much attention nor any proper approach from the media (I tried to look it up and only found some amateur-blog posts about the subject. SAD).
Truth is we need more boys talking about this. Not only to other girls, not only to show their support and compassion. Doing so is truly honorable in a society like this where everyone is quite busy with themselves. But we also need more boys talking to other boys about this. Acceptance is the very firs step to change.
PS: #notallmen has its reasons to exist. Not all men, of course. But too many tho…