Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#NotMe[n]Too: men's invasion of women posting #MeToo

The #MeToo campaign initiated to show the true extent to which women are being subjected to sexual harassment and assault is really catching fire on social media.  Any #WLC care to share your thoughts about the effectiveness of this type of activity?  Are you participating why or why not? #OpeningConversations #OpenDialogue
I believe us. Women can be trusted. #MeToo #IBelieveYou #WomenCanBeTrusted
image is from here: http://www.theimgrum.com/p/metoo

For anyone who doesn't know the history of the #MeToo campaign to challenge and put an men's sexual harassment against women and the climate which encourages it, you may find the story here:

"I have heard in the last several years a great deal 
about the suffering of men over sexism. 
Of course, I have heard a great deal 
about the suffering of men all my life. 
Needless to say, I have read Hamlet. 
I have read King Lear. 
I am an educated woman. 
I know that men suffer. 
This is a new wrinkle. 
Implicit in the idea that this is a different kind of suffering is the claim, I think, that in part you are actually suffering because of something that you know happens to someone else. 
That would indeed be new."

Andrea Dworkin,
"I Want a Twenty-Four-Hour Truce During Which There Is No Rape" 
(1983, Letters From a War Zone)

Across Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook this week, I've seen the courageous effort by women to come out to other women, and men, as yet another women who has experienced predation via sexual harassment by men, often men in positions of power above and beyond standard, run-of-the-mill male supremacist power. Whether in the workplace or home front, school or street, or anywhere else, sexual harassment of women is something men are learning is profoundly widespread and devastating. The women I know find the sharing of the hashtag as a public notice that, yes, me [another woman] too--it happened to her also, it happened again, here, to her, and to her, and her and her and her. No surprise. At all. Have not most women been harassed sexually at least once, if not dozens of times?

I heard today a story of a 14 year-old girl harassed by a boy in her grade at school. I will spare you the details, but what I also noticed was how 'normal' the whole thing was for her, like walking or talking. Oh, yeah, and by the way, he ..." Scary and disgusting. I see this happening as it has ages due to capitalist colonialist patriarchal norms and entitlements and privilege bestowed upon men. In part due to pornography--one of the most normalized forms of misogyny being passed off as what women and girls want. And in part due to men's refusal to see the world from women's point of view, however varied that is. And in part because it serves men well, on the collective political front, to keep quiet about the whole thing: what men do to women that is invasive and violating.

So what is deeply troubling to me is the fact that men are joining in posting or tweeting #me too. This infuriates me and I've already gotten into some heated arguments with guys about this--about how fucked up it is that men are turning this into a "Men's Lives Matter" kind of thing. Yeah, we get it. When did we not get that? As Andrea so clearly states: we know you suffer, men.

You inflict that suffering on women all the time.

I told one guy, #me too, when posted by a man, means only one thing: #men too. And at a groundbreaking--hopefully groundbreaking--time when women are coming out about this trauma, this utterly ubiquitous trauma, men want their/our pain to be front and center. There are so many things wrong with this but I'll identify two for now.

1. We know what the effect off this is: Men expect to be congratulated and empathised with far more energy than will women. Men expect to be told how brave they/we are and are eager to hear: "thank you for joining women, for standing with women" in the struggle for visibility about this form of predation. But honestly, that's not what I see men coming out about. I see men speaking of being sexually abused in other ways, thereby taking the focus off the issue at hand in yet another way. This week the story on the news is about a Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein*, a producer with extraordinary power within one industry acting like all the other men with structural power in the industry. He got called out for his blatantly criminal acts by enough women to get the public to believe he really did all these vile things.  See two links below for more. We all have learned what Harvey Weinstein did to them, against them, terrorising and/or seeking their further subordination to him, the prick. We learned it is still going on, rampantly and without stop. I hope this is more than a pause, but we know these fuckheads are doing it as I type this and later today and tomorrow ad nauseam. (*And before him, in 2017, Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly of FUX Women Over NEWS. And most notably and visibly, our new President, Donald "the predator/terrorist" Trump.
2. What is amazing to me is that this becomes a moment, a week, perhaps a much longer period of time, in which women are publicly supporting other women as they continue to come out with these horror stories, these utterly predictable and persistent horror stories. So men getting in on the act means they/we are leeching away from women that potential bonding and camaraderie through the various levels of pain, disgust, and/or triggering when revealing something so shameful--with all the shame belonging to the men.

 3. What women tell me is that a too common dynamic in men's misogyistic manipulation is to plead to women about how much pain THEY'RE in, while abusing those same and other women all the while. It becomes part of an abusive cycle that is intended to keep women's sympathies and guilt about realizing the guy is a predator flowing. It is designed to insist he is real, a full human being while making her less than, a kind of human who ought not take care of herself, against the interests of men, at all times.

I am saying NO. No men, DO NOT DO THIS. Do not make this about you too, again, as you/we always do. Do not egocentrically detract from the power of what is going on by throwing yourself into it as a victim no less! Why not post #IDidItToo on your walls and in your tweets? Now that would be courageous, potentially revolutionary, if you did so and then made sure you and your friends and colleagues and family members and men on the street never did it again.

I will leave the reader with the link to the rest of Dworkin's speech that I think stunningly describes what men SHOULD be doing in the face of such news: http://www.nostatusquo.com/ACLU/dworkin/WarZoneChaptIIIE.html