I came across a blog post today that showed us a male's perspective of the #MeToo campaign, as well as all the sexual assault allegations that have been trending in the media recently. I won't link the article because I'm not here to expose my locals but I will be dissecting and critiquing it.
It's important to note that #MeToo is a campaign that was started by a Black activist, Tarana Burke, over 10 years ago with sexual assault victims in mind. She claims it was started,
"as a grassroots movement to provide “empowerment through
empathy” to survivors of sexual abuse, assault, exploitation,
and harassment in underprivileged communities who typically
don’t have access to rape crisis centers or counselors"
Let me just start by saying that the article I came across annoyed me from the jump,, this article was misogynistic and tended to victim blame a lot. To elaborate, the author begins by acknowledging his privilege as a man yet refers to the fact that he's Black, as though that makes any difference. I mean, considering the fact that statistics state that Black women in the U.S. are normally scared to come forward about sexual assault because they are scared that it will hurt the Black man's reputation, or because approximately 60% of black women have reported sexual abuse at the hands of black men, I don't think that the author claiming that his perspective comes from being a Black man will change anything. Regardless, I'm not here to point the finger at Black men, I'm just here to state that correlation does not equate causation and in this case, using the fact that you're a Black man to defend your different perspective won't help you. I mean, realistically, sexual assault in the Black community is most of the time shunned.
Moving on, the author then proceeds to explain how he first reacted when he heard about all the Harvey Weinstein allegations, claiming that he believed women were just doing so for some power. Yet, many of his accusers were already women "in power"; Angelina Jolie, Lupita Nyongo, Gwenyth Paltrow, all women who have won an Academy Award, to name a few. Oh, but the list goes on - Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevigne, Lea Seydoux, and many more that resulted in 83 women in total. Now, if 83 women thought that they'd all become famous or rich by exposing Weinstein, I'd say that they're out of their minds. After this whole paragraph basically stated women will do anything for some fame, the author then shifted the focus of his article to highlight how the women surrounding him feel and how he feels in his everyday life. He describes how most women had different definitions of sexual assault, which is fair, but also plays into internal misogyny and being conditioned into thinking that "small" instances of sexual assault can be brushed off. He follows this by stating,
"when we do something that we perceive as innocent, that
same action could be traumatizing to someone for their entire life.
This goes to my first thought…this is all “bullshit”…for real",
followed by a whole lot of bullshit. I say it's bullshit because the author claims that the way the conversation about sexual assault has been framed is wrong because it "makes men look like monsters rather than multilayered humans", or in other words, because it's not all men. I mean, really? You're going to cry "not all men" when Harvey Weinstein just got accused by 83 women?
You're going to cry "not all men" and defend Bill Cosby when multiple women spoke out against him with similar stories? Here's why this is misogynistic in nature; instead of focusing on the fact that, you know, 83 women were just assaulted by a white, male in power, you're trying to be the voice for men. You're trying to victimize men so you can flip it around and defend them because women keep crying out that #MenAreTrash, without looking up the reason behind the hashtag. Unfortunately, women don't care that you're upset because your gender is being negatively portrayed in the media when women are slut shamed, victim blamed, and exploited in the media every damn day.
Now, the bullshit, sadly, doesn't end there as he continues by basically explaining that firing men from their position of power after the news comes out won't end sexual assault; that universities hosting seminars and withholding a no sexual assault policy won't end sexual assault; and that women calling out their abusers and shaming them won't end sexual assault. Why? Because sexual assault can apparently be fixed just by having men raise a generation of better men. In fact, when I called out the author, he told me that I have no say because I don't know how men feel and I have no say in how they should act. He follows up by saying that men commit acts of sexual violence because they didn't know better and this is a result of society failing them but how do you not know that a woman screaming "NO" means NO? How do you not know that when you struggle to get someone to take off their pants and get into bed with you, it means NO? How do you not know that a woman giving you a look of disgust when you yell out obscenities at her, it means NO? At the end of the day, men should be held entirely accountable for their actions. Furthermore, he states, "women should support and uplift the men who do right, because that’s how you change society you reward good behavior " like WHAT? A man choosing not to rape me isn't good behavior, it's simply the standard, he doesn't deserve a standing ovation, are you out of your mind?! He then claims that instead of using the #MeToo hashtag, we should use #BeBetter and apply it to both men and women. As though #MeToo isn't applicable to male sexual assault victims? Ugh, anyways.
The issue with sexual assault lies in ignorance because men will never know how fearful women get when they need to walk in the dark alone, or how uncomfortable it gets when their boss touches them in a very hands-off places, or how many women don't call out their abusers, not because it didn't happen, but because they could lose everything if they call out the wrong person. So, how do we solve sexual assault? Unfortunately, there's no fool proof way to avoid sexual violence. That being said, having the discussion, giving women safe spaces to call out their abusers, stripping abusers of their power in life, believing women, are all a good start.
Anyways, my intentions here were not to call anyone out or expose anyone, they were simply to raise awareness regarding women's issues and sexual violence against women. Women should not be told to keep quiet against their abusers or be told to frame the conversation so no man feels hurt.
*This article does not mean to silence men who are the victims of sexual violence from other men or women, it is simply portraying a woman's perspective on a specific blog post.
**Update, December 8th, 8:36 p.m. - after getting a lot of good feedback, I decided to include the article link! I think it provides better insight to what exactly I'm talking about and makes it more fair for readers to determine who they think is "right". Here is the article, in all its' glory.
September 10, 2018
February 23, 2018
August 17, 2018