The crybully connection.
I didn’t see it when I first saw #metoo.
I read a few stories. I posted my own #metoo.
It didn’t feel like crybullying–a mess of pitiful tantrums intended to control others with emotional blackmail–no.
It didn’t feel like that.
It felt like a way to participate in a sisterhood. A way to encourage hurting women who felt devalued and attacked. A way to increase awareness of a social problem in our country.
When I was in high school and college, I dealt with some degree of assault several different times.
It was humiliating, and it was terrifying.
I posted my own #metoo.
I started waitressing when I was sixteen years old. The first guy that grabbed me was well over fifty. I had absolutely no grid for what was happening in front of the table that I was supposed to be serving, a table of two couples in their thirties. They all stared while he went through his routine. No one said anything. No one stood up for me.
I couldn’t look at my table after he left. I rushed through their table service. Two adult men and two adult women, and not one of them said anything to him or to me, as young as I was. It would have meant a lot if one of those women had said to me, “Me too.” Or if any one of those people would have said just about anything to make me feel like it wasn’t my fault, and I wasn’t being judged. That there were ways I could stand up for myself. That I was worth more than being grabbed by a certain type of man.
When I wrote my #metoo story, I didn’t even mention the waitressing grab. Several other things happened to me over the years, things that were much more serious. I wrote about those. They left me with horror, and with awareness. They left me a little bit cynical and resigned to things that happen to women when they encounter a certain type of man.
A certain type of man.
A couple of months later, the #metoo movement exploded into something unforeseen.
Not long after I posted my story, the Harvey Weinstein stories began to come out. Woman after woman in Hollywood had a story about Harvey. These stories are awful. Harvey is a “certain type of man.”
A certain type of man.
But I watched more and more accusations being made in the media, and the tone suddenly changed. And I started to feel like my #metoo, and many others, had been hijacked and exploited.
A story I shared to encourage others felt like it changed into something else, like it had been snatched up and melded into a tiny part of a huge crybully epidemic.
I started to feel like my #metoo had been hijacked and exploited.
I heard accusations against more and more men, made with more and more degrees of uncertainty, and less and less hard evidence. These accusations include a recent one against comedian Ansiz Ansari. If you haven’t heard this #metoo, it’s basically a woman’s account of a really bad date and some unfortunate choices made by both people.
The essence of the woman’s accusation is that Ansari was insensitive. He didn’t order the kind of wine she liked at dinner. He failed to read her mind. But. She wasn’t being forced. She went to his house of her own will. She stayed there. She never said “No.”
When I was attacked, I said, “No.” In fact, I yelled it while I kicked the guy in the nuts.
It is important that people feel heard.
It’s tremendously important that victims of actual crimes see justice and get the help that they need. It’s tremendously important that women are healed.
It is important that people feel heard.
At the same time, the #metoo movement seemed to stir up something else.
There is something about the #metoo movement that conflates real abuse with waist grabbing. (One of the actual officially listed accusations against Senator Al Franken. He squeezed someone’s waist during a photo-op.)
This ambiguity is epitomized by the confusion around the emergence of the Aziz Ansari #metoo story. Anyone who says that Ansari doesn’t deserve to be accused of sexual assault is in turn at risk of being accused–by a certain group of so-called feminists–of perpetuating rape culture.
As though a bad date is the equivalent of an actual rape.
This attitude delegitimizes real abuse. It devalues the real #metoo stories.
This attitude delegitimizes real abuse.
And now, many women are coming forward in the media with more and more unverified accusations against men in the public eye. And these accusations have almost all been treated as complete truth, with one man after another getting fired or stepping down from their jobs, as the innocent until proven guilty adage seems to be largely ignored.
There have been very few cases where hard evidence proves that every one of these men is, indeed, a certain type of man.
And even more accusations, particularly by actresses in Hollywood, against abusers that they refuse to name. Actresses, who not long ago, were seen schmoozing with the same perpetrator they gathered to malign, Harvey Weinstein. Actresses who are on record calling known child-molester Roman Polanski a “god.”
Bravery names names. It doesn’t lecture, and virtue-signal, and victim-compete without following through.
The innocent until proven guilty adage seems to be largely ignored.
The posture of Hollywood contrasts starkly with victims in the recent case of Larry Nassar where women came forward in a courtroom, rather than grandstanding for the media. They saw justice through to the legal fulfillment. They didn’t vaguely allude to abuse and then back down.
Women should have justice.
Men should also have justice.
Lives should not be destroyed, just because they can, by false or unproven accusations.
In many cases, women in Hollywood have been unwilling victims of Harvey and others on the infamous casting couch.
Women should have justice. And. Men should also have justice.
The casting couch is sick. It is a disaster. It is a social ill that has been well-documented since the beginnings of Hollywood. And all of us have looked the other way. It’s a good thing to see it being addressed.
But we have to differentiate between rape and ugly consensual agreements between adults.
It is also true that many of these women participated in the casting-couch culture, not unwillingly, but willingly.
It is unfortunate that the casting couch exists. But, it is also something that an actor or actress can walk away from. The casting couch might stand between a person and a high-profile acting job, but it does not stand between a person and every acting job. And it does not stand between a person and a good life.
In many cases, participating in casting-couch culture has been a consensual agreement by all involved.
It is absurd for Hollywood women to lecture us and threaten men that “time’s up” when these same women willingly and knowingly participated in a system that trades sex for jobs. One of the women in the Harvey Weinstein case, when asked why she never came forward, told police, “Harvey said, ‘You’re ready to become a real actress now.’ It’s what you do. You keep silent.”
How many other women were victimized by Harvey after this rape because this woman waited years to speak up, because “silent” is what you do?
These are sad stories.
I have seen video of famous women talking about letting famous men into their hotel rooms, but, if they had known that a man was only going to end up a C-list celebrity, they never would have let him in. I have read articles by actresses talking about the distress that they experienced as they did things in front of the camera that they didn’t want to do but did anyway because they didn’t want to lose a role.
These are sad stories.
These women are hurting. They need to know their true value. They need unconditional love and deep healing.
But cooperating within a corrupt culture does not make them heroes.
Many of these women, unlike actual sexual assault victims, were willing participants in a sick and perverted system.
If you did something you wish you hadn’t done, that is regret.
And as the saying goes, regret is not rape.
Cooperating within a corrupt culture does not make them heroes.
If you have violent stress symptoms in your body as you anticipate a sexual act that you are about to participate in by your choice without force, but you ignore those symptoms and go on and do that act as part of a job, there is a word for that. It is prostitution.
And if you do it in front of a camera, it is pornography.
Just because these women are famous, and have wealth, and some form of respect, that does not change the nature of what they are participating in, and honestly, what we are all participating in when we pay Hollywood to continue to entertain us at such a high price.
Regret is not rape.
I couldn’t help but think as I watched coverage of the last few awards shows, where were these powerful women when child star after child star came forward over the years with stories of pedophile abuse in Hollywood?
The recent documentary, An Open Secret, is well-researched and full of concrete evidence, including recorded confessions, against Hollywood pedophiles in high places. But the film was finally released for free on the internet after seeking and failing to find patrons and distributors for over two years.
Any one of a myriad of Hollywood women could have backed that film. What a statement of actual bravery that would have been.
Bravery does not crybully.
The feminist movement constantly accuses culture of infantilizing women.
Allowing women to participate in a known corrupt culture without asking them to also take responsibility for their conscious actions?
There is no worse form of infantilization.
There is an element of responsibility that mature adults take for themselves and their behavior, independent of others.
When we as women don’t take responsibility for ourselves and our choices, we keep ourselves from fully growing into our potential. And isn’t that really what feminism is all about? Isn’t that what God asks of us, to the best of our ability? Women, and men, actualized and activated in their greatest possible forms?
When we don’t take responsibility for our own power, we risk creating a culture of fear around us. And we risk destroying what every woman who has gone before us worked for us to enjoy.
I don’t want women to be shut out by men professionally or socially because men are afraid of what could happen if some woman chooses to accuse them of any thing at any time.
I won’t be in a hurry to jump on a # bandwagon anytime in the future. I no longer trust the culture with my stories. I’ll tell them in my own way, my own time.
Below are some great quotes from an excellent article entitled “Meet the Women Worried About #metoo.” You can find it at spiked-online.com.
The novelist Kingsley Amis used to say: ‘Women are trouble – keep them out of all institutions.’ He was a misogynist, but such notions will revive if women portray themselves as so fragile that they can’t deal with the small change of everyday life with robust common sense. ~Mary Kenny
Girl Power is real. Instead of carrying on about how frightened and degraded we are, maybe it’s time to acknowledge the truth: In 2017, we can destroy almost any man by a single accusation.
With power comes responsibilities. As Wesley Yang said, in the best article yet on the #MeToo frenzy: ‘Feminists should remember something they know well from their own experiences with men: Nobody is so dangerous, to themselves and others, as a person or collectivity that wields power without acknowledging it.’ ~Christina Hoff Summers
The #MeToo campaign is very worrying and will achieve the opposite of what it pretends to want. The hashtag claims to be about empowering women to speak out when actually it is turning women into perpetual victims.
Women who put up with sexual harassment and keep quiet about it for years, protecting the perpetrators, are hailed as heroines and strong, powerful feminists. Yet, bizarrely, women who speak out and deal with sexual harassment forcefully at the time, and then happily move on with their lives as I and millions of other women have done over the years, are derided as ‘victim-blamers’ or even ‘rape apologists’. It’s almost as if a woman is only ‘the right kind of woman’ if she is willing to play the victim. ~Julia Hartley-Brewer
My greatest concern is that the #MeToo phenomenon creates a toxic narrative that casts every male as a potential predator and every female as a perpetual victim. This can be enormously damaging for women, particularly young girls who, despite having every advantage and legal protection in the West, grow up believing they face enormous, perhaps insurmountable, barriers. . . .Meanwhile, modern feminism all but ignores the plight of the most oppressed women around the world who are subjugated from the cradle to the grave. ~Rita Panahi