Me, too. Two small, little words. Most of the time, it’s in response to a simple statement, such as, “I like mac ‘n cheese.” But about a month ago, those two words took on a whole new meaning. Until I looked it up, I actually didn’t even know how it started. All I know is I saw a friend post the following status on Facebook:
Suggested by a friend: If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me, too,” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
So, I shared it. I will not, and may never, get into why I posted those two small, little words on my Facebook page that day, along with the thousands of other brave women who did. You may think less of me, or think I’m weak for saying that, but I know that posting that Facebook status was enough for me. I didn’t realize then the effect sharing those two small, little words would have on me, and the world. And maybe I don’t ever need to explain “why.” Maybe saying “me, too,” was enough, maybe it isn’t. All I know is that was hard for me to do, but after seeing several girlfriends of mine post it, too—it gave me courage. And hopefully it did the same for others.
Turns out, actress Alyssa Milano started this powerful women’s movement in response to the news of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual “misconduct.” Maybe the rest of you already knew that. I didn’t until I looked it up today. I didn’t really need to look it up though, I had already seen enough of my friends post about it.
Update (12/1/17): Thanks to a couple of people who have enlightened me, I found out the person who really start the #MeToo movement was a black female activist over 10 years ago.
“Misconduct.” Another small word that doesn’t seem to accurately describe its intent. When I typed it in to Google, the definition says “unacceptable or improper behavior.” “Improper.” Is that the word you would use to describe a man forcing a woman to look at his genitals, or forcing her to sleep with him in order to “make her way to the top?” There’s got to be a more powerful word to describe what these “men” are getting away with.
Kevin Spacey. Louis C.K. Al Franken. Matt Lauer. Russell Simmons. Actors, comedians, politicians, news casters and music producers. The list keeps growing every day, and all I can think with every new allegation is, ‘Him, too?’
When I heard Louis C.K. made “the list,” I couldn’t wrap my head around it. Isn’t it funny how you think you “know” a celebrity, just because of the characters they play on TV and in the movies? Maybe we think comedians are different because when they are performing we think they are just being themselves. And maybe they are, but I think many of them create a comedic persona or an alter ego, perhaps.
I thought Louis C.K. was one of the “real” guys. I loved his show on FX, Louie. I subscribed to his email list. I saw him live at the Fox in St. Louis, and it was one of the best live comedy shows I’ve ever seen. To say I was disappointed when I heard he had been accused of “sexual misconduct,” too, would be an understatement. I couldn’t even bare to read the full story. Today, I finally did. And it didn’t “break my heart.” It didn’t just “upset” me. I am outraged. And what is worse than the five reported cases of his “sexual misconduct,” was his response to the allegations.
Don’t let him trick you like he did me. The first time I read it, I thought, ‘Well, at least he feels sorry for his actions and now he has to reap what he’s sowed.’ Then I got home and talked to Tyler about it, God I love that man, and he pointed out that Louis C.K. never actually apologized for what he did in his statement.
So I reread it, and sure enough, his “attempt” at an apology, which I would consider piss-poor at best, was saying he was “irresponsible,” and that he is “remorseful for his actions.” He also goes on to say, “There is nothing about this that I forgive myself for.” Do you think we care whether or not you forgive yourself? The more I read it, the more I realized how full of himself he is, and how not sorry he really is.
I think this was the worst part of all:
“I also took advantage of the fact that I was widely admired in my and their community, which disabled them from sharing their story and brought hardship to them when they tried because people who look up to me didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t think that I was doing any of that because my position allowed me not to think about it.”
Could you be any more full of yourself?!
His statement is just that: a statement of facts. He simply admits the stories are true. Not once does he actually apologize to the women, or anyone, for his actions. He merely explains how he feels and how he can’t fathom the “scope of hurt” he brought on these women. No shit. You will never be able to understand it until you’ve been on the reverse side of that situation.
His best attempt at an apology is when he says he “deeply regrets” the negative attention he’s brought upon his freakin’ manager, a man, who probably knew what was going on anyway. He admits he’s “brought anguish and hardship” as well as pain to everyone around him, but does he ever actually apologize for any of his actions? NO. Instead, he ends with this:
“I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen. Thank you for reading.”
I hope he does more than “listen” and I hope he actually apologized to all those women he did those unspeakable acts to.
Tyler and I played a (terrible) game the other day of who we would hate to see make it on that infamous list. He said Jimmy Fallon. I said Justin Timberlake. Then I thought about it. I have hated hearing about every single case that has been brought to light. I hate that we are probably only just beginning to scratch the surface. I hate that it has taken this long for all of these women to feel empowered enough to come out against these monsters who call themselves “men.”
I hate that their apologies, or lack thereof, are not, and will never be enough. I hate that Al Franken thinks that all he needs to do is be “more conscious when in these circumstances.” What circumstances?! Is a “circumstance” considered simply sitting next to a woman on a plane? Do “circumstances” consist of working alongside women in a professional environment?
This video kind of sums up all of the recent allegations and the disgusting responses and lack of apologies that came with them.
Reading writer Jenny Lumet’s account of Russell Simmons assault on her is haunting and chilling. As she quotes Simmons at the very beginning of her story, “I have never committed any acts of aggression or violence in my life. I would never knowingly cause fear or harm to anyone.”
Maybe he didn’t. But does that matter? What matters is he took advantage of a woman who thought she did not have the power to stop what was happening. A woman who didn’t think she had the power to even talk about what happened until TWENTY-SIX YEARS after it happened, even though she was the daughter of a filmmaker and the granddaughter of a pop music singer.
A friend of mine recently asked a question that I hate hearing the most around all of these stories, “Why now?” He was a male. What’s worse is hearing that question from fellow females. What’s even worse than that is hearing about a woman, who you thought you admired for being a strong feminist role model, come out against a fellow woman, accusing her of lying about being raped. Not sure if I agree with everything this writer said about Lena Dunham, but she does show that there are dark, ugly spots in all corners of Hollywood, for men and women alike, that need to be exposed. At this point, I couldn’t agree more with what my husband said: “I don’t trust anyone anymore.”
I hate even having to answer the “Why now?” question, but in case there are any others out there who genuinely wonder why these women are only just now coming out with these allegations, let me explain:
As a woman, our place in the workplace isn’t guaranteed. We are expected to meet higher expectations for less pay. We are expected to sacrifice more, but still receive less respect.
If you disagree with any of this, you are being ignorant. It’s time to wake up. And I’m not necessarily saying this from personal experience, because luckily I believe I work in a pretty forward-thinking and progressive field where the men I’ve worked with typically respect women and treat them as their peers, my current job notwithstanding.
Nonetheless, there are those who still think these women are coming out now because they’re making it up to get attention. Others are describing what is happening to all these men as a “witch hunt.” (Thanks, Mattie, for sharing that on Facebook today.) Then are the worst, men like our president, who completely dismiss the issue all together and make it about themselves instead. Case and point:
What does his so-called “Fake News,” which he apparently capitalizes now like it’s a proper noun, have to do with women getting sexually assaulted?! Well guess what, ladies and gentlemen, because even our own president is not an exception to the many male assailants who have been accused of sexual assault. To say this disturbs me, upsets me or outrages me simply does not do my feelings justice about the matter. My blood is boiling as I type this. I actually almost left this whole part out because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to keep myself calm as I wrote this and stop from turning this whole thing into a post about HIM. But I’m not going to do that, because he doesn’t deserve that much space on my blog. Moving on…
So, to those of you who think these women are making it up to get attention, or try to turn it around and say that men are the ones being victimized here, or worse—you just dismiss it all together and play the ignorant bliss card—let’s get two things straight: 1) 97% of the time, the stories are true, while most likely 80% of cases go unreported. 2) Yes, they are trying to get attention. For themselves? No. For women everywhere who have been victims of sexual assault and feel as though they can’t come forward? YES.
Myself included, I know women who still have NEVER come out against their assailants. Because to some of us, we might not think it’s “worth it” anymore. To others, we just want to forget it ever happened in the first place because it is embarrassing and it brings back memories we would rather leave in the past. Still there are more that simply can’t, or feel as though they can’t, because they don’t have the reputation or credibility to back up their side of the story. Until now. And THAT is “why now.”
It is time. Maybe not for all of us yet, but to those who can, and have, I applaud you, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your bravery, courage, fierceness and unwillingness to let the patriarchy continue to rule how we live our lives.
It is time for everyone, men and women, celebrity and non-celebrity alike, to be held accountable for their actions. It is time to not only say, “Me, too,” but to ask, “What about him?”