Over the past several weeks a few of the men in my life have made snarky, disparaging comments about the #MeToo movement, and it got me thinking; why are otherwise decent men so clueless about the actual meaning of this movement?
For example, my father: on the one hand, he’s stated emphatically that if he found out that anyone had hurt his wife, daughter, sister, etc. in “that way”, he’d handle the asshole. It’s likely there would be violence; not that my dad is a violent dude, but he can be very protective. At the same time, he makes cracks about not being able to touch his own wife because she might have her own #MeToo story. My stepdad, the man who raised two women, has a granddaughter and nieces, who married one of the toughest chicks I’ve ever met, makes comments like this too.
Clearly, I don’t find these jokes amusing.
I don’t feel like this movement, or these stories, are difficult to comprehend. It’s not like the men and women coming forward are talking about their significant others giving them affection, or people approaching them respectfully asking them on dates. We’re talking about men who’ve used their power and influence to elicit sexual favors from unwilling partners. Who’ve threatened, coerced, and sometimes even drugged and raped. Men who catcall. Men who unleash violent tirades on women who reject their advances or don’t answer quickly enough in dating apps. Men who like to think of themselves as nice guys but simultaneously complain about Chads and advocate for the redistribution of sex, i.e. legal rape.
It’s absolutely unfathomable to me that anyone in my life doesn’t get this.
Do you think it’s possible to educate people who have this kind of attitude? The kinds of people who immediately side with the accused or blame the victim or downplay the need to bring these stories to light?
I have plenty of my own #MeToo stories, from the age of 11 or 12 onward. I don’t tell them, and maybe I should.