The Men of Me Too
I’m talking to the guys here.
Solidarity. It’s an important thing to have if the division in this country is ever going to be resigned to history’s dustbin. A great majority of the American Division is because too few of us practice solidarity. Too many are caught up in the identity politics and the geopolitics and the ecopolitics and the sociopolitical, and the bullshit that is our ego and the bile it spits out called selfishness.
And so at first glance, men speaking out on social media in solidarity to the most recent movement to appropriately criminalize, demonize and recognize the all-too-common occurrence of women being sexually harassed and assaulted seems like a great thing. However, I’m concerned that the best kind of solidarity men can offer right now is by shutting up so you don't crowd those women speaking up.
Here’s the fine line I walk: I have grand issues with certain approaches in modern feminism. I don’t believe the future is female. I don’t think men should be silenced on all issues simply because they’ve had a voice—and the bully pulpit—since the dawn of time. I do firmly believe that men need to make room for women because they have different experiences and, therefore, unique, and at times, valuable approaches to creating a better kind of America. We need that. True diversity.
Not every explanation a man gives is mansplaining. However, men chiming in on the Me Too movement feels a little like it.
So no, men shouldn’t shut up simply because women need to have a say. And yes, men have been sexually assaulted by women and other men. But that’s not what Me Too is about. It’s not even about saying “Hey, ladies, I’m with you.” It’s about a woman who has been harassed and/or assaulted saying out loud—from a keyboard on a computer screen—that she has been harassed and/or assaulted.
Me Too comes as a response to the decades of women in Hollywood being harassed and assaulted and not feeling safe enough to report it or speak out. Until now. Finally. And of course, the issue is much bigger than Hollywood. But we're Americans and we are led by celebrity before morals. And while many of us men may have acted like disrespectful clowns or worse, as Hall wrote earlier this week, most of us are not Harvey Weinstein. Should we apologize? Yeah. But now’s not the time.
Now is the time for the women to speak. Now is the time for them to scream their Me Too frustration. Now is the time for it to fill your feeds and your ears and your heads and haunt you. Now is the time for this movement, this viral thing to run its course, because it will—all good trends die out as the news cycle provides another thing for us to be enraged over. And when it does die out and we stop seeing Me Too on our screens, remember how many there were. Remember that it happened.
Remember that it is probably still happening. Remember that you feel terrible and that instead of a blanket apology and explanation on Facebook, you are better served to be a guardian against this type of behavior. It’s that whole, If You See Something, Say Something thing. Don’t be Ben Affleck. Don’t be Casey Affleck. Don’t get in the way of all of the women who finally need to say, “Me too.”