My Thoughts on #MeToo

I think all women, everywhere, know what it is like to be afraid. We are cautious to walk alone after sundown. We adorn our key chains with bedazzled cans of pepper spray. We clutch our car keys like a shank in between our fingers when we walk to our car at night. And we all know why. But even so, we never talk about why. Everyone has been so hesitant to confront the tangible, suffocating reasons that women have to be frightened. That is, until the #MeToo trend took over the internet.

photo source: cbsnews

If you haven’t heard already, on October 16, actress Alyssa Milano asked victims of sexual assault or sexual harassment on Twitter to reply to her tweet with the hashtag #MeToo. And, let me tell you, the results are staggering—and horrific. On Twitter, over 1.7 million women from over 85 countries responded to Milano’s tweet and on Facebook, there were over 12 million posts within the first 24 hours.

The purpose of #MeToo is to call attention to the unseen amount of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and objectification (of women mostly, but not exclusively) in our country in order for us as a society to see the magnitude of the issue. The implications of the trend have really shocked me, in part because I don’t think anyone was very surprised. How complacent have we become that we’re not even surprised by millions of women admitting to being victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment? Honestly, I did not expect this apathetic response from the American public.

Another thing I did not expect, on the brighter side of things, was the reflective response of some men. I want to note that although men are also victims of sexual assault and sexual harassment, the #MeToo trend has mainly focused on the female narrative. With this in mind, #MeToo has not only caused men to see the vastness of the issue, but it has also caused them to reflect on their treatment of women, and how it can be improved. I thought this was an especially important step towards a brighter future, as progress begins with self-improvement. I commend the men who have taken this responsibility.

photo source: scarymommy

Now, I would be lying if I said #MeToo is without faults—there are some negative implications of the trend. For one, in some senses, #MeToo pressures female victims to step forward with their story. While I would say this seems encouraged, to further get the point across, no one should be put in the position where they feel as though they have to vocalize their trauma. Also, #MeToo combines the acts of sexual assault and sexual harassment, two very different things, into one synonymous category.

photo source: twitter

Despite all of this, #MeToo is a huge, huge eye-opener to the American public. Something has got to change. What exactly? I’m not so sure. But the bravery of the millions of victims who have come forward cannot be ignored or tossed to the side. We must use this event to light a fire under our feet, and push us to take the steps towards change. It’s time for society to take a firm stance against sexual harassment and sexual assault. It’s time for us to make discussions on sexism and its implications commonplace. But most of all, it’s time for us to decide that we must raise ourselves to a higher standard of morality and common human decency.