#MeToo – Just another cause for the slactivists
#MeToo. The hashtag has been mentioned by more than 12 million individuals since celebrity Alyssa Milano asked women to retweet it to signify past experiences of sexual harassment. The mentions were a mix of heartbreaking, sad, angry, snide….and rude. Women recounted countless experiences of sexual harassment, assault, bullying, domestic violence…and the list goes on.
There were calls for men to join in to identify if they perhaps had been a perpetrator in the past…not very many participated. But now what? The internet has become a playing ground for the armchair activists, better known as “Slactivists.” Were you one of the 12 million who carefully typed #MeToo into a tweet, facebook post, or Instagram caption? Did you share your story, your anger? Or did you retweet in a show of support…or perhaps you were one of the anti-MeToo activists who thought the campaign should just go and fuck itself?
Regardless of where you fell on the #MeToo spectrum, it’s time for us to sit down and have a frank discussion about slactivism and why it rarely results in real change. And don’t get me wrong, awareness raising is a key precursor to policy and behavior change. But is that what we received from the #MeToo campaign? Have policies been created to prevent sexual harassment? Or have policies been created to demand for stricter sentences/ punishments for the Harvey Weinsteins of the world? Last I heard, Weinstein was making an ass of himself at rehab by answering calls during counseling sessions and insisting that all of the encounters in question were consensual.
Are women wearing longer skirts? Are they smiling and flirting less?
And behaviors? Have behaviors changed? Are women wearing longer skirts? Are they smiling and flirting less? Trust me, despite those 12 million mentions of #MeToo, there is still a long list of individuals who are placing the onus on women to prevent their own sexual assault.
So that brings me to men…the #MeToo narrative has proven one thing, that women are being assaulted all the time. Literally. All the time. But the narrative missed the mark. We were inundated with testimonials from women, but where was the call to action? Where was the demand for men to make a change, to rectify their own behavior, to provide their own testimonies after careful self-reflection?
Image Credit: Pexels.com
As women, we live with this shit every single day. The trauma, the flashbacks, the feelings of shame (there is so much shame). Every experience causes us to look inward. Did I do something to make him do that to me? Did I send the wrong signal? Why me again? Can I just walk down the street one time without having things screamed at me?
Can I just walk down the street one time without having things screamed at me?
As men, when you tell me to smile, when you place your arm around me for too long after we’ve been introduced, when you wake me up for sex (when clearly I don’t want it), do any of these experiences cause you to look inward? Where is your self-reflection? Where is your questioning of the actions that brought you to this place?
Between you and me, I’m fed up with the social media campaigns. I think marches are stupid…and to be honest, I don’t really even like hashtags. I’m ready to see real action. I’m ready for men and women alike to do a better job of reflecting on the behaviors that have brought them to the situations that hurt. The situations that cause shame. The situations that we repress. I’m ready for policy makers to let go of their own narrative and learn to give a shit about the people you are supposed to be serving. You’re a man who’s making decisions and policies about my life, about my body? Okay, fine. But you better do your homework. You better speak to me, and women like me. You better arm yourself with real research and stats. And don’t even think about bringing your own personal stance into decisions that will affect my life and my body.
While slactivism is a relatively new phenomenon, it is the same lack of behavior change, the same complicit human nature that has allowed the Harvey Weinsteins of the world to continue in the fashion they have, for the number of years that they have. I don’t know if this article is any better than the countless #MeToos, but I can assure you, once I close my laptop, I’m going to continue the fight for real policy change and behavior change in the real world. You all need to come out from the glare of your screens and do the same.
Featured image credit: CNN