If you aren’t familiar with the #MeToo campaign by now, you probably don’t check social media often. These two words united millions of females (and some males!) together in support and solidarity of each other. I could ramble on and on about how important this discussion is but what I really want to talk about is the backlash it received.
The biggest issue people seem to have with #MeToo is that they feel that their own, or other peoples instances weren’t “serious” enough to deserve this hashtag. Which, to be fair, I can understand why some women feel this way. When something is so normalized it can be hard to actually realize what a huge problem it is. There were things that happened in college that I never even considered harassment or assault until recently because it was so engrained in me that it was ordinary.
So many times I’ve kept myself from calling people out for being sexist because I didn’t want to make things awkward, or I didn’t want to be labeled as an “angry feminist who can’t take a joke.” But the reality is, feminism can’t be held in until it is convenient. Rape culture exists in many forms and we need to be actively fighting against it if we want to move forward. So whether it’s a degrading comment or a full on assault, excusing any of this behavior shows these kinds of men that what they are doing is acceptable to continue with or even make worse. And it also discredits the good men in the world who see women as human beings and treat them with respect.
When Donald Trump excused this kind of behavior as “locker room talk” several people including myself wondered how can that be? What kind of locker room is this? Meaning, what kind of people does this man surround himself with? And if you’re someone who doesn’t recognize the seriousness of sexual assault or harassment, you are right there in that locker room with him. Sure, maybe you aren’t egging him on or laughing at the way he speaks about women, but you’re likely not saying anything to stop this behavior—which can be just as harmful. This favors the side of the predator and encourages them to go out and act on the heinousness they speak of.
Donald Trump has proved over and over that he favors a woman’s appearance over her mind and soul. And his many supporters have followed in his footsteps, slut-shaming any female celebrity who dare speak out against their leader. The other biggest complaint I saw against this movement was against women, particularly celebrities who came out with their stories because they had “sexualized themselves” in the past. Anyone who is brave enough to let down their shield and share what happened to them, should not be put down, point blank. Being vulnerable to a large audience can be terrifying and meeting them with anything but compassion is unacceptable. I am so incredibly tired of this rhetoric that any woman who shows skin is fair game for sexual assault.
It’s a beautiful thing for a woman to be comfortable in her own skin, especially with the way society is constantly trying to tell us that we’re not good enough. Sexual intimidation shatters a women’s confidence and wrongfully shames her. Your body is your own and no one else is entitled to do or say whatever they want with it. Not an outfit, a naked photo, a flirty conversation, or anything of the sort is an invitation for sexual predatory behavior from anyone.
Contributing Editor: Christina Yellamaty
Christina Yellamaty is a recent college graduate from upstate NY and currently is interning at a Legal Aid Society division in the Family Law and Immigration units. She is preparing to apply for law school where she hopes to concentrate in Human Rights Law.