My #metoo is #mentoo
#metoo has been a movement worthy of much attention and it’s about damn time. As someone who has dealt with this crap several times in my career, I’m tired of seeing the abuse of power and how it translates into sexual harassment and bullying. But let’s be clear – as women, we don’t own #metoo. This isn’t a hashtag that belongs to a gender – it belongs to those of us who have been the victims of this appalling and entitled behaviour.
Brendan Fraser has recently come forward with his allegation against Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s one time president, Philip Berk and the response from the HFPA was laughable except no one can seem to understand the joke. His claim was dismissed saying that Berk meant it as a joke. So that’s okay because he didn’t mean it? We can move on? Wink. Nudge. Get it?
When I first started following #metoo I was compelled to create a video that spoke to the thousands of people in my own industry who had suffered quietly for fear they would be ridiculed or, worse, – black listed. Career over. I put out a request to interview the people in my industry on a platform that reached over 5,000 people. I got 112 responses. Of those responses – only 27 said they would share their story. Of those 27 – ZERO were willing to have their identity exposed. Can you blame them?
Perhaps more interesting than just the abysmal response was the fact that several of the people I connected with – were men. They were apologetic and didn’t want to take away from the suffering these women had endured. They declined to share their story for fear it would seem silly or they would incur some serious social shaming. Would they have? My guess is that it’s quite possible.
We talk about inclusivity yet here we are, mocking or blowing off accusations from men. Saying that they don’t belong in this movement against the abuse of power and the gross mistreatment of individuals. Is it because we think they should be able to handle it? Do we think that because there are some major douchebags out there (Harvey cough.. sputter), that all men are prone to this behaviour and don’t deserve our empathy or sympathy? Are we essentially telling them their voices shouldn’t and won’t be heard? Isn’t that the very issue that got us into this pickle in the first place? Shouldn’t we be leading by example and #movingforward to create a united front against all forms of this unacceptable behaviour. Doesn’t that include all of us? I raise my daughter to treat everyone equal, so I should too.
At a time when mental illness seems to be on the rise, why would we do anything to silence anyone in pain? For me, #metoo is #mentoo. I feel everyone who has been a victim has a right to be heard and should be encouraged to speak out. We’ve all seen the damage that is caused when voices are silenced.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.