#MeToo

#MeToo.  It’s a meme going ’round of folks (ladies mostly, I assume) indicating whether they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted. The idea is that by raising visibility on how many women this affects, it’ll spark a discussion that may lead to change.  I’m a fan of change for the better, of believing that things can and should be made better.  But I’m not a fan of just stopping at a tag.

I have two daughters and a son who I need to teach how to live in this world.  I believe strongly in

– treating folks as people, rather than genders.  It doesn’t matter whether someone is one gender or another or is non-binary or presents as the opposite of their birth binary.  We are people, with gifts, talents, and flaws.  Categorizing someone as some [thing], where [thing] is based on gender (or race or …) discounts the breadth of creativity in our Maker.  “Nope, I can’t give that one strength or confidence or … because I gave them a gender ‘foo'” strikes me as well beyond the pale.

– developing and recognizing folks’ talents, gifts, and interests.  Like sports?  Do sports.  Like art?  Do art.  Show an aptitude for nurturing and caregiving?  Use it.  Oh, you’re male / female / trans / non-binary…?  Doesn’t change any of the above.

– NOT assuming that the rest of the world works this way.   Learn to speak up for yourself.  Learn to defend yourself physically, if required.  Make it clear that you have these skills and more and aren’t afraid to use them.

– setting up situations where you gain power, not give it away.  Many of the situations where folks are harassed / assaulted / you name it involve instances where folks feel like they don’t have a choice but to go along or need to keep quiet to avoid suffering the fallout of being impacted by someone more powerful.  (Try to) always have an out, and make it clear you can and will take it.  Save money in the bank to quit the job without another one lined up.  Build a strong reputation to help provide more than one career path option other than the one that involves the Weinstein-like creepster.

– sympathizing, empathizing, and fighting for the rights of #metoos.  Life isn’t fair, becoming a #metoo isn’t fair, and having more folks in #metoo’s corner at least helps avoid some of the additional pain and sting of feeling isolated or blamed.

None of the above are guarantees to avoid being a #metoo.  Some of the above are easier to implement than others, and/or may be more challenging to implement in various life situations.  Until folks aren’t attracted by sex and power, though (meaning, likely not ever in my future until there’s a full wipeaway of all sin), I’ll equip my kids and myself with as much armor and defensive weaponry as I can.

Oh, and yes, #metoo.  Harassed, yes.  Assaulted – thankfully, unsuccessful attempt.  Now scheduled to take a women’s self-defense class in early November with my oldest daughter to help add to her armor.

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