Can #MeToo Go From Moment to Movement?

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It's funny how many famous men feel compelled to weigh in on the #MeToo movement with completely tone deaf observations. It's as if they just don't get it that women are no longer willing to put up with this bullshit. There's a current that flows beneath their narrative, that men have a right to abuse women and women need to accept it. The patriarchal construct is unraveling, but these men are clinging desperately to the threads. Posing as allies, they are parroting the very attitudes the #MeToo movement seeks to confront without the slightest whiff of self awareness. Some men are convinced the momentum will dissipate and they will be able to return to the status quo.

After all, boys will be boys.

Amirite?

Not so fast, fellas. 

That means, you, Matt, Louie, Mario are not welcome back to the party. We see you lurking outside, hoping to slip in the side door. Not now, not six months from now, not ever. Your fifteen minutes were over months ago. You aren't in a time out, your time's up and you're out. You traded in your fame card when you assaulted, degraded, and abused women merely because you felt you could get away with it. There's no acceptable amount of time for you to avoid the public spotlight and then come skipping back as if all is forgiven. Your contrition is false, you are tainted, stained, deflated, and defeated. You don't get the shiny prize of fame and fortune anymore, you get the sad sentence of humiliation borne from your abhorrent actions. 

And you would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling women.

You know, the women you abused without compunction, until you got caught with your pants down.

It means that you, Karl, need to wake up and realize that young women are not required to endure sexual harassment so you can sell couture. You're a fat shaming, woman hating, out of touch narcissist who sullies the legacy of Coco Chanel. Sexual abuse is not part of the job description for a fashion model. Curves are not ugly. You know what's ugly? Your archaic attitudes. They're out of fashion and irrelevant. We're fed up, with you. Sashay away. 

It means you, Tony, have shown your true colors, and your special magical self-help bullshittery won't protect you. If you truly valued women, you would never have physically intimidated and attempted to humiliate a woman in a public forum, a woman who paid for the privilege of being insulted and verbally assaulted. We see you. We heard you. You can't walk this horse back into the barn. 

It means you, Donald, and your grab 'em by the pussy "locker room talk." The manner in which you regularly and shamelessly insult and demean women is inexcusable. Your absurd early morning Twitter rants, the endless deny, deflect, distract, repeat, it's deeply disturbing. Your vitriol may play in your rallies, but your days are numbered. 

#YouToo shall pass.

#MeToo is a moment but it won't become a movement unless we maintain the momentum. We will have to fight to keep this energy moving forward. We can't capitulate. We can't make exceptions. We can't give a free pass to men with intellect or talent or money or power or creativity. Women are equals. We are not objects. We are not less than. We have a right to move through the world unafraid, unashamed, and unimpeded. Sexism is deeply ingrained in cultures around the world, tied to firmly entrenched religious, social, political ideologies. Challenging these ideologies will not be easy, but it must be done. We must do it for ourselves. We must do it for each other. We must do it for our young women who are STILL being treated as second class citizens. We have to challenge the status quo. Shift outmoded perceptions. Rewrite the code.

It's not just men who abuse women, women abuse each other when they excuse, encourage, and enforce sexist ideologies. When women refuse to stand up for each other, to protect each other, to fight for each other, we are participants in the patriarchy. When women see each other as competitors, we are playing into a false narrative that holds us back and keeps us down. And, sadly, there are also female sexual abusers and they must be held to the same standards. 

It's not just women who are victims of sexual harassment and assault, we need to acknowledge this. No one should be abused or assaulted at work, at school, at home, at church, or anywhere by anyone, ever. That revelation needs to be part of the equation moving forward. More than that, we need to acknowledge and illuminate the myriad ways that women of color and LGBTQ people suffer systemic abuses daily, and do everything we can to help them rise. 

As the daily onslaught of assaults on decency continue, from the casual and overt acceptance of racism, to the rising tide of Xenophobia, to the rhetoric of fear and hate gaining sway, to the sanctioning of homophobia and the eroding of women's reproductive rights, to the backsliding of decades of progress, we must stay focused and committed. We must be a rising tide, lifting all boats, maintaining and gaining momentum. So that when arrive at the shore we are a tsunami bringing a wave of acceptance, equality, and possibility.

We must take this moment and turn it into a movement so that one day no woman, nobody will ever have to say #MeToo again.

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