You Too versus #MeToo

I’ve kept my mouth shut so far on #MeToo, but foolishly I cannot seem to keep quiet any longer. That’s because of the generational divide that seems to be opening up between women my age and older, and the younger generation on the topic of sexual harassment under the #MeToo campaign.

I am sad to see so many older female icons like Catherine Deneuve being attacked for expressing an opinion on the #metoo campaign. But I actually wish they would stay quiet, or at least be a little more nuanced. Because warning of potential consequences of the #MeToo movement is fairly pointless. No one knows. The main consequence of speaking out is that the media are now salivating at the prospect of portraying this as a battle between different groups of women (just like the stay at home versus working mum debate) and this has the potential to totally obscure the original point of the campaign. So please can everyone calm down and stop rising to the media bait.

Yet here I am, speaking out too.

Because the world was a different place when we were young. And perhaps we have internalised misogyny, as was said on twitter this morning. But there was no Stay Safe programme in schools to help us work out what was acceptable, there was no internet to tell us, and we didn’t confide in our parents in those days either. We just dealt with it as best we could, and we’ve been dealing with it for 50, 60, 70 or more years, but not necessarily in ways that would be acceptable to today’s women.

Sexual harassment on the street? Change the way you dress. An older man puts his hand on your leg when you’re eight? Keep out of his way. Factory production line stops and cheers as you walk through in your suit and high heels like they’ve never seen a woman before? Hold your head up high and concentrate on not tripping over. Work colleagues bring you to a lunch time pub with a stripper? Make them sit outside.

These are some of the challenges I have dealt with over the years. I haven’t forgotten them, but I don’t think they traumatised me.

And remember I have always been socially awkward, always jealous of those women (especially Liverpool and Dublin women) who always seem to have a smart answer for any man who dared to give them grief.

Hopefully if the #metoo campaign succeeds, it will make life easier for all women, in all situations. But I don’t think that misogyny will completely disappear, I think it will just go underground and women will still need to be ready and able to cope with it at times.

Relationships between younger men and women may well change as a result of this campaign, but hopefully it will all work out in a positive way: every time I see a young dad hugging his child to his chest in a sling, my heart lifts at the changes that have already happened.

At the same time, I think that most of us older women have the confidence and experience to continue our relationships with men in the way that we choose. We shouldn’t be criticising the younger generation for the changes they want to see.

It’s true that the behaviours that negatively affected my life are not covered by the #MeToo campaign as far as I know, and I do not write about them publicly. But perhaps if the campaign really succeeds, it will ultimately improve all human behavior. And that would certainly be a very good thing.

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8 thoughts on “You Too versus #MeToo

  1. I’m afraid I have to disagree! This is our battle! There are still many older women out there who have not had the courage to speak who are still suffering the effects of historical abuse. The #metoo campaign is about speaking out and showing that it is not okay! Sexual harassment and abuse are not acceptable and the more that prominent people talk about it the easier it becomes for everyone else to talk about it. This has been proven time and again with other campaigns, such as mental health, AIDS, etc.
    Anything that makes it ok to talk is good as far as I am concerned. I am sure that this campaign will help those affected by harassment and abuse to speak up. Many of these women have been badly affected by men’s actions and not had the courage to talk before. This campaign encourages them to do so. It may not change the way men behave but it will hopefully stop them getting away with it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have views on this campaign and they would not be popular so I keep my mouth shut
    I grew up in a time where fighting for your rights and survival was a way of life and im appreciatibe for that life as hard as it was as made me who i am today
    A fighter

    Generation snowflake is taking survival skills away from younger women and children and they will suffer later in life in my opinion

    But hey il be slated for my opinion regardless so

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you won’t be slated on here Mandie – there do seem to be a lot of differing opinions on this campaign and I suppose I just wish that everyone would be respectful, otherwise the only winners will be the media

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  3. My issue with the #MeToo campaign is that I became confused as to what it meant. In the beginning I thought it referred to rape, older or authority figures making passes, stalking, and overt sexual harassment. Now it seems to have been watered down to include being wolf-whistled in the street, an unasked for hug. kiss or even a touch (not in a private place) that is not repeated when you clearly don’t like it, or merely a comment on your appearance. Someone defined it as anything that makes you feel uncomfortable. Well wolf whistles don’t make me feel uncomfortable but to others they obviously do. It’s such a grey area but one thing I know for sure – a wolf whistle, a touch, or a comment is absolutely not the same as being raped. So I didn’t join in with this #MeToo thing because I refuse to declare #MeToo about feeling uncomfortable sometimes when there are women out there suffering with life changing traumas.

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