I have seen plenty of genitals I didn't want to see. I have received unwanted romantic advances during job interviews. I have been "grabbed by the pussy" in public by a complete stranger. So, yes, absolutely, #MeToo. The fact that almost all women have a Me Too story is not a revelation. Women have always known this is how it is and we work hard to try to protect ourselves from abuse. Be vigilant when walking to your car at night. Carry mace in your purse. Don't put your hair in a ponytail. Trying Not to Get Raped is every woman's unseen, un-asked-for, shitty f—-ing hobby.
Seeing the professional downfall of powerful Hollywood serial abusers has given a lot of women hope. I mean, "hope" is a strange thing to call it when mostly what you're hoping for is for men to stop masturbating in the seat across from you on the bus. But seeing the outrage and public dismissal of seemingly untouchable public figures like Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and Ben Affleck, among others, has been truly heartening. Witnessing the media and the public at large going to bat for victims of abuse is one of the only encouraging things that has happened this year.
Even the egregious over-corrections from disingenuous men who vow to never hug a woman or take private business meetings with women again (for fear of accidentally sexually assaulting them, I guess?) are heartening, in their own despicable way. These men are clearly trying to make the #MeToo movement seem childish and hysterical, because they're scared they might be the one called out next. And that fear gives me hope, too. For too long, abusive men in power have not thought enough about the repercussions of their disgusting behavior towards women, and, because sexual harassment is so difficult to prove, these crimes have gone unpunished by the legal system. But now, suddenly, the careers of powerful men are at stake, and for once they've got something to lose. Maybe the fear of being the next abuser to lose their career will be what finally causes abusive men to assess their behavior. Maybe this fear will prevent future sexual assaults, or make them more difficult to get away with. Maybe this fear could be what drives positive social change. ♦