Saying "What About Men" In Response To #MeToo Completely Misses The Point

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Following an avalanche of sexual harassment and sexual assault claims against film producer Harvey Weinstein (who admitted to harassment in a statement to The New York Times but denied all allegations of assault), actress Alyssa Milano encouraged her Twitter followers to use the phrase "me too" in order to highlight just how many women have been victims of similar crimes. The phrase has been trending on multiple social media sites, but one particular type of response to #MeToo completely misses the point of the movement, so much so that it actually contributes the harm that the hashtag was meant to combat.

Milano's tweet asked "all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted" to write "me too" in order to "give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem," because it's not something people tend to volunteer about themselves. That leads to victims feeling stigmatized, ashamed, and alone. The sheer amount of allegations against Weinstein (more than 40 as of Wednesday, accordding to CNN) shows that it's far too common, and silencing the victims and excusing the perpetrators only serves to fuel rape culture. Millions of victims are coming forward to show solidarity with each other, but a certain subset has emerged that's not interested in solidarity, instead attempting to silence the victims once again. Perhaps a better hashtag for them would be #YesButMoreImportantlyAlsoMe.

Ad failed to load

Milano specifically requested that women use the phrase, but according to the Independent, about 30 percent of Twitter users posting about the hashtag have been men (and there's no estimate for how many gender non-conforming people used the hashtag). Some spoke up to say they stood with women who have been victimized. Some pledged to educate others about rape culture. And then there were the ones who just couldn't stand to see women in the spotlight, and took the opportunity to mansplain that actually, men can also be sexually harassed and assaulted, and the women are forgetting about them with this hashtag.

Yes, some sex crimes are committed against men, and their voices as both survivors are supporters of survivors are welcome in the #MeToo movement, but not to the extent that women's voices are minimized once again. Changing the subject like that is the same as responding to "black lives matter" with "all lives matter." It's like interrupting someone who's talking about how they broke 15 bones in a horrific car crash to tell them that one time you got a paper cut, and that also hurt very much. For survivors who have found a voice, maybe after years of silence, it reminds them that nothing they say will ever have as much value as anything uttered by a man — or that something must also be uttered by a man in order for it to be important at all.

Ad failed to load

Let's look at the statistics. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in four girls are sexually abused before age 18, compared to one in six boys. That gender gap becomes a canyon among adults; one in five women have been raped, compared to one in 71 men. Overall, 91 percent of rape and sexual assault victims are female. And the perpetrators of sex crimes are 99 percent male, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. So just like you wouldn't show up at a 9/11 memorial to loudly proclaim that your dad died of a heart attack, and his life also had value, please don't diminish the epidemic of sexual violence against women by reminding them that focusing on them for a time isn't OK because of the men it excludes.

This reminder, though it hopes to in some way uplift male survivors, actually only shows that the person doing the reminding doesn't know how rape culture functions. Men often don't speak out about their assaults for fear of what other men will say to them. They fear being emasculated because our culture has enforced the idea that being the victim of a harassment or assault means you are weak. By fighting for more visibility and support for survivors who are women, we break down barriers that are also silencing men.

Men need to do better. If you're a man who's proud to say that you've never committed sexual harassment or assault, I've got news for you: that's not something to be proud of. You don't get a trophy. Have you ever stayed silent while your buddy hits on a woman who's clearly not interested? Do you ever excuse misogyny as "just a joke"? Did you vote for a president that bragged about committing sexual assault on camera? If so, you're part of the problem. It's time to shut up and listen to women for a change.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

A Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the te…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

These Photos Of North West Then & Now Will Take You On A Sweet Trip Down Memory Lane

When Kim Kardashian welcomed her first daughter, North West, with her husband, Kanye West, in 2013, her whole life was changed. The social media and reality TV star became a mom for the first time and her Instagram presence took a very adorable turn.…
By Casey Suglia

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

This Is What It Means If Your Pregnancy Test Changes Overnight

The time between when a woman suspects she might be pregnant and when it is confirmed for sure is the longest of her life. Regardless of whether you are hoping for a positive or a negative result, the odds are good that you are sweating bullets when …
By Shannon Evans

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

This Woman Thought She Had An Eyelash Stuck In Her Eye. Then It Moved.

I'm not a person who is easily icked out. As a kid, I collected bugs and thought I was going to be an entomologist and asked Santa Claus for ant farms and nets to catch bees. I'm still super curious about anything that flies and crawls, which might s…
By Karen Fratti

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack