I’ve been thinking a lot about the #metoo movement lately. Here in Canada, we are not without political scandal. In the past month we have had our fair share of politicians and influential media people who have been accused of sexual misconduct and left their job or been suspended as a result.
The thing that kills me is the consistency of the feelings the women share. Nearly every single one of them were in a situation with a man who had power over them of some sort due to a direct boss-employee type of relationship, or the man was in a position to influence their career in some way.
Why does this kill me? Because I find myself thinking, what girl in her right mind would put herself in that situation? And what women wouldn’t say what the actual fuck when some guy randomly whips out his dick and blows a load all over his office floor? Why wouldn’t you turn down the next round of drinks instead of leaving yourself in a state of impairment that makes you vulnerable?
Well, I guess Margaret Atwood said it best.
Nothing changes instantaneously…..in a gradually heating bathtub, you‘d be boiled to death before you knew it.
The problem is that women, although we have made great advances in terms of choice and lifestyle and rights, have been sitting in that fucking bathtub for so long that we haven’t noticed how hot the water is. Women feel like they can’t say no. They feel like they have to accept bad behaviour. We have been conditioned to tolerate things we don’t like to keep the peace.
We do it in all of our relationships, not just in regards to sexual misconduct in the workplace. Or out of the workplace.
We are so so fucking worried that we are going to offend someone by being honest about what we want or don’t want. By asking for what we need and refusing to settle. We put our own needs last for the sake of others around us.
There is this perception that a woman who stands up for herself is selfish, or a bitch, or just plain difficult.
Well SO WHAT?
Nothing is going to change unless we contribute to that change. And by contributing, I mean turn the cold water tap on and demand better. Stop accepting shit because that’s what feels easier in the moment. It’s not easier.
And it doesn’t mean that men aren’t the ones responsible for this crap. I just feel like we have put the expectation on men to treat women fairly and respectfully and they have been fucking it up for so long, why are we trusting them to them to fix it?
They are the ones who need to adjust their behaviour, but people do what “works”. It’s been working for men all this time. And until every single one of us girls says Oh Hell No every single time and demands to be treated as equals, the bad behaviour will continue.
It’s not a woman’s fault. It’s never her fault. But it’s our responsibility to fight for something that is better. It’s our responsibility to catalyze change for our daughters. Sometimes we just forget that we are powerful enough to say no, and that is the message we need to keep repeating. We need to hear that we will be supported when we say no, and that can only come from changing the current culture and the imbalance of power.