Tuesday, October 17, 2017


the whole harvey weinstein thing has opened the floodgates. i wonder why his was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back? why wasn't it last year's pussy grabbing candidate who instead was elevated to president? was it because we care more about oscar-winning actresses than we do miss universe contestants or slovenian (super?)models?

on monday, i awoke to countless posts in my facebook feed with the #metoo hashtag. the idea was that if all of us who had experienced sexual harassment or discrimination posted that, we would show the world how widespread it was.

i copied, pasted and made the post my own then deleted it, in doubt whether to post. twice. and then i thought, fuck this, we've been made to feel we can't speak for too long and now it's time to finally speak, so i posted it. adding the hashtag #misogynistdinosaurs since my particular version was more sexual discrimination than rape.

at least what i was prepared to admit both to myself and there on facebook, in that moment.

and i saw as the day progressed that my friends had copy/pasted my post, including my #misogynistdinosaurs hashtag, and i was glad i had posted. it made me feel less alone. but at the same time, i was a little shocked at how many #metoo posts were filling my feed. so many women that i know have been sexually harassed in some fashion. it's sobering.

i pondered it all day and eventually felt that i had to admit that i had hesitated to post it myself. both because i wasn't sure i wanted to admit it so publicly and because i was finding it hard to respond with an emoji to the posts that were in my feed. thumbs up seemed wrong. crying seemed too depressing and a heart emoji seemed to convey that i loved that they'd been abused. what i wanted was an emoji that would express women standing in a circle, holding one another (and i'm not a hugger, so this is big for me), in deep solidarity and sorrow over a shared experience. but facebook gives us a limited range of emoticons (and possibly emotions (undoubtedly the stuff of a different blog post)). eventually, i did settle on the heart emoji, because i felt it could also stand in for the love and support i felt towards my fellow women (there were no men in my feed admitting sexual abuse/harassment, but i do recognize that they can also be sexually abused and i would feel for them as well)).

and of course, i thought about my own instances of sexual discrimination and harassment. the first that sprang to mind was that misogynist dinosaur that i encountered in DNV, as well as the troglodyte who was both misogynist and xenophobic towards me on the local board on which i served. close behind was the mansplaining i've experienced over the past couple of years (and my whole life, actually, but it's only in the past year or so that we (women) began to put that name to it).

but the sexual harassment aspect of it also crept into my memories...that creepy asshole at the university of iowa library who was masturbating in the stacks and who made sure that i saw him. his disgusting trail of cum on the floor, dried as white droplets, visible for months afterwards in the PG section, ensuring that i couldn't forget. i reported him immediately to campus police, but they came too late to find him in his dirty old sweats and ratty hoodie. he was never caught to my knowledge, but there were multiple reports of him, i knew this because part of my college job at the local newspaper was to go to the courthouse and get the police reports. and actually, i thought of that asshole recently, when i saw dried white droplets (admittedly probably yogurt) in our stairwell at work, so i never quite shake him off. i wonder where that creep is today?

meanwhile, very good friends were openly admitting on facebook that they had been sexually abused as children, raped as young women, and harassed throughout their otherwise very successful careers. it was sickening, how much we women had endured in silence, feeling somehow guilty for what had been done to us.

sobering, i say. again.

and then i recalled how my relationship with the man who eventually became my first husband started out with an unwanted sexual situation. and i went on to date him for 7 years and yes, even marry him. and sex continued to be fraught with him throughout. and yet i must have thought that was normal, acceptable. what the fuck was i thinking? and where did i get that idea? even tho' he had forced himself on me and then wooed me with hangdog apologies, he also actually said to me that he "couldn't reconcile the good girl he wanted to see me as with a bad girl who would want to have sex." and i married that asshole? what was i thinking? how on earth did i ever think that was ok?

i'm not to the bottom of this yet, but i think it's a very good and therapeutic can of worms this #metoo hashtag has opened. #silverlining

No comments: