Is #MeToo The Way Forward?

October 19, 2017

As #MeToo lights up too many women's Facebook walls like a disappointed yet empowered Christmas tree this past week, another influential actor has come out with a story of sexual harassment and degradation. 


Jennifer Lawrence told guests at the ELLE Women In Hollywood event on Monday about the time early on in her career when she was subjected to a nude line up of women competing for a part in a film. 


With only pasties covering their private parts, they were all assessed and she was told she had to lose 15 pounds in two weeks to be considered for the role. 


She felt degraded, but also felt like she had put herself in that position because she wanted to be an actor. 


And that is what it comes down to a lot of the time unfortunately. We, as women, feel that we put ourselves in the position of feeling degraded, uncomfortable, harassed, abused, bullied and *insert negative descriptor here*, that it's our fault because we wanted the role, we were nice to that guy (I mean, we smiled at him, of course he thought we wanted to be groped), or we wore what was considered to be a revealing outfit. 


The guilt needs to stop. It is NOT our fault and seeing #MeToo pepper our Facebook screens seemingly endlessly of late, is proof enough that something needs to be done to highlight and stop the indecent behaviour we are subject to on a daily basis but that we have accepted because “it’s just the way the world is”. 


We, as women, need to find the power within to stand up for ourselves if we are put in a situation that is not acceptable in any way, shape or form and, report it if it does happen. If we're not listened to in the first instance, then we need to keep reporting it until it is heard. We need to let go of the fear associated with speaking up.


We need to stop thinking that we need to subject ourselves to this unacceptable treatment to advance in our career or, simply, to be accepted. 


How can men help? I think, the answer is multi-layered but, speaking up is something that just isn't done enough. A lot of the times I have been subjected to sexually explicit or derogatory behaviour, another man has been present. It would have been appreciated if they had spoken up and said that the behaviour just isn't acceptable, especially when it happened, more often than not, in the workplace. Instead, they would laugh or get involved in the "joke" themselves. 


Don't get me wrong, I can have a laugh with the best of them, but there is a line and it is crossed way too often. 


I hope that this "inclusive for the wrong reasons" hashtag does make a difference and that we can finally bid farewell to the indecent and seemingly accepted behaviour that too many women have experienced in their lifetime. 




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