#metoo - a review
I was about 12-years-old the first time I went to a concert. My friend’s family was going to Summerfest, Wisconsin’s yearly music festival, and we saw Brandy. It was AMAZING! Her parents let us go to the show alone, meeting up with them afterward. We wandered around on cloud nine after having such a grown-up experience and saw Hootie and the Blowfish playing a couple stages down! About two songs in I felt a hand on my butt. I froze. My friend’s father was standing directly behind me; his hand cupping me. He moved with me when I inched ahead. Panicked, I moved to the other side of my friend and luckily (?) he didn’t follow. The rest of the evening is a blur. I still wonder what would have happened if I had called him out publicly.
It would’ve taken a lot of guts.
This was a story I hadn’t thought about for decades until my misguided, but very thoughtful, male friend blurted out the question: “Well, when was the first time you were sexually assaulted?” In the wake of the #metoo movement, I asked men close to me to try to talk less and listen more. Ask more questions of the women around them when it comes to women-centric issues. The request was met with frustration and anger initially but then an earnest effort. And while his intentions were good, his question was not. There are less invasive ways to ask women their thoughts on this movement that aren’t ‘share your deepest darkest memories with me.’
That being said, his effort and this movement give me hope. I know there is so much further to go. We need to go beyond whether or not an act is criminal and we need to amplify the voices of those who don’t have the luxury of being famous. But the ball has to start rolling somewhere. Not until everyone feels respected, believed and not as if they are some prop in someone else’s sexual experience, will we see real progress.
Lately, some have been saying that the #metoo movement is imploding. I don’t see it that way. The debate is developing and getting interesting because it’s forcing people to come face-to-face with their ingrained societal biases not just about assault, but about women’s sexual pleasure. The more we continue to bring stories of harassment and sexual discomfort to light, the more awareness we can raise and minds we can enlighten.
That’s why I feel the work The Emotional Labor Union is doing is more important than ever! This is officially a call to action, especially to middle America (to my home state of Wisconsin: I’m looking at you!) Let’s start more chapters! Let’s put down our phones and get women engaged in using their voices and sharing their experiences IRL! Let’s find common ground and band together and make change! Women are 51% of this country and if we all dedicated time to learning from one another, there’s no telling what we could do because together our voices are power.
Casey is the founder of the ELU and is unapologetically navigating creative entrepreneurship. While she admits she doesn't always know what she's doing, she's fully embraced the 'fake it til you make it/everyone is faking it mentality.' She enjoys naps, whiskey and all things cat-related.