Momservation: With this unprecedented breakthrough in what will be tolerated women can finally discard the “whisper network” and be free to show that we are equally (or more so) intelligent, tough, and damn capable of leading.
It’s not because Matt Lauer was fired.
It’s not because Harvey Weinstein was exposed as the predator that he is.
It’s not even because it’s #MeToo.
It’s because the good guys are still out there in disproportional numbers despite the non-stop news cycle that makes us think otherwise.
It’s because I want my daughter to know how to deal with life’s inevitable a**holes (that can be women too) not by lying down and screaming “Victim!” or waiting 30 years and then hiring a celebrity lawyer.
It’s because if sustained change in workplace culture is going to come from this modern day witch hunt it is this:
There has never been a better time for women to assume rightful places of influence and power than now because everyone has finally been forced to be on their long-overdue best behavior.
In this movement of exposing sexual predators in the workforce, these three reasons are why I’ve finally chosen to speak up.
Because it alarms me, with every breathless breaking news story of another man being caught with his pants down and finally being held accountable, that all men seem to be being painted with the same broad brush strokes as a few slimy, lecherous, fools.
The good guys are still out there, people; Supporting women and their aspirations; Applauding and encouraging their achievements. (Thanks, Hubby. Thanks, Dad.)
For every manager who asked me out (one in high school who should not have been propositioning a minor, and another who made it a condition of whether I would receive requested time off), I have had half a dozen more who mentored me hoping to help advance my career. (Thanks Roger Dhesi, Tom Huiskens, Bob Herfeldt, Bob Giroux, Steve Swatt and Tom Gardner.)
Yes, get rid of the pond scum who use their power to satiate their erections and try to bury anyone who holds them accountable. But don’t forget a reason women continue to rise to the top is because of the much deeper waters of men who believe women have something valuable to contribute and deserve a place at head of the table.
I also tried to stay on the sidelines of this #MeToo movement because of my place in it. As Lindy West said, “I wish women didn’t have to rip our pasts open and show you everything and let you ogle our pain for you to believe us.”
I long ago began quietly preparing my daughter that as an attractive female she will always be subjected to unwanted advances. Sad truth.
But rather than demonize boys and men I tried to empower her instead; showing her the line that shouldn’t be crossed, educating her on what to be wary of, teaching her how to deflect, defend, or put a stop to people crossing her line of comfort and self-respect.
I don’t want to have to tell her (or you) what I’ve been subjected to to earn this battle-scarred knowledge—or how alarmingly early it started (by people I had trusted to see me as more than a conquest).
But I realized if I am truly going to model what a self-respecting, confident in her abilities, intelligent, capable, take-no-bullsh** woman looks like for my daughter, I can no longer stifle my voice for fear of criticism, judgment or retribution.
In that, I do stand with my #MeToo sisters. Let’s not trot out a long and sordid past of abuses to prove our victimization. Let’s rise up as battle-tested warriors to the cause and show our young women that no pervert can stand in our way.
Because, let’s face it, it’s well-documented that for centuries men have screwed things up because the little brain rules the big brain. On that absence of anatomy and testosterone alone women are more qualified to run things.
We are also the majority of the population in America so we should finally be reflecting that in representation. (Speaking especially to you, all-male panel on Women’s Empowerment.)
So if society is truly going to capitalize on this unprecedented exposure and action of purging the lecherous among us who abuse their positions of power—then let’s make it really count.
If there was ever a time to change the history of a male dominated society calling all the shots (and frankly, wreaking havoc), it looks like it’s now ladies.
Let’s make history show that thanks to a dogged reporter, a courageous victim, an upstanding publication, and a social media movement with substance, women finally found a way to make men behave while asserting themselves in long-overdue positions of influence and power:
Keep all hands, feet, arms, lips, pointy objects, rude, crude, inappropriate comments, advances, and indecent proposals to yourself lest YOU finally lose that job…for fault of your own.
That’s right. Let’s make this movement count. Let’s finally stop solely relying on the “whisper culture” to protect ourselves and our jobs and grab the keys to the kingdom and our rightful, unharrassed chance to show just what we’re capable of.
This is worth speaking up about.