Thanks To #MeToo, My Daughters Don’t Have To Ignore The Kind Of Behaviour I Did
By Gurpreet Randev
PHOTO © vitapix/Getty Images
Feb 21, 2018
Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Dustin Hoffman. Big names with big mistakes. And now, finally now, with big consequences.
The pain of #MeToo is as common to a woman as the pain of menstruation.
I have two young daughters. They are my everything. My world. And while they are too young to understand how our culture is changing, they will be coming of age in a time that might look vastly different than the one we’ve known before them.
The nasty shouts we endured as young school girls walking with friends. The sexual innuendos and dirty leers of old, crass men when we started our first jobs in retail, fast food establishments and grocery stores. The unwanted, persistent, defiant touches of men we encountered in social settings at the restaurant, the bar, public transportation. The pushy, aggressive gropes of men we should be able to trust in closer proximity, in personal relationships, in our lives.
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We learned to ignore it. To turn away from it. We told ourselves that it couldn’t affect us if we don’t pay it any attention. Don’t look at them, don’t answer them, don’t engage them. It’ll be okay if we don’t pay them any mind. Whatever you do, don’t let it get to you.
But it did get to us. Their words, their language, their looks, their touch. We buried it as deep as we could and still, it would rear its ugly head to catch us off guard. In that unexpected moment of silence within ourselves, there it would be, that memory we had mistakenly convinced ourselves didn’t exist anymore.
While [my daughters] are too young to understand how our culture is changing, they will be coming of age in a time that might look vastly different than the one we’ve known before them.
This is the world we live in and this is the world we, as women, all know. The pain of #MeToo is as common to a woman as the pain of menstruation. We encounter it regularly and with a resigned understanding that, this too, shall pass.
But now, perhaps, is the time of reckoning. Now is the time that we’ve all been waiting for, for ourselves and the ones who will come after us. When men can no longer abuse their privilege and power to single-handedly alter, or even destroy, the very course of a woman’s life. When men will be held accountable for their wrongdoings, their crimes, their culture of aggression towards women. When even powerful men like Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby will have to face the consequences of their vile actions. When we will no longer be powerless in a world that’s turned a blind eye to our injustice.
My daughters will understand that it is a woman’s right to feel safe in her own body. That we are more than the objectified sum of our body parts. My daughters will know that men cannot take ownership of our bodies, nor our worth. Men cannot make us doubt ourselves, our clothes, our choices or our actions. No matter how important or powerful that man may be, he will not be the one who is in control of our lives.
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And yes, many men are our allies. They understand the system we are rallying against. As we now fight for our rightful dues, they will stand alongside us but that does not, cannot, diminish the fact that there are also men who have hurt us. Who will continue to hurt us unless our collective voice becomes stronger than theirs.
My daughters will understand that it is a woman’s right to feel safe in her own body.
But, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear it: that collective voice is straining to be heard. The brave women who came first, and the ones who are still scared but are trying so very hard — each of us is raising our voices decibel by decibel. Pay close attention, and you’ll hear us getting a little louder with each passing day. Until a little becomes a lot, and a lot becomes unbearable.
Unbearably louder and louder to drown out all the wrong we have encountered. So unbearably loud that one day, my daughters and yours may not have to say a single word at all. #MeToo