Believe my words


Why are my words never enough?

Why is your response when I tell you this man made me feel uncomfortable "I'm sure he didn't mean to?"

Why am I forced to rank the aggression both large and small that are perpetuated against me? Did he look me up and down checking out my body with his eyes? Well, at least he didn't hold me down and rape me. Did he hold me down and rape me? Well, I did drink a lot that night and went home with him, what did I expect?

The #metoo movement has been building momentum for months, it was inevitable. The damn had been broken. But as the momentum has built another inevitable thing has happened....a backlash. We see it in articles that talk about how men are now worried to even talk to a female coworker without getting accused of sexual harassment. We see it in the responses to the Aziz Ansari piece. The hand-wringing "have we gone too far" pieces are coming fast and furious. 

And again I come back to this question. Why are my words never enough? Better yet, why don't you trust me? Do you think I don't know the difference between Harvey Weinstein and Aziz Ansari? I do. I'm mad about both. I'm mad about men who use their power to abuse and prevent women from reaching their full potential. I'm also mad about men who go on dates with women and ignore signs of her being uncomfortable with what's going on because she didn't vocalize the word "no." As if the only way we can tell when someone doesn't want to do something is by their words. 

"Well we need women to be clear"

Do you? Cause when she says no you question that. If she says she didn't verbalize it but stiffened up or tried to laugh off what was happening to get away from the situation you say "well she should have said the words". I think I've got it now. I figured out the answer. We lose either way. We truly are damned if we do damned if we don't. If I tell I'm only in it for the attention. If I don't tell it clearly didn't happen cause if it did I would have spoken up.

I get it.

You don't want to deal with it at all. You'll keep moving the goal posts so I'll never win. Because at the end of the day you need this to be a me problem. Because then it's on me to fix it; not you. You don't have to ask yourself the tough questions. Questions about how we raise men in our society. Questions about the pop culture we consume; about the theology we preach. You close your eyes and point your finger at me; it's my fault. I need to fix it. Not you.

I reject that notion. It's why I won't stop talking about it. You think it's annoying? How I can turn everything into a "feminist" issue? Well pardon me if I say I don't really care.

This is my life.

It's not a think piece.

It's not a movement.

It's my life.

Men you think it's exhausting to have go through your day hyper aware of your body and how it's interacting and being perceived by the rest of the world? Join the club. Most of us have always been living here. Women and men of color have been going through the world this way since time began. You're just finally catching up with the reality. You don't like it? Excuse me if I don't cry you a river. 

It doesn't have to be this way. For any of us. But it's not going to "go back to the way things were" either. It can't. I'm not going to let it. Because the solution isn't for you to get back to living your life unaware of your privilege and power and the rest of us continue on the way we always have. No way in hell. Things are going to change for all of us. That's the only solution I will abide by.

Believe me when I say we aren't done. Not by a long shot. You can get on board or not, but this movement is not a pool you can jump in or out of. It's a wave that you can either ride or get swept away by. The choice is yours.

Believe my words..

Janelle SaaybeComment