Not a Spurious Claim: I'm Tired of #MeToo

in metoo •  2 years ago 

Over the past few months, I've become disenchanted with Steemit due in part to the fact that my shtick has been higher education in the US. However, the Harvey Weinstein scandal and subsequent/seemingly endless exposés about male-on-female workplace harassment and assault have deeply affected me. Most days I've been able to continue my blissful ignorance of my own experiences, how they've affected me, and their impact on my career.

Then there are the other days. The days I think about how I left my dream job because my openly racist and sexist boss made a pass at me. How the president of that institution was complacent and enabled that man to continue to abuse his power for another 3 years after I left. I think about how early on at my next institution, I confided in my boss - the one who'd recruited me and the only one I knew in the entire state - that someone had been using inappropriate names towards me in front of fellow colleagues (terms like "Goldilocks" and "Sweetcakes"). I confided in him in an effort to get advice on how to handle my working relationship with that person, only to find that he used what I told him as a means to blackmail and attempt to force out the third party. He failed and the following two years consisted of the most toxic work environment I've experienced, with near constant degradation of my work and my character both privately and publicly.

Sometimes it isn't about work. Like hearing about Donald Trump sleeping with porn stars[1] makes me think of my abusive ex (guess what they have in common) with whom I spent the better part of five years demeaning me emotionally and sexually. Why did I stay with him? Why did I allow those things to happen to me? When I dated after that, why did I participate in things I didn't actually want? Does this continue to affect me today? Oh shit...it does.

Then I hear about Larry Nasser and I fight to avoid remembering when I was referred to an old school OBGYN. It never occurred to me back then at the age of 19 that this old man not using gloves might have been inappropriate. That my discomfort with feeling his bare hands and fingers was not immaturity, but rather a just response to someone touching me inappropriately.

I want to scream. I want to cry. I want to claw my skin off. But most of all, I want to return to my blissful ignorance. As a woman, I've been highly trained in ignoring these feelings and pretending these issues don't exist for me. While this is due in part to cultural norms and taboos that are now being challenged, it's also a coping mechanism. If you pay attention to and account for every time you've experienced gender-based harassment or assault, it could be pretty damn hard to walk through life.

I am exhausted. I am mentally and emotionally spent by this movement. It's a wonderful thing, challenging societal norms that perpetuate the subjugation and inequality of a group leads to debate and progress. It's forcing discussions about hard topics like consent, power, and the phenomenology of womanhood. But it is also a tiring process. This movement will not and should not go away anytime soon and while I sympathize with the questions many men are struggling to answer, I and other women are asking our own questions about consent, participation, and why we've made the choices we have. We should keep asking them, and we should be patient and caring with one another as we explore the answers. But damn if it's isn't hard coming to terms with the fact that these things didn't just happen to "them," but that...well, me too.

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1: The fact that this is headline news is actually more illustrative of the double standard by which women's sexuality is judged. The fact that he is an adulterer who, I presume, slept with those women as a kind of additional sexual exploit for bragging rights (I slept with a porn star, high five bro) speaks to the fact that women who engage in that industry are viewed differently than women who do not. Ask yourself, why does it matter that they're porn starts to him, to the media, and to you?

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Sometimes, staring the truth in the face can be ugly.

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