It’s NOT OK— is a movement dedicated to exposing inappropriate behavior by men. Herewith, we are giving women modern tools to defend themselves. We also lessen the tendency for women to be the ones feeling ashamed when this happens, by collectively establishing and re-confirming that this kind of behavior is simply, NOT OK.
It’s a slippery slope — yet we had to make a decision and are opting to dedicate the “NOT OK” movement to ‘unquestionably inappropriate’ behavior, defined as: Behavior that would absolutely mortify a man if it ended up on social media.
What we do: If a man has made you feel very uncomfortable, first, we can guarantee you that you should not be the one feeling ashamed or guilty (isn’t it crazy that we so often do?). Second, let us know what happened and we will publish the story anonymously via twitter. While the name of the man (or yours) will never* be published…we want this to serve as a reminder that this kind of behavior just is NOT OK (#notokman).
*we believe not publishing the names will provide this movement with more longevity and with more women comfortable sharing their stories. The purpose is a somewhat light-hearted real-life social case study with a scary ‘warning’ to these men, rather than outright exposure. We also plan on tweeting at organizations to make them aware that ‘one of their employees’ exhibited such behavior.
Have anything to report? Want someone to talk to? Want to get involved/help us? EMAIL US: firstname.lastname@example.org
We’ll publish the stories in batches, likely weekly.
(We are well aware of these situations not only occurring between men -> women, but have chosen this as our focus for now given that this is the by far most prevalent scenario.)
My personal story
I have spent all of my career life in male-dominated industries and with certainty can say that I have a very thick skin when it comes to gender differences and do strongly believe that the vast majority is in good spirit. However, there are times when even I just cannot help but feel a bit ‘violated’ over what some men think is “OK” behavior. What is a woman to do in such a situation?
Why am I starting this now: It was prompted by (in my opinion) a very inappropriate email (see above) I received after a 20 minute work-related conversation with an investor. (On a side note: the convo also included briefly talking about his 7 year old daughter that he dearly loves). To add to this, he is also a mentor to eight different startup accelerators(really?!)… How do I know this? Because he made sure to include an “about me” link in the signature of his inappropriate email. I wonder if it was auto-populated or if he thought it would help to make him more appealing to me…
So there I was finding myself with this very unexpected email, then continuing to run into this man, and me even telling him in person that I thought it was inappropriate, with no apology on his end, but him just continuing to stare at me.
I found out later that he sent the exact same email to at least one other woman. This was an absolute eye-opener because only once I knew this could I shake off those feelings of being somewhat guilty for his behavior. The other woman had a similar experience, thinking that it was her fault because she tweeted something nice to him… Which seems crazy from an outside, emotionally unattached perspective. To add to this, I can attest that we are both full-grown and very strong-minded women. I think you will agree, that something is really really wrong with how women (including myself) out of default seem to currently be emotionally reacting to these things.
I believe to change this, we need to provide a discrete outlet for women and as a society need to publicly agree that this behavior just is NOT OK. If this is something someone would never want ANY man to say to his/her daughter even once she is a grown woman, it is behavior that should never happen.
Some may argue, this is an overreaction. Some may argue, this is an underreaction… And while one can always argue there are “worse” things that can happen, I stand my ground that to change the status quo we need to draw a line somewhere, and we can’t shy away by the fact that these lines will always be blurry.
If this post, with your help, inspires even just one woman to stop being the one feeling guilty about a man acting towards her in such a way, it will have been a step in the right direction.