Regarding “Me Too”
Shifting the power dynamic
Many women are posting “Me Too” on social media at the moment in a movement of solidarity and unity. This is what the most common version of it looks like:
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote "Me too" as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
I suspect that just about every single woman has been sexually harassed or assaulted in her life. Most men, too, although far less frequently than women, because it seems everybody gets harassed at some point. Of course, this is in itself a grotesque state of things to begin with, but I suspect that the assault question posed alone would be more revealing. My understanding is that far more women would still be able to say "me too" than men if we got more specific with the question in this way. This is where the difference lies in the male/female experience. A harassment against a female much more often can be extended to assault, because of an added perceived power dynamic in society. I may have experienced my version of catcalling, but none of my already far fewer harassers ever had the nerve to grope me on a train, or slap my ass as I walked by, as I keep hearing from my female friends. It seems men more often feel they have this greater power and entitlement with regard to women. This is why the young and the disadvantaged in society are more often assaulted as well.
Along with shining needed light upon the problem and remaining brave and vigilant in calling out abuses, we must take steps to combat these power inequities at their root with systemic change in the way our society functions.
One of the most powerful ways to bring power to the people would be with a universal basic income. Under UBI, a woman could leave an abusive relationship without fear of catastrophic failure. A person could say no to an unfair/unsafe work environment without the fear of homelessness and the feeling that they'd better just "suck it up" because someone's gotta pay the rent. Actresses and actors would be more likely to say "go fuck yourself" to slimy casting directors or call out abhorrent behavior if they didn't feel like their whole career and livelihood rested solely in the hands of some Hollywood man-child-deity. It shouldn't require such bravery, such willingness to can one's own career and dreams, to stand up for what's right.
People need to know they will be safe, regardless. No employees should ever be forced to be dependent upon the good favor of their fallible employers for their ability to simply survive and live in dignity. No human being should ever be forced into a state of dependence or inferiority to any other human being based on gender, age, race, physical strength, wealth, or employment relationship. Everybody must have the power to say "No!" or they're simply not being allowed to live free, and all our talk of constitutional, inalienable rights is either delusional or deceitful.
So, we need to drastically change the societal power dynamics we take for granted, and awareness is a wonderful first step. For step two, we need to keep pushing structurally and legislatively to empower and give agency to every single human being (with a #basicincome among other things), or we simply aren't living up to our values of human Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.
I join you all in decrying these men of power as disgusting, lost individuals, but let’s also go further and take bold steps to strip them of that undue power and deliver it unto everyone.
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Our Grand Experiment
If you’re interested in helping Deia and me build the grassroots movement for UBI in America with our ambitious socio-economic experiment and documentary film series BOOTSTRAPS, please check out the work that Deia and I are doing, give what you can to the production fund (managed by International WOW Company), and invite others to do the same. All contributions are tax deductible.
A few of my favorite UBI articles by others:
On the Basics of Why UBI — Scott Santens
On How to Pay for UBI — Scott Santens
On the Rich History of UBI — Karl Widerquist