It’s Bigger Than You Think: How Social Media Is Assembling a Choir
Something new is trending on social media. No, it’s not a quiz. It’s a question requiring only a two-word answer.
Have you seen it? It asks you to respond ‘Me too’ if you experienced sexual abuse or harassment. Thanks to another high-profile creep called out, women (and men) who’ve been victimized at some point in their lives are publically outing themselves, owning their experience rather than burying it in the dark recesses of their minds.
Whatever level of discomfort this provokes in you, it’s here. You can scroll through the #metoo in your feed, tsk-tsk people’s brutal honesty, but this style of proclamation isn’t going anywhere. We’ve opened the Pandora’s box called social media, and it’s shining a light on the ugly truth.
People are assembling into a chorus of voices and collectively saying, “Enough!”
It’s loud, and it’s getting louder. Voices float around the ether, carried like wind, while at the podium, social media conducts their song.
Step aside, Shame! You can’t silence us anymore!
Last January, I took some heat from people who didn’t understand my decision to walk with my twelve and fifteen year old daughters in the Women’s March. Many assumed they knew my reasons, yet none of the those doing the judging asked me why. Why did I choose to walk? Why would I participate with my daughters?
Was this some variation of bra-burning? A temper tantrum over politics? A middle-aged, privileged, white woman crazily becoming a liberal zealot?
Let me pause here.
I’m not an activist. I’m a 50 yr. old suburban mom, and I don’t like crowds. A gathering of unpredictable nature horrifies a claustrophobe like me. To even consider the Women’s March, I opted to drive 100 miles to meet friends in their city rather than face swelling crowd predictions near me. Even then, I nearly aborted the trip when fog encircled us several miles away from home.
“You want to turn around, Mom?” I recall my older daughter asking. I think she noticed my hands clenching the steering wheel.
Yes, I wanted to shout. Yes! Let’s turn around! Go home. Slip into jammies, make tea, and binge watch HGTV!
“Nope. We’ll be fine,” I insisted, and continued barreling down the foggy rural interstate thanks to a truck lit up like a Vegas hotel. (Thank you, lone trucker. Your ridiculous lights lit the way.)
So why was I swallowing my anxieties? Why did I need to march?
Because like every other #metoo, I’m done. Enough. I don’t want my daughters facing the same situations I faced. I don’t want anyone feeling ashamed because our culture says to keep your mouth shut. I want everyone’s daughters to feel empowered by becoming a woman, not afraid of how that burdens her.
It’s time to collectively gather and shine our lights in the dark, or the darkness will persist.
So I marched for my mother, who died from cancer at 48, partly because her male doctors dismissed her growing list of complaints as “just the change” rather than the severe symptoms she knew they were.
I marched for all of our daughters, who undoubtedly will someday drink too much, or be in the wrong place at the wrong time, which some interpret as a free pass to grope, grab, and physically overpower women to satisfy themselves.
I marched for those who believe their beauty or sex appeal is their only commodity; who fear aging because culture tells them their looks are more important than their minds, merit, and wisdom.
I marched for women around the world who — for whatever reason — have no voice, no choice, no opportunity; perhaps they can’t protest their situation, but I can raise my voice on their behalf.
I marched alongside my daughters because they wanted to march. Somehow, their DNA heard the singing of the gathering choir as well. They already visualize a world where #metoo doesn’t exist. They wanted their voices heard. My role as a mother never felt more urgent.
Yet most importantly, I marched for me. Because like everyone else, I’m owning my stories. Some I share and some I don’t. But that march was my way of saying, “Enough!”
I was raised to “keep my nose out of” controversy. I often heard the phrase “smile and the world smiles with you; cry and you cry alone.” I grew up in a boys-will-be-boys world, where girls “knew” their place. Now, I’m saying enough.
God help us all, ENOUGH.
Because if women are being honest, they’ve all felt, seen, or heard the abuse somewhere. It’s time to lock arms and say no more.
#metoo. Me too. ME TOO.