By Allie Bloom
Content Warning: The following piece contains language and accounts of sensitive topics including sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, and rape.
The Me Too movement is a perfect example of how holding people accountable for their actions can lead to great change. The normalization of exposing people, especially powerful people, for their heinous acts is something that will improve society for the better.
From celebrities to secretaries, survivors used the #MeToo on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter to share their experiences. This trend made it abundantly clear how corrupt and disgusting this patriarchal society we live in is. Major names like Bill Cosby, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, and most notably Harvey Weinstein have been taken down. Out of Hollywood, off the streets, and a few were even put in prison.
The movement’s roots can be traced to social activist Tarana Burke. Burke coined the phrase “Me Too” on Myspace to bring to light the frequency at which sexual assault occurs, particularly against women of color. From there, the movement picked up in 2017 when actress Alyssa Milano brought Burke’s message to mainstream media.
Sexual misconduct doesn’t just include rape. For far too long people, typically men, have used their power and wealth to leverage people “beneath” them into non-consensual sexual acts. From major producers and film makers to the manager at a grocery store, this coercion tactic has been treated as acceptable until recent years.
Apple TV’s “The Morning Show” starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon creates a frighteningly accurate depiction of what occurs behind the scenes of workplaces all over the world.
In a world where 90% of sexual violence perpetrators towards women are men, and 93% of sexual violence perpetrators towards men are also men, this is clearly a men’s issue. This culture where men with money and power can get away with anything, needs to be teared down and reconstructed. We live in a world where you can’t take the subway too late at night because you’ll get abducted but if you take an Uber alone you might get human trafficked. We live in a world where a cop can rape a detainee and get away with it because he’s a cop. Middle school girls can’t wear shorts in the summer because it might give boys the wrong idea. How about instead of sexualizing children, we teach boys not to get the wrong idea?
Nothing sickens me more than when someone, usually an older man, says something along the lines of “You can’t get away with anything anymore!” or “People are so sensitive these days.” Sexual assault is not a new phenomenon, people are just finally gaining the courage to speak out and no longer facilitate a culture of compliance.
There is a fine line between Twitter users eager to “cancel” the next influencer to slip up or misspeak, and to hold a sex criminal responsible for forcing someone to endure lifelong trauma. Just the other day a friend of mine said to me, “How can you come for me for watching a Harvey Weinstein movie, when you still listen to Lana Del Rey?” The difference between the two is that Lana was cancelled for dating a cop and the other is Harvey Weinstein. People are far too quick to clump accountability and cancel culture into one phenomenon. Accountability allows people to grow. We can’t go on allowing some of the most dangerous people to be running the world.