Off the cuff, I’m gonna once again go with “let’s stop censoring each other.”
Two (and a half) major issues here. The second is the more important and the one I’d like to hash out a bit more, but since I know how much we all like nitpicky stipulations, I’ll start with #1.
1) Should this conversation be about all harassment/assault, or just those events directed at female-presenting persons? I shared me thoughts on that yesterday. I think they’re both valid and important conversations. I think one of them is more pressing because of sheer numbers. I think the meme we’re seeing today was created to address the latter. I think co-opting it to address the former is another example of a bigger problem. I’d like to see that stop.
1(b)) The wording of the meme. Yes, I concede this point entirely. We’re trying to normalize the concept of a gender spectrum, and “women” is too simple right now. My cousin used “women, femme, and trans/feminine-persons” and I like that. Other suggestions welcome, with the constraints implied by point 1.
2) Is saying “me too” helpful? For me, this evokes the same feelings I have when I watch the reactions to liberal white awakenings among nonwhite friends. Is it super obnoxious when white people discover that racism exists? I can’t even imagine how much. Is it a massive, possibly unwieldy burden to be asked to educate white people? ditto.
Should men already know how many of us are “me too”? Hell yes. But do they? Apparently not. Really, truly, apparently not.
And while it shouldn’t be on us, the fact remains that there are so many men who don’t know, and I believe that among them there are potential allies and supporters who could be useful in the kinds of microchanges that build into bigger systemic change.
It’s obnoxious. And possibly an impossible ask for any individual person. And that’s why I have started to think of it like this: It is not okay to ask any one individual person in a minority/subordinate power position to educate ignorant beneficiaries of privilege, in general or in any specific situation. We don’t know where burdens are heaviest and we should not shame each other for any particular failure to act or speak up.
But neither should we shame each other for actions that feel useful. If I have the energy and resources to take the time to educate someone, let me. This meme isn’t harmful. Saying “me too” may even feel really important and constructive to some women who haven’t said it out loud before. I have not yet seen a single compelling argument about how this hurts.
Because “there are other issues” isn’t a valid response — and neither, in my humble opinion, is “I don’t like the way you’ve chosen to address this issue.” Both statements may be true, and both are unhelpful.
So stop it, y’all.