There isn’t any way to measure the relief women are feeling thanks to Alyssa Milano’s “Me Too” movement. It started less than 24 hours ago, so if you don’t know what “Me Too” is about, here you go: actor Alyssa Milano posted a call to action on Facebook, asking women who have been in any way sexually assaulted, have suffered unwanted sexual overtures, or have been discriminated against based on gender, to simply post the words “Me Too” as their status.
And then the internet blew up.
Facebook has become little more than a roll call of “Me Too”. And for very good reason; every woman has had some negative sex-based experience; even the women who don’t want to talk about it or report it or even acknowledge it to themselves. We have all had at least one such encounter if not thousands.
Something about the words “Me Too” started making me nervous about an hour ago. Now I’m really riled up. It could be catastrophic thinking on my part, but it could very well be plain old common sense.
Whenever a male public figure is accused of sexual misconduct by one woman, all the other women who have also been victimized by that man tend to start speaking up. Why do they do this? The answer is simple: someone broke the ice. It’s the same principle as a cocktail party; everyone stands around nervously until the first person speaks and gives the others “permission” to do the same. This is standard human behavior that applies to most group situations. Nothing groundbreaking about it.
And yet the normal human behavior of speaking up for one’s self about sex abuse once another woman has gotten the ball rolling is usually harshly criticized. The women who come forward after the first aren’t seen as reliable corroborators; more often than not I’ve heard them called “attention seekers”, “media whores”, “gold diggers”, and, among other epithets, the old reliable, “bitches.”
In the event that someone is misguidedly gearing up to make any kind of negative public statement about the current groundswell of female activism, stop. Stop it right now. Trust me, you won’t be received well. And by “not well” I mean “very badly.”
An example of “very badly” is all the white supremacists who brought torches to Charlottesville, but later sobbed about losing everything in their lives that mattered after getting burned in the media. Don’t want to get fired from your job for being a racist pile of garbage? Great! Then don’t be a racist pile of garbage.
Similarly, you probably don’t want to get what is most likely your due if you decide to label all the women on social media who are posting “Me Too” as “attention seekers” or “media whores.” So don’t even go there.
I haven’t seen anyone do it yet, but if I’ve thought about this issue, others have too. Others who might use their usual safety blanket of online anonymity to say something extraordinarily destructive. If that’s you, I repeat, don’t go there.
Why not? Because women are a whole new level of angry and are working together. Women are creating a hive mind on this issue. As there have been for Weinstein, and more recently Amazon’s Price, there will be consequences. To extend and wrap up my facile metaphor, fuck with us and you’re gonna get stung.