By Rev. Shawna Foster
If you’re an average guy, you’re probably bewildered by #MeToo. Perhaps you knew how many women were being sexually assaulted, but most men I know have no idea that not only has nearly every self-identified woman experienced sexual harassment, but also that she’s experienced it multiple times. And transgender or genderfluid folks have experienced harassment and assault much more intensely than cisgendered women. And nearly all of us have experienced it at the hands of men.
But that’s not your fault, right, average guy? You didn’t do it. You didn’t know that your cat-calls weren’t complimentary, your dirty jokes were degrading; you didn’t even realize that you said the exact same thing as a woman did in a meeting, five minutes later.
Or, by now, perhaps you have. Maybe you’ve even apologized. Maybe you even talk to other men, when the issue comes up, about how you all can get to work on creating a safer world for women and gender minorities. You’d be way above average if you were even doing more than talking about it, and head over shoulders of most men if you had taken some concrete actions to make the world safer for women and gender-minorities. Or maybe you want to help but aren’t sure how. Well, I have a special invitation for you.
I invite you to be a total bitch for feminism.
The #MeToo movement that Tarana Burke started is a little different than previous womens’ causes for justice. Now, we are naming the people who are sexist in our society. We aren’t finding much justice in the courts, so we are dragging abusers, rapists, and just plain creepy people into the public square to say they are not meeting the basic standards of what it means to be a good person. It’s never OK to make people feel bad based on their gender, no matter what the intent was.
We look kind of bitchy for doing it, but we just don’t care anymore. We don’t care if we don’t get promoted, if we don’t land the next Hollywood starlet role, if we are denied awards, if we are labeled as hysterical or spiteful. We will not shut up. We will work until there is equal opportunity to reach our full potential no matter which gender we identify with.
And the only way you, average guy, will know if you are doing the same, if you are doing enough to raise the consciousness of this nation about what it means to be a man, is if you get called a bitch in the process of doing so. Like most of us are right now. I dare you to try.
Rev. Shawna Foster is a Unitarian Universalist Minister serving the Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist congregation in Carbondale, Colorado. You can find out more by visiting TwoRiversUU.org or UUA.org. Contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org