#MeToo is a movement to support survivors and end sexual harassment and violence. If you’re a baby boomer woman, you were undoubtedly part of the sexual revolution. The birth control pill changed life for both women and men—affording a new kind of sexual freedom. Abortion made it possible to undo transgressions that earlier generations could do nothing about. With that independence came a new (not good) attitude, which I believe is the underpinning of the current “me too” movement.
Without the risk of pregnancy, men and women became bolder. Sexual aggression and sex in general occurred more frequency. During that time, a lot of that sex was consensual. On the other hand, many women believed that saying no meant they were uptight or not cool.
I know. I was there.
Ironically, when sex was forced upon us, regardless of the circumstances, many of us took more than our share of the responsibility. We were embarrassed to admit that it happened.
Conversely, if we were harassed at school or at work and wanted to speak out, good luck finding a sympathetic ear. More likely than not, we would be accused of provocative behavior, being drunk, or simply wanting it.
Sexual revolution or not, many women carrie—and still carry—guilt and shame. Rather than suffer the consequences of that stigma, we kept our mouths shut. And without saying a word, we taught our girls (and boys) to do the same. The double standard that was pervasive prior to the sexual revolution remained.
Women were harassed and often raped, but without a pregnancy, there were no long-term consequences, so what’s the big deal?
Why #MeToo? Why now?
As long as society’s mores and taboos stayed pretty much the way they’ve been for the past hundred years or more, women subconsciously assumed the same role they’ve always had. Of course, there have been role models like Gloria Steinem and Angela Davis leading the charge, but for the most part, the glass ceiling remained intact.
Enter the current president—the antithesis to honesty and good moral conduct—and the resultant indivisible women’s movement and march. Women are coming together to create a sense of empowerment and support that’s never occurred before. As women well know: get us together over coffee or wine and we talk. We talk openly and honestly about everything. Everything. Community gives us courage and sets us free.
Now, conversations that were previously held in hushed tones among girlfriends are taking place in public forums. As women have always know—our time will come, and a first step is revealing the ugly truth. As James Garfield said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.”
#MeToo has set women free. In the process, it has made a lot of guilty men miserable. It appears that balance is being created, and who knows—maybe in our lifetime, women will get equal pay for equal work and hold the highest government offices.
Ladies—Don’t Stop Now: Let’s keep going!
Jan Fishler, MA, is currently co-authoring a new book, Don’t Stop Now, Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life (DontStopNow.us). She is also the author of Searching for Jane, Finding Myself (An Adoption Memoir), and has written several articles about alternative health and PTSD. You can learn more about Jan at www.JanFishler.net.