As a result, I find I am less willing to put myself out there, to share more of my thoughts and feelings. I'm not sure if that is a result of what I mentioned above, or if it is just a side-effect of getting older. Either way, I am much more cautious of what I say and how I say it.
But today, Time Magazine posted their 2017 Person of the Year article, and I need to talk about it. If you have not read it yet, you can probably guess by the title of my post, it is not one person, but those whom Time calls "The Silence Breakers." Those who sparked the recent #MeToo movement, and broke open the floodgates of sexual harassment and assault stories.
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
It is sad and scary to realize how many stories there are. To realize how many women have felt and continue to feel victimized by men. To hear friends and colleagues put themselves out there and share their deeply personal stories on social media. And to realize that there are more stories left unsaid, because many are still too scared to share. They fear backlash, retaliation, and criticism if they share their personal experiences.
I am a father of three little girls, and every day they are in this world, I see more and more of what they are up against. It should not have taken having three daughters, and a whole online movement, to make me realize my complicity in perpetuating a culture of sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination against women. As men, collectively, we need to change the narrative.
In response the the #MeToo movement, Australian journalist Benjamin Law suggested a new hashtag, to allow men to publicly share their commitment to ending the culture of sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination: #HowIWillChange.
Guys, it's our turn.— Benjamin Law 🌈 (@mrbenjaminlaw) October 16, 2017
After yesterday's endless #MeToo stories of women being abused, assaulted and harassed, today we say #HowIWillChange.
I hope that nothing I have done has ever made a woman think #MeToo. But I have laughed, or (more recently) awkwardly nodded and smiled when people tell sexist jokes, I have interrupted female colleagues in a meeting and not male colleagues, I have "mansplained" something while assuming I had the superior knowledge, and in general I have tolerated sexist talk from others. No more. I will speak up and be straightforward. I will listen more and talk less. I will take Sheryl Sandberg's advice from her book Lean In, and be an advocate for women in the workplace. I will give my daughters a good example of the type of man they should expect to be around, so that they refuse to tolerate bad behavior. In short, I will do everything I can so that no one will ever think back on an experience with me and need to say, #MeToo.