best writing in response to #metoo featured by popular lifestyle blogger, Design Mom

best writing in response to #metoo featured by popular lifestyle blogger, Design Mom

Did you see the #metoo hashtag? Or see the “Me, too” status updates? Maybe you watched in horror, surprised at how universal the problem is. Maybe you added a #metoo, and could name 100 women in your life who could add one as well. Maybe you had a #metoo to add, but didn’t feel safe enough to post it.

If you’re not sure what I’m referring to, this message was copy-and-pasted all over social media this weekend. If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. #metoo

I don’t know who originated the message, but all of my feeds were full of #metoo. I participated, and so did hundreds of women I know personally. It’s overwhelming.

At some point on Saturday, I said to Ben Blair, “I think you’re the only man on earth I fully trust. I love lots of men. I support lots of men. But ultimately, I don’t trust them.” I have only just started to gather my thoughts on all of this. I must have read dozens of posts, essays and articles about it over the weekend. Here are some of the best ones I found:

– “I wish women didn’t have to rip our pasts open & show you everything & let you ogle our pain for you to believe us.” — Lindy West

– “Many people are participating in the “Me, too” social media movement moment, …[but] do not feel pressured to disclose unless you feel that you have the capacity and support to do so. Know that it is OK and that we do this for everyone because we can and have that capacity and support at this time.” — need original source

– “Reframing the question to be about men doing it, rather than women receiving it. Did you harass, intimidate, sexually abuse, verbally abuse, belittle, not give a promotion to, pay less, discredit, cat call, or watch another man do any of these and not interfere? Every single woman I know is a Me Too.” — need original source

– “For every woman saying #metoo, there’s another woman rolling her eyes saying “boys will be boys” and “it’s harmless flirting” and “just ignore it” and “take it as a compliment” and “you should have dressed more modestly” and “you’re just imagining it” and “you’re too sensitive.” Or straight up: you’re lying. This is called internalized misogyny. It’s both damaging and protective. It gives you a false sense of control. We women can love men, like men, joke with men, date them, marry them, be friends with them, be attracted or not attracted to them, be their professional colleagues and bosses, play sports with men, be sitting near men on public transportation, walk by men on the street…AND we can expect them not to harass us. It’s not us against them. It’s us against misogyny.” — Asha Dornfest

– Maybe the best thing I’ve read on this topic — “I have been raped by far nicer men than you.”

– The passive voice has a political effect.

The full essay is here (NYT), but this paragraph in particular killed me. — “Several years ago, I approached a couple of successful female actors in Hollywood about an idea I had for a comedy project: We would write, direct and star in a short film about the craziest, worst experience we’d ever had on a set. We told our stories to one another, thinking they would be hysterically funny. We were full of zeal for this project. But the stories, when we told them, left us in tears and bewildered at how casually we had taken these horror stories and tried to make them into comedy. They were stories of assault. When they were spoken out loud, it was impossible to reframe them any other way. This is how we’d normalized the trauma, tried to integrate it, by making comedy out of it. ”

– Lots of cussing in this one, and it’s so good — Next-level Rage Stroke: Harvey F***ing Weinstein.

– Pasta.


How are you doing? Did you read anything on this topic that resonated with you? Did you follow the #metoo hashtag at all? Do you feel like you (and your kids) are better prepared to respond should it ever happen again? Did you find it all too overwhelming? Can I make you some pasta?

P.S. — Remember #yesallwomen?


Photo by poet, Amy Turn Sharp.

41 thoughts on “#MeToo”

  1. Wow, I especially like the post about flipping the script from the women/girls to the men/boys. That’s so interesting to think about how pervasive the bias is.
    One thing I’ve thought a lot over the weekend is how brave it would be if witnesses would come forward. Of course it’s brave to speak out as a victim but I just feel like the bigger issue at this time is the group that “had an idea.”
    All these celebrities condemning Weinstein and none are saying, I knew that and didn’t speak up or I knew I and did speak up. That would be brave to admit. It’s not that brave to NOW say he’s awful. It’s just not.

  2. I’m feeling so many different things. As i contemplate my own stories I’m blown away by what I’ve tolerated and overcome. I’m not going to ignore it anymore. I wrote this piece to purge a little but know I’ve only scratched the surface.

  3. I’m overwhelmed with pain and frustration.
    As I’ve read other women’s stories all weekend, bits and pieces of things I had forgotten keep coming back to me, moments of humiliation and fear and shame and me wondering what I had done to deserve it. I wonder if things will ever change.

  4. You know what? I mostly feel tired. Exhausted to my bones. Heavy. We have endured weeks and weeks and months of continuous ‘awfulness’, piling up and weighing us down, down, down. From Trump’s unsurprising ‘bus conversation’ episode (and being hired anyway!), to continued Trump-ness, natural disasters, racial angst, devastating fires, sicknesses of love ones and losses upon losses. And now Harvey Weinstein’s actions have been brought to light, and, like writers you linked to, I’m not shocked. How could anyone be shocked?

    This is all so exhausting. Thank goodness for my antidepressants. And thank goodness for small moments in time, like the smiles of my children and the love of my husband, to remind me that good can still win. But man, I’m tired.

  5. I’ve been following the hashtag and Facebook posts all day, and it’s horrifying to see how widespread it is, how many women are affected. But I’ve also been struggling a bit with mixed feelings, especially in response to all the people commenting that “we need to raise our boys better”. Yes, we do. I have two boys, and I’ll be damned if I don’t raise them to respect and treat other people right, to respect boundaries, and to learn the meaning of consent. But while there’s no arguing the perpetrators of sexual harassment and assault are more often than not men, women do commit sexual assault too. I know this for a fact, because I have been at the receiving end of it, and the the header image you’ve used for this blog post therefore struck quite a nerve with me. So without wanting to diminish the #metoo movement in any way, I just want to add, we don’t just need to raise our boys better, we need to raise our CHILDREN better.

  6. Thank you Gabrielle for blogging about these topics. I may not be coming to Design mom as much anymore for the design aspect (mostly just the needs in my life are different right now) but I do check in for your discussions on topics like this one, gun violence, and the election. Thank you for sharing your voice!

  7. Hi! Longtime reader here who rarely comments :)

    Piers Morgan wrote an EXCELLENT article today on the hypocrisy of Hollywood calling out Harvey Weinstein i.e. Roman Polanski and Woody Allen.

    It reiterates the best quote I’ve seen so far (which I unfortunately didn’t bookmark!) but basically said, “Weinstein Co. didn’t fire Harvey Weinstein because they found out he was a sexual predator, they fired him because WE found out.”

    My grandma’s mother was a Hollywood movie-star (back in the day!) and her stories, her complete nonchalance to the pure and blatant sexual assault that occurred, both to her and her mother, is both insightful and horrifying!

  8. Larissa Phillips

    The news of the last few weeks coincided with my 14-year old daughter facing an ongoing harassment incident in school. It has been mild harassment, ranging from funny to rude, for several weeks. We have been talking through it, what her response could be. (She did NOT want me to get involved.) She is in assigned seating in three classes, forced to sit next to this boy, whose attention she sometimes enjoys, although less and less so, especially as it has begun to be physical (poking, prodding, a couple shoving incidents).

    She expects retaliation (her word) if she tattles.

    So we are going through this bit by bit, and then last Monday the boy convinced the bus driver to not stop for her. I don’t know how he did this, but the bus blew past her stop, and my husband had to drive her to school.

    When she came into class, late, the boy was bragging about what he had done.

    She said, “It wasn’t funny, my dad had to drive me to school.”

    The student teacher, who is entirely in charge of the class, pipes in, “That actually IS funny!”

    My daughter, who has been merely irritated about the mild harassment from the boy up to this point, was INFURIATED by this. As was I.

    I feel like we need a new hashtag: #thisishowitstarts.

    The entire pattern seemed identical. The kid does something wrong, and she can’t address it without getting blamed or implicated . Then it escalates, and an authority figure sides with the wrongdoer, and dismisses any impact the act had on the girls. You know how boys are. Can’t you take a joke?

    Reading the accounts of women harassed and assaulted by HW and their various efforts to negotiate the attacks, at the same that this was happening, was making my blood boil.

    The good news: I went to the school and spoke to the head teacher. He got it, immediately. He was horrified the student teacher had acted this way. (We both agreed the boy is not a bad kid, just testing boundaries, and it is up to adults to set and maintain those boundaries.) Together we figured out what was the best plan of action for my daughter to feel respected, for the student teacher to understand what he had done, and to prevent future incidents, without my daughter feeling vulnerable. (For example, the head teacher suggested the next time the boy was obnoxious, my daughter’s seat would be moved; on my suggestion we agreed that the BOY’s seat would be moved. She didn’t do anything.)

    Whew. Had to share. Because where does this all start, that so many women keep silent? And so many boys feel entitled?

    and ps #metoo.

    1. Thank you for posting about the experience you’ve had with your daughter, Larissa. Your persistence and your way of challenging the worn track (wanting to switch your daugher’s seat and not his) is good to see, because it’s specific and points out our blind spots.

      I’ve been through many #metoo moments, starting from age 9, and I’m so incredible angry about it all that sometimes I’m barely coherent. But my thoughts now are with my two daughters, still in elementary school, who seem to have escaped this for now. However, the day of reckoning is coming, as it comes for all of us. So, I appreciate any and all advice about parenting through this — how do you talk to your daughters without scaring them to death? What tools do you give them? How do you help them judge situations on the spot and remain safe? And if you have boys, what are you doing to seriously get into their brains and counter the toxic masculinity that surrounds them?

    2. My goodness yes – it starts so young! My young daughter is also going through some crap at primary school right now. It’s being written off as “rough play getting out of hand”. I am having none of that. Because this is when it starts! This is when the excuses and the entitlement starts!

      I am so glad to hear that if there is a next time with your daughter that HIS seat will be moved. She shouldn’t be punished/singled out for being a victim.

    3. I have an 8 year old daughter. We have a 7 year old neighbor (girl) that is her friend. The neighbor always tries to hug/kiss my daughter hello and my daughter wants none of it. I refuse to make her accept this “innocent” affection in the name of being friends or polite. Right now I am teaching her that other people’s feelings (her friend’s; her friend’s parents who surely don’t understand why I don’t make my daughter hug/kiss back) are NOT more important than her own physical boundaries.

      I’ve spoken up for my daughter, and my daughter (who is shy) has spoken up and I told her it is fine with me and her dad if she has to physically block or push this child (or any person) away from her. She was not put on this earth to please other people.

      People don’t expect my older child, a male, to accept unwanted hugs and kisses.

      1. THIS, Melissa L.! I had this issue with my son and an overly affectionate girl. My son would come home at times with a “yellow slip” (it was meant to be a behavior management thing – green good day, yellow not so great, red needs parent intervention) because he “couldn’t keep his hands to himself” meaning he and his male friends were rough housing at recess or poking each other in the hall. But the girl who would maul my kid with hugs and kisses every day? Never a yellow day (they are family friends. I asked). At one point I had to physically separate them after saying “He’s asked you to stop. That means you stop. The first time.” And the teacher just laughed it off. I was furious. We’ve taught our kids to be polite – if you don’t want to hug/kiss someone, you don’t have to but use your manners. It would be polite if you shook their hand, but you are not required to do that either as a child. And you always respect someone’s wishes for physical space. As soon as they say stop, you stop. You ask before you hug/kiss. (Not so much an issue now as they get older…for a few short years at least while the opposite sex is “gross”.)

        So yeah – I agree with another commenter. It’s time we teach all of our kids to do better. Stand up for your fellow humans when you see something out of line. And don’t be the person who is out of line! If you make a mistake, sincerely apologize and learn from it. Because growing up is hard, there are plenty of bad influences, and we all make mistakes. Making a mistake doesn’t make you a horrible person, but refusing to learn and grow from it does.

  9. I haven’t chimed in with #metoo because EVERY woman is a me too. It would be more illustrative if women who never endured harassment or worse spoke up. (((crickets)))

    The BBC had something good on the toll it takes on women to perform “safety work.”

    I was reflecting this morning about how it’s all about putting you in your place. That men can always exercise what they perceive as their right to tell any woman where she can be and how safe she can feel.

    What women have to do is to speak about this more, especially to younger women. I realize how little I ever shared any of the crap thrown at me, starting at the age of 6. So, it always comes as an unimaginable affront. We need to develop scripts and strategies for ourselves and the girls we love to push back against harassment and to set expectations on how they should be treated. This would have helped me so much.

    1. I was going to say the same exact thing. I don’t know ONE woman who hasn’t experienced it on some level. And it starts early. I started getting cat calls at 10….for examp. And I think that’s pretty average. And gross.

  10. Being raped has been my greatest fear (not death, not sharks, not heights) since I was like 13 and realized it was a thing that could happen. I have always felt terrified about it and maybe so strongly because it is SO likely that it could happen to me. I am lucky that my “me too” moments have been either so comparatively minor or repressed so deeply that I can’t remember them clearly or are less about sexual harassment and more about men using their physical strength or position to put me in (non sexual) positions of weakness. I am furious that I have to consider myself lucky. Not being sexually assaulted shouldn’t be good luck, it should be normal. I am disgusted with what is happening and frustrated with myself for not being more full of rage before. I am also frustrated to know that passionate rage waxes and then wanes this should always be at the forefront. Someone will do something heinous (I have guesses who it will be…) or a natural disaster will hit and our plight will be minimized again. Our degree of empathy is often based on our experiences or ability to imagine being in that situation. Having said that, I hope we don’t hate TOO hard on the (good) men who do take this issue more seriously now than before because they have daughters. I understand taking something more seriously because it affects you more closely. We all know about a lot of terrible things that happen that we put our heads in the sand about until they affect us directly or until we’re confronted about it. Think of the things that are more important to you know because your children face or are at risk of facing those challenges, things you maybe didn’t even know were a problem or care about until you realized they were a reality in YOUR OWN life: drug abuse, mental health, disabilities, health care, racism, emotional, physical and sexual abuse. I have often wished for daughters for many reasons, but one is so that my husband would be more sensitive in that regard. He is a feminist and a good man, he has no sisters and I sometimes feel like I’m trying to explain something that he cannot compute. I have also often felt relief because I don’t have any daughters. My sons are less likely to feel the fear that grips me and potential daughters when I’m anywhere but my own home (and even in my own home, in the dark when it seems like every terrifying thing could happen) I have often fretted that I won’t be able to teach my sons what I need to teach them so that they are never ever the one who causes harm and so that they always have passion to do the right thing. My heart and my head hurt for the things that are and the things that aren’t. My heart swells with love for the women who are loudly and silently fighting this international war of aggression against us.

    1. I guess I should also add that me being “lucky” means I’ve only endured countless cat calls, inappropriate “compliments”, and slander – the stuff we forget about because its everyday girl/teen/woman life.

      1. I felt the same kind of sense of being oddly lucky throughout the past few days. I have been cat called at least 4 times this weekend alone, who knows how many times in my life. I’ve been pestered by men on the street or in bars/at parties. But all of this seems so normalized to me now that I didn’t think it was worth a “me, too.” It’s an odd feeling to have.

  11. I’ll raise my hand as a woman who doesn’t remember a single instance of any man “taking advantage” of me – in words or action. I have a tendency to let stuff roll off my back – so maybe I just don’t remember. I got married at 20 – so my experience with relationships is limited. There were a couple incidents in high school where I put myself in dangerous situations (parked cars, parties with booze, homes with no parents around) but I knew that I was vulnerable and thankfully the guys I was with although disappointed cuz they thought they’d get something were respectful when I said no. I regret those situations – because I knew better. I don’t fear men, but I am wary of all strangers – that seems prudent. There are lots of men I trust in our social circle. I don’t know what else to say but I feel sad for those who have had these experiences.

  12. Chiming in to say yes #meToo, and yes, my husband and sons are the only men I fully trust; which is completely sad.

    Ignoring all the little comments that at the end of the day don’t keep me up at night, but have over a lifetime, taught me that men need to earn my trust. Being betrayed by “good men” over and over is an excellent way to drive the point home. I am not a “man hater” but no, I don’t automatically trust anymore.

  13. #metoo
    More times than I can count at work, school, grocery store, etc. But the worst was my husband. My Bishops (yes 3 in total) told me that I was supposed to obey and honor my husband and submit to his needs. I stayed for 20 years. I finally realized that it’s not normal or ok and I left. I’m still too ashamed (because I completely blame myself for staying!) to share on my own personal media or even tell any family or friends. Thank you for bringing up such a sensitive but real problem and giving me a place to share.

      1. Thank you for sharing this, EM. I don’t know you or your story, but I can already tell it was NOT your fault for staying. So many of us are taught to stay no matter what. You did such a brave thing in standing up for yourself, and I really hope you’re proud of yourself. I can only imagine the strength that took.

  14. I have two young daughters. The thought that bothers me most about this is that one day in the future they will surely be able to say “me too.”

    So many women I have known have had an incident or scary experience, and it just makes me worry for my girls.

  15. Gabrielle: I read this article and immediately thought you would find it interesting and relevant, especially with Maude being in college now (not implying that she should necessarily go this route). But it references both the ways women need to support and work together and the changes Millennials are making in society, both issues we’ve discussed in the past week.

    When a Feminist Pledges a Sorority (NYT)

  16. Thank you so much for sharing all of this. In the last few weeks I’ve realised that in addition to many minor sexual harassments over the years I brushed off, I was actually seriously sexually manipulated by my first boss from ages 14 to 18, nearly 30 years ago.

    I related to your comment on your last post where you said: ‘The hate and anger I feel is solid. Like I can practically touch it (or bang my head against it).’

    Me too.

  17. In college my son’s campus job was to be a “safety walker”. That means when a girl was studying late and wanted an escort home from the library she could call and he would come and walk her home. So the college believed, no doubt rightly, that it was safe for my son to spend 4 hours a night walking around the darkened campus, mostly alone. But, it was not safe for a girl to take a 15 minute walk back to her dorm alone at night.

    When I am traveling alone I take an Uber if I have to go a mile or two at night. A distance I would happily walk. A distance I would walk if I were traveling with my husband.

    Even when we are not assaulted or harassed, there are thousand ways that the specter of assault and harassment constrain us every single day.

  18. I’m reminded of an experience I had about 25 years ago. A lovely Russian lady said in all sincerity to me: “I think the only good men left on earth are the Mormon Missionaries!” I appreciated her comment, and understood that she was dealing with an alcoholic husband, which is not uncommon; but I did assure her that there were and ARE still many, many wonderful, good, moral men who respect and honor the wonders and intricacies of this mortal and moral journey.

    1. I realize that there are a lot of Mormons who read this blog because of its author – and as a non-mormon, I appreciate her progressive stance on many things. I know there are many good mormon men. But there are also many, many, many Mormon men who have perpetrated these acts against women. Take a moment to read the newspaper in Utah and spend time at work with Mormon men and you will quickly realize it is not true – the only good men left on earth are NOT just the Mormon Missionaries.

      1. I’m sorry if that came off sounding ugly. Maybe I’m tired and it’s too late to be posting. Maybe I’m just a bit fed up with all of the hardness women are going through. Regardless, I want to say to Julia G Blair that I’m sorry I replied with what sounds like some anger. If my comment gets deleted, I’m okay with that for sure.

  19. Flipping the viewpoint to men will never happen for a few reasons. One is that same definition of bullying that I’ve talked to my kids about: if the other person feels picked on, then you’re bullying. It’s not about whether or not you think you are, it’s if the other person feels marginalized in any way.

    Also, men (or abusers or assaulters) will never comment on a survey that they’ve done something like that. They don’t see it as a problem or that they’ve hurt someone else.

    Women respond to surveys and the like about because it’s part of hopefully naming what happened and starting the process of working through it and healing.

    Thank you for keeping these important dialogues going here in Design Mom.

  20. I appreciate the conversation here since it comes without arguing and sniping at one another. I have been trying to disconnect from these conversations lately because I am So Discouraged that we have to keep pointing these things out to men. I seriously can’t handle it. #me too

    I deleted my social media (Twitter) this week when the hashtag #womeninfivewords was co-opted by idiots writing negative things about us ie: women belong in the kitchen.

    I work in a big high school and this week a boy ran up to a girl, in the crowded hallway between classes, and called out to her that “(so and so) wants to bang you” I mean, this is behaviour this boy thinks is okay in public, when he saw that I saw him, he literally ran and I lost track of the girl and couldn’t follow up. New Guilt.

    Between this and Canada’s collective grieving for Gord Downie this week, I don’t know how I’ll get through feeling this disheartened and helpless. I think I’ll go to bed early and just cry.

    “The place of honor that Mr. Downie occupies in Canada’s national imagination has no parallel in the United States. Imagine Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Michael Stipe combined into one sensitive, oblique poet-philosopher, and you’re getting close.” nyt

  21. I was talking to my husband about the #metoo conversation. I shared with him one of my #metoo stories. He was really understanding but then he surprised me by sharing a story of being a victim himself. It was worse than anything I had ever experienced. I think it reinforces the idea that we need to stop focusing on women as victims and focus instead on not tolerating the perpetrators. People should stop committing sexual assault [period].

  22. I am crying right now because #metoo didn’t just remind me of what I experienced but allowed me to know that I was not alone. I had to let someone know that I also felt that pain. I wrote…

    Someone said that you change for two reason:
    1) Because your mind has been opened.
    2) Your heart has been broken.
    My heart was broken when a government institution decided that I was not worthy of a job, one that I loved, because I told of sexual harassment and assault by a supervisor. I wasn’t loyal because I chose to seek justice instead of crying in silence.
    My mind was changed, when I could see with my own eyes, the tactics that institution would use to quiet me. However, they will never silence me. Yes, I’ve changed. #MeToo@Md. State Government changed my life and I had to let someone know.

  23. My name is Rachel and, until recently, I worked for one of South Wales’s biggest construction businesses which has recently gone into liquidation – partly as a result of the actions of its former owner and also the man who sexually harassed me at work for six years.

    I was 22 when I became a secretary for this man (it is not difficult to work out who he is, as he is currently involved in a stand-off with fans of one of South Wales’s most famous rugby clubs) and initially I was quite happy in my job – it was fulfilling and fun and every day brought different challenges with it.

    Things began to change in Christmas 2014, when the man in question (worse for wear after drink) made some lewd and suggestive comments towards me at the work’s Christmas Party. Being young and naive, and also needing to keep money coming in, I laughed it off but soon wished that I had taken action as his attitude towards me became more suggestive and more sexual in context.

    Knowing that I was in a relationship, he still made attempts to ‘come on’ to me and frequently brushed up against my breasts and made comments about their size. I was disgusted, but was told ‘keep quiet as he can fire you for complaining’ (I also found out from fellow staff that he had a long history of this sort of behaviour). He also made comments behind my back about me ‘needing a good seeing to from a real man’.

    After a long time putting up with his behaviour, the straw was broken when late one night he sent me a Skype mobile phone video of him masturbating and calling out my name as he ‘came’. I sent it to the Police who were supportive but who also told me that the chance of prosecution was slim, and his defence was he had ‘sent it to the wrong number’ and he was ‘so very sorry’ and wished to put things right.

    Maybe not too surprisingly, after I told this ‘gentleman’ that I was deeply upset by his actions and I had to undergo therapy as a result, I was given a strong invite to leave his company. His words hurt more than the video as he roared in my face ‘I am rich and powerful beyond what you can comprehend – I know people who could bury you alive, I did not get to be a millionaire by being nice and keeping my d**k in my pants!’

    I just thought that you should be aware of this man and what he has done to me and others. He is now hurting his former employers and the fans of the rugby club which he claims to love.

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