The revelation of the extent of Harvey Weinstein’s odious abuse of power is taking up much space and attention in all forms of media. Many women are now speaking up about the extent and insidious nature of sexual assault and harassment in all walks of life. But one enunciation of this sudden outburst in the media of all sorts stands aside: over the past 24 hours, many have been posting on social media the following status: “Me too.If all the people 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. please copy/ paste.”
Many of us who are not millennials may be quite suspicious about those sort of social-media campaigns. But there is something quite unique when people of all ages and all walks of life share the same harrowing experiences, without needing to go into too much detail. The patriarchal culture which so often makes those affected by these assaults feel as if they have share or blame in what has happened to them, has, even for just one day, stepped aside for a moment in which many of us are saying “you are not alone, and it’s not your fault”.
I am now reflecting, specifically, on many women to whom I am indebted: who have helped me along the way, in candid advice, in standing in solidarity with me when I had my own struggles to face. It has been harrowing and inspiring both to see many women on my social media who I greatly admire come out with a “me too” status. At the same time, in this politically volatile moment in which divides are manipulated to create more hate between us all, we are saying to each other “this has to stop” and are calling to the power of solidarity.
But let’s get one thing clear: this is not a lovefest of maternal feminism. This is a call to change the world, so that our children live in a world without gendered violence. One exemplar of solidarity, Eleanor Marx, socialist- feminist, A giant of the British Labour movement who was brought back into contemporary conversation by the powerful book Eleanor Marx: A Life (Bloomsbury 2014) by Rachel Holmes wrote in 1886 these words (which are also the book’s epigraph) that speak so strongly to us today: “And first, a general idea that has to do with all women. The life of woman does not coincide with that of man. Their lives do not intersect; in many cases do not even touch. Hence the life of the race is stunted. “
#metoo is aimed at comrades of all genders. It is our responsibility to work together, men and women, towards a world in which no one will have to say “me too” and our race is no longer stunted.