Hi, ladies*, I’m here to tell you that it’s OK to step away from the keyboard for a few days. It’s cool not to check Twitter and especially Facebook, where you’re supposed to be linked with your actual friends.
Because it is a cesspool right now over the sexual harassment and abuse scandals in Washington, especially with two Democrats (U.S. Rep. John Conyers and especially U.S. Sen. Al Franken) resigning. You don’t have to scroll far to find people you like and respect make slut-shaming comments, urge women just to toughen up and argue that keeping Dem votes supersedes the needs of women who were abused.
It’s only been a few weeks since the #MeToo movement went viral, and the backlash is already in full swing.
There are some interesting pieces written by excellent writers on the political dynamics of these scandals, including Dahlia Lithwick and Charles Pierce. Everything is political and it’s fair to examine the impact of resignations on Democrats, Republicans and the Trump agenda. Have at it. But sooner or later on social media, these debates devolve into sexist vitriol for victims and/or admission that the right of women not be molested just isn’t that important … if the perpetrator is from the same party as you.
I can’t believe I have to say this, but sexual harassment and assault aren’t just important problems if someone from the other side is doing it. If you were incensed last year when women came forward about Donald Trump grabbing them, but you’re skeptical or disbelieving of women who say the same of Franken, you don’t care about a serious women’s issue. And maybe you should engage in some personal self-reflection about your attitudes about women and your own behavior.
I’m not one to back away from political fights or debates. I believe I’m already on my fifth one today and it’s 10 a.m. on a Saturday. Dealing with mansplainers and misogynists is literally part of my job. But it gets tiresome. And when it comes to sexual abuse, something that I believe the majority of women (including me) have experienced (often multiple times), it can be painful.
So if you want to be Diana and rhetorically cut down every sexist argument with your sword, go for it. I respect the hell out of that. But if you want to turn your phone off and enjoy a few days of peace, do it. You have every right.
*This post can, of course, be read and enjoyed/hated by everyone, but I’m going to speak directly to women here, thanks.