The #metoo movement is not over yet.

Please, Let's Not Give Up on the #MeToo movement

It's not over yet.

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The last calendar year has been the year of the survivor.

The #metoo movement was a digital crumbling of Troy. I kept news sites perpetually open at work so I could glimpse the daily—even hourly—revelations, accusations, and triumphs.

It was satisfying and empowering. At last, the world was recognizing what has needed to be recognized for so long.

It was also sad. I feared, as I was watching those streaming headlines, that this could not last forever, like college or a doomed relationship. I still have this fear.

That's why I'm urging everyone—men, women, and non-binary individuals—to not give up on the #metoo movement. Your eyes, hearts, and voices are needed now more than ever before.

#metoo isn't over. It's just begun.

This is not a whim.

Time and again we see these labor contractions of social issues.

For a whirlwind week, month, or year, society looks long and hard at its underbelly. We breathe sighs of relief and take to the streets when this happens for race, for love, and for citizen safety and well-being.

Eventually, time eases the sharp corners. Protests taper off. Legislation does not pass. Politicians and family members turn their heads. What happens to all of those narratives? What happened to the fight?

The #metoo movement is not a false contraction. It is not a spasm without a birth. It revealed the terrifying prevalence of sexual, emotional, and biased abuse that threatens more men and women than have been commonly accepted.

How can this spotlighting be a whim? This is not a mere feminist movement, a temporary pushback on morés that tell us we should be skinnier or count more calories or Weight Watcher points. This is the start of global change. Let's take the whimsy out of the headlines and see it as such.

#MeToo has community. Now let's do something about that.

Social media marketers know the power of hashtags. Now we all know the power of small words to bring people together.

The #metoo hashtag is concise and devastating. It doesn't need to say anything else, although we value, cherish, and support survivors' stories, experiences, and healing. Within the span of a week, women united in a shared narrative.

This is where the #metoo movement has brought us. We are standing on the top of a mountain as a force. It's heart-breaking and empowering to see how many are a part of this community.

Change begins with community. Nations go to war once they have mobilized their resources.

There is always time and space for claiming a #metoo. But there is greater urgency in taking steps with that community for palpable change.

Hollywood isn't everything.

I respect and honor the women in Hollywood and prominent media who have claimed their voices and sought justice. I am proud to see these women still making the most of the #metoo movement.

But Hollywood isn't everything. It's not the full story.

We need plebeian voices too. What about my best friend? What about my grandmother? What about my future daughter, my neighbor, the high school girl down the street?

Women who do not have the luxury of social status and a red carpet also deserve to be on the front lines.

Their voices are just as valuable. To move forward, the #metoo movement needs to walk the suburbs, the ghettos, the offices, the airports, without discrimination.

Let's commit to becoming aware.

So how do we keep the #metoo movement going? Some people say more rallies. Let's mobilize, let's march, let's call Congress.

Yes, let's keep doing all of those things. Political activism is alive and it is fierce and worthy.

But the power of this hashtag is fully expressed in the most intimate, private places. I'm talking our homes. I'm talking our closets and cars.

We need to commit to becoming aware of sexism, harassment, abuse, and assault—and cultivating this awareness in others. Let's keep talking to our daughters, wives, mothers, and nieces, and let's not shy away from honesty.

Let's not shield them from the news either. Let's show them what is out there.

We need to keep the dialogue open between all genders and all geographies. Most importantly, we need to create more safe spaces for survivors to share their stories and feel heard.

Committing to being stewards of the #metoos around us is the vital task.

The stories matter most.

The #metoo movement has been sensationalized. It has been alternately dismissed and revered. It has been generalized.

I'm here to remind everyone that the survivors' and victims' stories still matter. No matter where this movement heads—and I hope it keeps heading up this current hill—we cannot neglect the voices within this movement itself.

Active listening and safe, frank, nurturing dialogue are all imperatives. If you are a survivor (or if you know a survivor), commit to validating your experience. Don't let it get lost in the headway.

The future of the #metoo movement lies in the nature of our commitment to what it has to say, and who composes it. It is my hope that even though the future is uncertain and the stakes are daunting, we can make that commitment unflinchingly.

#metoo.

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The Burning Of Notre Dame Has Actually Strengthened My Catholic Faith

Corinthians 5:17 says, "Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

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Every year, Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week in the Christian faith. As the most sacred time of the year, those who believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins hold these days dear in our hearts. 2019's Palm Sunday, however, is now held in infamy. The very next day, the precious Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris started to burn.

As the world now knows, the famed and historic Notre-Dame de Paris was spontaneously engulfed in flames on April 15, 2019. The cause has not yet been identified precisely but is most likely due to complications during the $6.8 million renovations the cathedral is currently under. Completed back in 1345, the nearly 800-year-old church has withstood the test of time relatively well.

Until now.

The modern world watched as one of the biggest treasures of the past burned away before our eyes, Twitter even erupted in an unprecedented coverage of this world-wide tragedy as many took to social media to pour their condolences and share memories of this French icon. Religion, race and personal beliefs aside, the world collectively grieved and lent support.

While this is truly a loss on a global scale, the blow comes as a particularly harsh one to the Catholic community after a particularly difficult season of Lent. From the Pope addressing allegations of sexual assault, to backlash over the controversial theatrical release of the film "Unplanned", this latest development seemed like a cruel joke in the days leading up to Easter Sunday. I myself felt affected by this fire hundred of thousand miles away in North Carolina. One of our most beloved holy churches was ebbing away in front of us and all God could do was watch.

However, despite all that, we must look forward.

Despite much of the church being reduced to ash, some of the priceless artifacts and objects that were hidden away in the cathedral have been able to survive the ordeal; such as the crown of thorns, numerous pieces of art, the rose windows, the altar cross shown above and the iconic bells of Notre Dame. Once news of this broke out, I was strengthed to my core knowing God was indeed there.

It seems like such an oxymoron to see such a tragedy as a sign of hope, yet the Bible itself is full of those. The 7 plagues that tormented Eygpt, the Great Flood, and even the death of Christ as examples.

As children of Christ, we are told at a very young age to never question his plan. He is all knowing and has a way of making everything fall into place. God sensed that Catholics were in the midst of a troubling time and brought us this opportunity of a new beginning. The burning taking place during Holy Week can also be taken as perfect timing.

The whole premise of this week revolves around the death of Jesus at the hands of Pontius Pilate, yet miraculously returned three days later before joining Our Father in Heaven, the cathedral can very well do the same and return better than before.

It is a devastating loss but already we are seeing evidence of joyous aftermath. As I noted before, people from all walks of life are offering support and condolences to a faith they were scorning just a week prior. Priceless artifacts have miraculously been recovered and plans for rebuilding have already started. This is a sign of a new beginning, that God is backing us through it all.

Do not question His plan, just have faith. The rest will fall into place.

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What Your 20's Are All About

Authenticity.

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Being a twenty-something is glorious.

It's easy. It's beautiful. It often looks like a pair of designer cut-offs or a laptop on a beach. It isn't terribly serious.

In fact, it's rarely serious. Yet it makes sense--more sense than any other age because it's newly educated, self-discovered, and hopeful.

Right?

This is what social media tells me. It is what college told me. It is something many of us believe.

I am convinced, however, that there is more to it than this.

Someone or some book neglected to add a few more postscripts to this chapter of the Book of Life. Or maybe they were lodged under the "Recommended Reading" portion of the syllabus (and hence overlooked).

Whatever the case, your real twenties are about something in between the really good vodka and the wandering. That something has the power to shape this decade of your life into a different kind of gem.

(Yes, you can cut your teeth on it.)

Uncertainty

College (or life after high school) somehow perpetuates the myth that graduation precedes a concrete stairway. And that stairway leads clearly to a life path, a career, a vision, and a culmination, all to the tune of Jimmy Hendrix.

A bachelor's or associate's degree initiates many into the world of work and careerdom. But it does not necessarily make things any more certain.

Perhaps you've graduated with a degree in French literature and suddenly feel an impulse to stare at lots of graphs and statistics.

Maybe you have no impulse whatsoever. You have hobbies—fixing bikes, swiping left—but cannot seem to grasp a vision.

If you're like I was in my twenties, perhaps you sense you want to do everything your parents didn't, if only your feet would touch ground sometime soon.

This decade is definitively unknown. Not having a solid sense of what comes next is not an inherent fault of yours; it's part and parcel of life's whimsical years.

Want in on a shinier secret? All decades are uncertain. This one just feels the ripest.

If you wake up every morning and have no answers (or job, or health insurance, or girlfriend, or house), great! You're doing this right. Answers will emerge, but in the meantime, sit with the discomfort of being simply where you are at.

Forgiveness

As the decade of uncertainty unfolds, lean into it. I found that I could get more comfortable with being an unknown entity in my twenties by forgiving myself (and others).

You don't have to go to an ashram to practice forgiveness, although I'm not discouraging you from this path. Nor do you have to start embracing a new religion or giving up red meat and Cheetos.

Forgiveness starts with awareness. Beginning to recognize the difference between personal goals and societal demands is the prelude to following a gentler, more visionary path.

When I forgave myself for being a perfectionist, despairing that I would never find a job, and wondering if I really should have chosen my English major, life became much easier.

Science also tells us that our brains are still firing, forming, and developing in our twenties.

As such, friendships may peel away. Certain kinds of knowledge may dissolve. You may start to realize that holding grudges or avoiding conflict isn't worth it anymore—or is now worth forgiveness.

Forgiveness can also be empowering. It's one of many doors that can shuttle you more effectively into the unknown (with grace and a good pair of heels).

Exchange

Everything we learn in childhood, high school, and beyond is not necessarily the truth. The decade of your twenties is about the conscious and willing abandonment of past ideals, notions, and information.

To some, this may be simple rebellion. To others, it may be part of the self's natural evolution.

To me, it's about an exchange.

Being in your twenties can involve trading in those old ideas for more relevant ones. It's like a consignment store for self.

At this stage in life, a lot of things crumble. A lot of new buildings and scaffolding develop. Sometimes, this is brutal. It may feel unfair. It may feel like a relief.

No one is here to say that you have to be the self of your childhood or the self of eighteen (or last year). Mindfully weeding out the old and heralding in a more graceful, informed you will make that part of your thirties that much easier.

Risk

If you haven't gotten the memo yet, this is all really risky.

I mean, trekking across Mongolia, coming out, changing your name, abandoning your career, or taking up deep water diving isn't easy.

Forgiving yourself and leaning into uncertainty—those are hard, too.

A lot can get lost. A lot more can crack, splinter, and explode. It's a minefield for the mind and heart.

This decade may be the riskiest of your life. But that's how you know you're playing a good hand.

Without risk, the path becomes in danger of getting "too comfortable." That's one thing we millennials can agree on, at least—to be comfortable is to be stagnant.

I say, be risky. Feel imperiled, whether it involves a belief system or relationship or vision. On the other side of risk is knowing.

Authenticity

This decade is yours. It can shimmer, darken, or expand depending on what you do with it. No one can tell you otherwise.

Society may urge you to be free, playful, and exuberant in your twenties. Excellent.

It may also urge you to be driven, focused, and cynical. Also excellent.

But your twenties are really all about authenticity, or what you do with it. The greatest years of your life won't necessarily be college—they may just be the ones in which you chose to live powerfully within the scope of your greatest and truest self.

If no one was there to prep you for your twenties, or if you feel that the ones who were got it all wrong, take these words to heart. Be uncertain and timid. But also be audacious and genuine.

The one who's looking closest is, after all, you.

Note: Another version of this piece appeared on Thought Catalog.

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