#MeToo Is An Empowering Movement That Has Turned Into An Outlet For Guilt

#MeToo Is An Empowering Movement That Has Turned Into An Outlet For Guilt

There are times when sexual harassment is real, and there are times when it is not.
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Time's Up and #MeToo is the 2018 sexual harassment movement that is spreading like wildfire across the U.S. And for a good reason, too. After seeing others stand up for themselves, thousands of women who have kept silent about their violations decided to make the claim that some men have taken their testosterone-induced confidence a little too far. As a feminist and advocate for female empowerment, I highly support the courage of women to raise awareness of sexual harassment and the need for consent. But it angers me to see some women unlawfully blame their "abusers."

Women such as Halsey have had their lives turned upside down after being roughly handled by a man. Most of these women have overcome severe anxiety attacks, depression and suicide attempts. It is only right for them to find closure by bringing justice and addressing the man who believed that nothing was wrong.

It does sadden me to see men being accused of problems that should not exist in the first place. But it's also disappointing when women falsely claim to have been abused. Some women have actually been harassed or forced against their will, but others go through with certain acts and feel guilty about their actions afterward, finding solace by creating false accusations against genuinely innocent men.

"No" means no, but without firm verbal consent or disapproval, there exists a thin line between coercion and a two-sided agreement. Body language can be hard to pick up on, especially if it is not obvious. Hitting someone forcefully can easily be interpreted as hate, but staying in a stiff position or moving as little as possible are harder to pick up on, in certain scenarios. Same thing with facial expressions. What an uncomfortable grimace may look like to can be interpreted as a smile to others.

Therefore, verbally expressing your feelings is very important to establish open communication. But some women choose not to rely upon words and instead, tehy use unreliable context clues. And when they decide to "go with it anyway" and reflect upon it later, they feel guilty and violated and choose to categorize their discomfort under sexual harassment, when really, it was not.

Take for example the sexual misconduct filed against Aziz Ansari. Though he may have acted impulsively and inappropriately, Grace could have told him "no" and left his residence, instead of saying "chill out" or "later," and engaging with him. The way she spoke to him does not immediately signal her uneasiness, which is what could have created that disparity in communication. Though some of the blame rests with Ansari for the misconduct, Grace also deserves some partial blame for her lack of strong expression.

Sometimes, men do not communicate as clearly, leading to the same problem except in the opposite gender. Consent lives in the gray area unless it is crystal clear whether it exists or not. That's why it is in the best interest of adults to vocalize their inner emotions throughout their romantic encounters, or else, the results can end up not-so-romantic.

Sexual harassment is wrong. It is not acceptable to take advantage of someone when they are intoxicated or whether they do not want a person's advances. And naming the guilt over an uncomfortable one night stand that an individual voluntarily took part in should not be called sexual harassment.

Movements like these should not be an outlet for the guilt over a hookup. It is only for real cases of pressure over sexual relations. There is a difference between the two, and if we do not see that, then #MeToo could become a front used for those who wish to ignore their true feelings over a failed relationship.


Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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15 Amazing Junior Year Memories That I Don't Think A Busy Senior Year Will Make Me Forget

It's the last week of school, but I think of it more as the last week of my favorite year of high school.

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Ups and downs, highs and lows. Whatever I call the many bumps on the journey I had in the past nine months, that won't change the fact that the fun parts of the year were truly fun. I met so many new people and made so many new friends that I can't keep track of how quickly time is passing when I spend time with any of them. I learned so much new content in my classes that my brain hurts just trying to remember everything. I feel so happy when I imagine various moments in the past year that it just wouldn't be fitting to let them all fly away.

1. When Homecoming Dinner Couldn't Get Any Weirder

Let's just say that the restaurant wasn't as family-friendly as it had originally advertised. And, not to sound like a restaurant critic, but the food certainly didn't make up for the strange environment. In fact, I had to go home from feeling sick. But even with the mess that dinner was, the night was a crazy adventure that I doubt I'll forget anytime soon.

2. When We Went To Barnes & Noble To Study For Finals

One of my best friends and I have a tradition of going to either a local Starbucks or our Barnes & Noble just to study, and if we're not able to get our table (the one with a leg rest and outlets), then we can't focus. In fact, we'll stare at the people at our table until they leave on their own. Plus, once we get started on studying, the next two to three hours are nonstop working.

3. When We Celebrated Halloween By Hiking Through A Forest Five Times

Am I exaggerating? Absolutely not. For Halloween, a few of us volunteered at our local nature center to lead tours around the surrounding forest for the children who came to the event. From six in the evening to 11 in the night, we walked step after step through winding hills and large fields, and when the leg pain came afterward, we couldn't stop complaining.

4. When We Found A Planetarium So Close To Home

My dad and I found a small planetarium at a nearby college that was open every Friday night for anyone to visit, and we'd spend every Friday for two months going there to see how the star patterns had changed in the past week. Sometimes, I'd accidentally fall asleep during the presentations because I was exhausted from school that day, but being able to learn surface-level knowledge about astronomy was priceless.

5. When We Went To A Concert Twenty Minutes After Hearing About It

There was one time my best friend and I were studying for finals at Barnes & Noble back in December, and she brought up a concert happening at our school that was going on that night.

"Do you want to go?" I remember her asking.

So we drove quickly to school with half an hour left before it started by the time we reached. We sat there and stared at the school building, and this one song that neither of us will ever forget began playing on Spotify. That was probably the most nostalgic, heartbreaking moment I'd ever experienced. The school stared back at us, empty hallways lit up and visible through the windows, and I remember just thinking about how there would be a day that we'd see some of our friends for the last time before college.

The concert was amazing, though.

6. When We Drew Flowers On A Balloon In Physics

I had gotten a balloon in the previous class, which I brought with me to Physics. I should've known how bad of a decision it was on my part to mention the balloon because all of us took turns drawing flowers on it using a Sharpie. We were so tired that the only thing we could focus on was drawing plants.

7. When The Class Grew Glowing Bacteria Cultures

Unfortunately, our group couldn't grow our bacteria because of a small procedural error, but I still love this picture of another group's. It was magical to see how simple scientific concepts could come together to make microscopic bacteria glow just as brightly as huge stars in the sky do at night.

8. When We Watched An Episode Of "Friends" In Biology

I sometimes stumble upon this picture and laugh because we were all incomprehensibly tired in class that day. To make a point about the mystery of the debate between evolution and religion, our teacher showed us the episode of "Friends" where Phoebe and Ross debate the two concepts.

9. When Starbucks Could Never Spell My Name Correctly

As if this is the only instance of my name being spelled incorrectly. I've also received "Shraya" and "Shrenya" if we're wondering.

10. When A Club Induction Ceremony Felt A Bit Sinister

When they began to light the candles and made us stand up to take an oath (which, by the way, sounded oddly cult-like), a couple of us were wondering if we were supposed to feel a darker vibe. In any case, though, the cake they gave out afterward was the best I'd had in a while.

11. When We Built A Theme Park In Honor Of "The Great Gatsby"

Our AP Lang class channeled "The Great Gatsby" vibes when we were challenged to create a theme park that delved into the details of the book. Being tasked with creating a park for West Egg, this was the first time I got to meet three of the most amazing people.

12. When We Binge-Watched Two And A Half Seasons Of "Lucifer"

Another one of my best friends asked me one day if I'd ever seen the show "Lucifer," and I went on an entire spiel about how I watched every episode of the first season when it was on cable a few years ago.

"Okay, but do you remember any of it?" she asked.

"No, why?"

"Do you want to watch the show from the beginning?"

13. When We Went To Our Friends' Art Showcase

This showcase took place earlier in May, and it was amazing to see the talent right in our school. Three of my closest friends had their works on display, and I almost made a bet with myself to see if I'd fill up my phone storage with the countless pictures I was taking of their pieces.

14. When We Went To The Dam For An Entire Afternoon

It was unforgettable mainly because my family and I used to go to the dam all the time, but because this was probably the first time we'd gone in a year or so, I felt at home for the first time in a while. The dam is always serene, save for the sounds of children screaming and playing in the distance.

15. When We All Danced To "High School Musical" In The School Hallways

I even told the people I was with during this memory that I would never forget that night. Science Night had just ended, and with all the children gone home, we were left to clean up the experiment stations. Of course, before we could clean up, we all needed a bit of time for ourselves, and in the completely empty main hallway, five of us danced to "High School Musical" songs.

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Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
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I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

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