#MeToo goes beyond a movement. #MeToo has revived conversations about the normalisation of rape culture and the expectations on survivors to change the narrative, rather than perpetrators – and men – to drive change.
Of course, #MeToo’s resurgence on social media this week (it’s actually an initiative that’s over 10 years old) can be cathartic for survivors who have the capacity/feel safe enough to share their stories. It’s important for women to lend their voices to those who can’t lay bare their trauma. The social media mobilisation has placed emphasis on actually listening to women rather than derailing or denying our experiences. But when re-evaluating #MeToo as a mechanism for change, where are the perpetrators of violence in this conversation?
This is by no means a call-to-action for men to centre themselves in this narrative. But feminist writer Liz Plank wrote a post on Facebook confronting the skewed dynamics of activism that places the emotional labour on survivors to create transformation. ‘#MeToo I was sexually harassed, groped, physically and verbally attacked. But what about him though?’ posts Plan. She goes on to unpack the dangers of shouldering women with the task of dismantling oppression: ‘Who decided it was women’s job to fix men? Why is the burden always on women? I’m done. I’m done pretending sexual assault is a woman’s issue. Your shame is not ours. No sir. #HimThough.’
#MeToo I was sexually harassed, groped, physically and verbally attacked. But what about him though? Who decided it was…
#HimThough subverts the idea that women are solely responsible for dismantling rape culture. The hashtag, together with #IDidThat, implores men and perpetrators of sexual violence to take accountability for their actions, behaviours and attitudes that reinforce the patriarchy’s claim over women’s bodies.
Instead of #MeToo being a single stream of voices – no matter how valid – #HimThough is a step towards a real dialogue that demands men take ownership for their pivotal role in nurturing rape culture.
— hanp93 (@hanp93) October 17, 2017
Sure, by and large men don’t tell other men not to rape, instead the rhetoric is framed in relation to women somehow ‘protecting’ themselves with arbitrary measures, such as how they dress. As victims of the patriarchy, how are women expected to not only be subject to discrimination but also to magically dismantle the very structures that keep us subjugated?
— ✨Modern Day Wise Woman ✨ (@RMLLoveCoach) October 17, 2017
It’s time for men to stop absolving their responsibility (and yes, I do mean #AllMen), and to start confronting, organising and doing the work towards true transformation. The only way we can get to that point is through acknowledgement. Ever harassed, coerced, abused, or violated a woman in any shape or form, in any context? Yeah, you’re part of the problem.
— Maybe: Dan (@Divascalp) October 18, 2017
Men, If you don't think you're "him," reconsider.
— Katie Foisy (@KatieFoisy) October 17, 2017
The silence of men is deafening. Only when they’re not centred in the conversation in ways they want to be do they crawl from their protected spaces to say they feel erased.