Your point of view on the recent #MeToo movement will likely depend on your own experiences in life. Your point of view will depend on who has taught you; how they’ve taught you. Your point of view will depend on the values and experiences of those who came before you, both men and women. The combined experiences of women who have experienced sexual assault, childhood molestation, or unacceptable levels of harassment in the workplace outweigh the combined experiences of men for the same, but that doesn’t mean that men don’t have their own fair share. We all share the burden, and we can all help fix the problem.
It came to light recently that a hundred French women–from my own country–recently signed an open letter to all those who participate in the strengthening movements. The letter didn’t so much as denounce the movement as it quietly urged restraint. This is a point of view hardly shared by all, but it is something with which I’m familiar. The sexuality in France is far different and far more overt from what it is in the United States. We don’t see it as something to shy away from. We’re open about it. We’re healthy about it. Sexuality can be an exciting, empowering force for good, and we don’t want to see its power reduced to a cold, frightening taboo the way it is in almost all of America.
The women who signed the letter are well known for these same beliefs, and there are people all over the world who agree. I can sympathize, but as an aspiring actress in the very town where so much of this backward sexual behavior occurs–to young women I know and love–I must take a somewhat different stance.
Certainly, men have the right to flirt, to make their attractions known. But women have the right to stop any unwanted advance cold. We have the right to say no. We have the right to speak out against public figures who wield power and money, and have made these perpetual habits into a pattern of criminal activity all over the country, and beyond. This cannot–and will not–continue. We won’t let it. I’m proud of the women who have stood up for what they believe is right, and I know that they will continue to do so in the future. I know that this already normalized behavior will someday soon come to a stop. I know that sexuality in America may perhaps remain cold and taboo, but I also know that progress means we have to end the pattern of acceptance of what has become a culture that allows rape and molestation, and lets justice go undone when such crimes are ignored.
We need a reset. We need to let people be open and honest about their feelings whether they live in France, New York, or Los Angeles, while being realistic in expectation. We need to learn self-control. What’s more important: we need to teach kids the same. I love my French compatriots, and I love my American compatriots as well. I want us to keep fighting for what’s right, and I want us to be emotionally healthy, sexually healthy, and safe.
Here is one celebrity’s take on the #MeToo movement: