Understanding #MeToo

Understanding #MeToo

By Tanya Burgess

The #MeToo social media movement created by Tarana Burke has been vindicated by victims and advocates throughout American who were victims of inappropriate and illegal mistreatment of the mind, body and soul. Since the presidential election, there has been an increased advocacy and awareness of assault, particularly by men against women in the workplace. The entertainment industry has long been seen as a cesspool of indecency where people have way too much money and power and little knowledge of how to wield them responsibly.

The allegations which have recently come to light against sports giants, actors, producers and business men in the entertainment industry is what started the movement. Those with the strength, support and opportunity to come forward with their story found a hard brick wall in their way, as they were faced with shamming and disbelief. This stigma that being victimized is a shameful experience for the survivor and that speaking on those experiences is taboo are the building blocks for rape culture in America.

So, what makes this movement necessary and is it working?

The first question many women are asked when they finally are able to speak out about their experience with sexual assault is, how did it happen? Answers to these questions are often assumed before the individual speaks. You were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you trusted someone you shouldn’t have, you made a mistake, you weren’t being careful, or you were doing something you shouldn’t have been doing.

This bias is inherent, most people believe that your personal safety is your responsibility because frankly there are bad people out in the world and you should simply know that. Unfortunately, that biased thinking it’s wrong; if you learn nothing from the life you’ve lived so far, it’s that there are bad people out in the world and you need to keep yourself safe. That being said, as we all understand this notion of safety, why then is it shameful when someone is attacked?

If we all understand that it is completely possible to be harmed even when you are being safe, why then is it never the person who decided to be a ‘bad guy in the world’s fault? The answer is simple, as far as women believe they have ‘come up’ in the world, we are still second-class citizens seen as the lesser or weaker sex. We are simply not as important as men.

Women have indeed come along way and we are on the road to greatness but men are still in the front of the line.

Ask and you shall recieve: The female empowerment movement by blogger Emily

Ask and you shall recieve: The female empowerment movement by blogger Emily

Some people hang onto the idea that working women are frightened to ask for and reach for what they professionally want, whether that be a higher salary or a leadership position. This cliché is starting to lose its grasp. For instance, a study conducted by The Cass Business School in London, the University of Warwick in the U.K., and the University of Wisconsin did not support the “women-ask-less-than-men” myth.

This isn’t to say that there are absolutely no cases of women avoiding confrontation in the workplace. In fact, until I had become more comfortable with my job, I embodied the stereotype.

It’s almost been a year since I graduated college and, in that year, I learned lessons that have helped me break through my workplace insecurities. I’m not a guru. I’m not a wise Dumbledore-like-figure. I’m a working woman and here are those lessons:

Speak up

 If there is anything that you are uncomfortable with, you have the right to let your supervisor know. I spent six months without a second computer monitor (my job requires two), but it wasn’t until I worked up the courage to ask for one that I immediately received it. A simple problem with a simple solution. Even if you’re the lowest on the totem pole, never forget that you have a voice worth hearing.

Don’t say sorry (for what you can’t control)

I’m addicted to the word “sorry.” If someone were to ram into me with a truck, I’d still say sorry for standing on that particular sidewalk. In the workplace, you have to learn to nip that habit in the bud. My boss called me out on the habit when I said sorry for an IT issue. Fun fact: I don’t work in IT. It was a wakeup call because I learned to take responsibility for my own actions, not for the actions of people working across the country.

Work hard and go beyond

 If you want to excel at your job and prove your worth, you’ve got to work hard. That seems like a given for anyone. But, if you want to earn a raise or a promotion, you should do more than the basic duties of your position. Show that you’re taking on more responsibilities. Show that you’re adding or creating something for your organization that hasn’t been utilized before. Show that the work you’ve done has improved the quality of your organization. The more evidence you use to back up the claim that you deserve a raise or a promotion, the more likely you’ll achieve that goal.

As more young women grow up with the notion that they can be whatever they want to be and do whatever they want to do, the playing field can even out if we confidently traverse through the working world. If we keep reaching, keep working, keep asking, and keep confronting, then it’s only a matter of time.