So, the story goes: Time Magazine runs a story documenting decades of sexual assault and harassment allegations against film producer, Harvey Weinstein, the hashtag, “me too” trends on social media showing solidarity for millions of women all over the world who have their own stories to tell, the Mount Olympus of pervy rich white men (and Russel Simmons, apparently) comes tumbling down and, suddenly, we’re all right smack in the middle of a long overdue national discussion on male misconduct (to put things fucking mildly) against women.
Predictably, though, men ain’t ready.
Holy fucking shit, Neo dodged Matrix bullets less seamlessly than men dodge the topic during discussions about sexual harassment.
Last week, I posted on Facebook in response to one strawman in particular that caught my side-eye one too many times for me not to speak on it. The post read:
“Maaaaan, if y’all niggas don’t get every last bit of the fuck up outta here talmbout, ‘You can’t even smile or say hi to a woman without being accused of sexual harassment’
Shut. The. Fuck. Uuuuuuuuuup, my bish.
Because y’all know that’s not what happens.
Y’all know never in the history of everdom has a dude smiled at a woman and instantly been accused as a predator.
You know you ain’t never heard of a dude saying ‘hi’ to a woman at work and ending up talking to HR.
Nah, that dude smiled, said ‘hi’….and then stared at her titties for 15 seconds straight.
That dude smiled, said ‘hi’…. and then patted her on the ass as she walked away.
That dude smiled, said ‘hi’…… and then asked her out repeatedly and called her a stuck up bitch for rejecting his many advances.
That dude smiled, said ‘hi’…. and then called her out her name cuz she ain’t say “hi” back.
That dude told you he said ‘hi’, when really he said, ‘Ayo shawty damn that ass is foooiiiine!’
That dude was prolly YO ASS….. and now you mad.”
The post soon went VIY-ROH (you gotta say it in Kendrick Lamar voice). Most people (predominantly black women) had a good laugh and seemed to really appreciate the word, but others (particularly black men) weren’t so satisfied.
It seems, when I typed, ” never in the history of everdom has a dude smiled at a woman and instantly been accused as a predator.” I made the fatal mistake of giving them an out. I spoke briefly in absolutes and gave them a reason to get their “Well, actually” on and, in this instance, bring up decades of black men being lynched for merely speaking to white women as examples of innocent greetings putting men in the hot seat.
Now, any brain with an asshole (I think I said that right) could read that line and tell I was being intentionally hyperbolic, but hit dogs howl… I mean, defensive black men all over the thread took it upon themselves to isolate this one line and argue as if it were the whole of my message. “What about Emmett Till?” they all asked – all smug n shit – as if they’d blind sided me with some clever “gotcha” logic, when all they actually did was prove they’d rather invoke the name of a 14 year old child who died in one of the most horrific displays of racial violence in this nations history than stay on topic and talk about the sexual harassment women face every day NOW in 2017. They’d rather take the laughable position that Emmett Till is the reason they’re (pretending to be) afraid to speak to their female coworkers than confront the fact that they have problems behaving professionally around them.
The truth is, men don’t walk through life in fear of being falsely accused of assault or harassment; certainly not anywhere near as much as women fear and endure the reality of it. If we actually considered it a realistic concern in our day to day lives, we’d never stop pontificating about it. Black men would be online preaching about our vulnerability to fake assault claims as much as we do police brutality and the prison industrial complex. White men would forgo that rant about Muslim, immigrant governments taking their gun jobs while the tax payer funds their terrorist welfare (I think I got that right) and instead tweet about those pesky false sexual harassment accusations that are driving this country into the ground (MAGA!).
Women of all races and ideologies constantly take to social media to vent about catcalling, unsolicited dick pics and men who don’t like to hear “no”. Don’t get me wrong, women post about a lot of the same shit we do, but they’re also sharing screenshots of vulgar and thirsty men in their various inboxes and sharing stories they come across in their feeds about assault victims… stories most men wouldn’t bother opening the link on. And this is every day. All four seasons. Not just when it’s a trending topic with a catchy hashtag. This is on their minds and tongues 365, 24 – 8 since FOREVER!
The only time men ever seem to want to speak on anything remotely relating to sexual harassment/assault is in condescending response to women recalling their experiences… especially en masse. We only ever want to take up space in that discussion when women have the floor.
Guys, I honestly feel it’s time we stop running. Stop dodging and derailing hard conversations (and by “hard”, I mean “STUPID FUCKING EASY”) and actually stay on point and *gasp* listen. Stop with the disingenuous, anecdotal nonsense and willful obtuseness and actually make an effort to take in and retain what we’re being told about ourselves.
We need to listen, and be prepared to deal with the fact that we may very well… be trash.