In my last post, I wrote a bit about the hashtag #MeToo, in which many women, as survivors of sexual harassment, have bound together to claim unity. Even as I was writing that piece, I recognized that it is not a problem limited by gender, and that many men have experienced sexual harassment as well. Many experienced it as children; many have known it in the workplace as adults. It is a problem of power in our culture. Yet right from the beginning I felt uncomfortable with men joining in with #MeToo.
That is not to say that men aren’t harassed or abused sexually. In gay and straight contexts, many men have also been victims. But it is different, and the experience of binding together through social media is also different. Skylar Baker-Jordan describes this very well in an article in The Independent. We have our own issues, and our own difficulties. And we can’t understand what it’s like for women. I think it’s very important that we talk about our own experiences of sexual harassment: in many ways I think it’s harder for us than for women, precisely because of the implied power differences. We need to support women in this longstanding issue, not eclipse them.