On January 7th, 2018 Oprah's Golden Globes speech gave us life. It wasn’t long into Oprah’s monologue that we were all crying with such overwhelmingly beautiful emotion, hopeful that, indeed, “a new day is on the horizon!”
This magnificent, powerful, bigger-than-life black woman reminded us why we should celebrate the awakening we are now living, why we should be proud of what we’ve achieved, how far we’ve come and what all we deserve. Her speech – so powerful and honest – made us put things into perspective, open our eyes before the absolute truth and see the injustice, disrespect, humiliation and lies we were victims of for decades.
In the manner of her standard intellectual and emotional magnitude, she celebrated the weak, the strong, the rich and poor, the brave, the unnamed and named, she celebrated the beauty of truth. She celebrated women “who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue”.
Once again, Oprah reminded us that tyrants, bullies and predators aren’t welcome in our realities, that we’re bigger and stronger and way more powerful than they are. “Their time is up!”, she chanted as the Hollywood glitterati, untied in the same thought and emotion, chanted along. “For too long, women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up!” She spoke, and the whole world cried with bittersweet optimism and strength. On January 7th, 2018 Oprah's Golden Globes speech gave us life. And, as Ellen DeGeneres so wholeheartedly observed, “George Washington may be the Father of our country but Oprah is the Mother of our country”. We can only move forward from here.
Raised in a culture that was predominantly favorable to the male population, women have long been shunned away, disrespected, (ab)used, threatened and made quiet – verbally or with physical violence. For long, these same women were afraid to say “No” to men for a number of reasons: some were afraid of losing their jobs, their families, they were afraid of being judged by their immediate or external society circle, they were afraid of being thrown out in the street, or – ironically – they hoped things would change.
“No” has long been an unacceptable answer from a woman (to a man)… and men? They were getting comfortable with having it their way, always. However, now that women are finally breaking free, and their anguish and difficult truths are being acknowledged by the public (and – the bullies are being punished), the males are getting confused. The world is no longer their dominion, it’s everyones. Now, everyone has the right to be, to live free of fear, to be appreciated and respected. The “No” has become final.
The fault in our generalization
Not all men are abusers, nor are all women victims – and opting for a generalization so strong and underserved can only do us harm – both men and women. Not all men are the enemy, some men are. And those some men are the reason of our #metoo.
The men we (used to) fear, the men that (used to) make us feel disposable, invaluable, vulnerable, unworthy. Those same men who may have sisters, and wives and daughters, and potentially treat them with the same disgusting disrespect they humiliated us with. THOSE are the men who should suffer the consequences of our decades-lasting anger, our embarrassment and hurt hearts. For us and those other women that have been victims of either verbal or physical abuse, for our sisters, we raise a voice in hope things will change and there’ll finally be an end put to this disgrace.
As for the good men – the men who deserve our absolute respect, love and support – let’s leave them out of the equation. All the wonderful husbands and fathers, the brave and fearless men of the military, the great doctors and field workers, the honest teachers and help workers…. let’s leave them be the heroes of our everyday, and continually prove they are rightfully worthy of our respect.
The dating scene is already as complicated as it is, and the #metoo movement seems to have made it even more complicated (if possible).
Now that the mood has changed, the dialogue needs to change, too. Although couple counseling, honesty and open communication are the first communication tools we should go to in these times of change, what we all need, above everything else, is the collective willingness to change. In past few years popularization of neuro-linguistic programming is inevitable, because of this one thing - we need to learn how to talk to each other again.
On one hand, as the final days of male absolutism approach, the climate is shifting from “She’s rejecting me ‘cos she likes the chase” to a “She’s rejecting me, so I guess I should back off”, and men are gradually (and finally!) learning the seriousness of a woman’s “No”.
On the other hand, women seem very angry for having to put up with being humiliated, abused and ill-treated for as long as they have, so they are screaming a “No” at the top of their lungs both when called and uncalled for, which is creating a very unsettling dating climate.
Sitting in a bar, men are thinking: “I like her so much, but should I go over there and risk being accused of making sexual advances after putting my hand around her waist or complimenting her hair?”; looking at the men around, at that same bar, women are thinking “I look great tonight… why isn’t anyone coming over?”. Everyone’s afraid of what next is going to happen. Women are afraid they’ll be taken advantage of (even when men aren’t targeting it), and men are afraid of being accused of taking advantage of someone (even when they never intended it).
,Adjusting to this shift will take time and education: for men, to believe a woman when she says “No”, and for women – not to abuse the power of their “No”.
Men, don’t be the disgusting examples of why #metoo movement had to happen in the first place. Women, don’t be girls who cried wolf and managed to trivialize everything #metoo essentially stands for. Let’s all evolve in the right direction and be the “leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say 'me too' again.”