I think there are a couple big dangers worth pointing out about the #MeToo meme.
For one, it may have blown sexual assault out of proportion by conflating it with sexual harassment.
This is because of how the meme was formulated:
So that when someone posts it, they could mean a range of things from being horrifically raped to someone just being very rude to them.
But with sexual assault featuring prominently in this meme, packaging the two all together like that risks painting an inaccurate picture of the world.
...in a campaign that is purported to make us more aware of how things really are out there.
But because of this meme, is the world looking like it might be a lot worse than it really is?
When I brought this concern up in a discussion, a friend of mine said something I agree with 100%:
"I think it's the prerogative of anybody who has been raped to be as vague as they choose."
But right before he said that, he said this:
"I don't think a lot of people who haven't been raped are going to leave it ambiguous, and I think it's the prerogative of anybody who has been raped to be as vague as they choose."
So he is assuming the worst might have happened when he sees the meme reposted without any details.
That is exactly the concern I have.
Of course no one has any obligation to publicly share any of the details about anything in their life.
But that doesn't make this potential danger of #MeToo any less of a potential danger.
And I know he's assuming, but that's what the meme is designed, intentionally or not to make you do...
It is suggestive, not clarifying. It impugns the world by repeatedly suggesting a terrible possibility.
Everyone who posted #MeToo essentially posted:
"I might have been raped."
Well I might have too. Glad we cleared that up.
Men are just awful aren't they? The world is overflowing with Harvey Weinsteins.
My friend told me:
"I mean I don't expect them to imply they've been raped. I don't think sharing the meme alone implies that, since it's explicit about the perimeters. And if you want clarity about a friend you can ask."
He stopped responding after I replied:
"Sure if it's a close friend I care about I can ask.
If it's a 'friendly,' not a close friend, an acquaintance that I am FB friends with, which most of us have hundreds of, then I wouldn't dare send them a message saying:
'Hey I noticed you posted #MeToo. Were you actually raped or just whistled at?'
All I know is the number of people I've seen who... might have been raped. And that doesn't clear up anybody's picture of the state of the world like this meme purports to do.
I am concerned, and inclined to think it just muddies up our view of the world."
The other danger of this meme is how it is formulated to the exclusion of men.
Someone will point out that some men have posted #MeToo, but the meme that has been reposted over and over again by women is worded to exclude men.
It is clear from how it's worded that the meme is not for awareness and sympathy of sexual assault victims.
It is using sympathy for female sexual assault victims to drive a wedge between men and women.
Otherwise why specify the gender of the victim?
Because more men are raped in America than women.
You read that right.
Or do the men who are raped in prison not count?
Because the #MeToo meme is about women. It says it right in the meme. And the men are forgotten.
I'm not saying pretty white women don't have problems in America, or that their problems are always solved.
But at least they get taken seriously.
It's still perfectly acceptable to make prison rape jokes on television. Those are men. Who cares?
Or they're just criminals, right?
Well it's weird how a disproportionate number of black men are criminals.
And many of those "criminals" are there for non-violent offenses. And many of the criminals getting raped in detention are minors.
And even if they're violent adult criminals, do they deserve to get raped?
And laughed at for it? Or just ignored and forgotten?
It is your white, female privilege in this country to post #MeToo to your Facebook.
The black men getting raped in prison don't have a Facebook and they don't have a voice.
And it is female privilege for a woman who's incapable of taking care of her kids to get a house and food from the government.
Because a male who can't take care of his kids gets a prison cell from the government.
And that's regardless of race.
That's how it works in the United States.
Before you try it, I am not just conveniently bringing this up now because I'm mad about #MeToo.
I felt burdened by and wrote about the rape epidemic in the United States prison system back in 2010:
Prison Rape, A National Crisis, May 1, 2010
Prison Rape, Myths and Misconceptions, Sept 4, 2010
Cross-gender strip searches ruled unconstitutional, Jan 8, 2011
"As I’m sure you know, your previous coverage of the problem of sexual abuse in detention has made a strong impression on the Department of Justice." -Lovisa Stannow, Just Detention International, 3/29/11
That felt good to hear, but it also seemed to me like no one really listened.
When a bunch of pretty white rich women might have been raped, we all pay attention.
When men get raped, no one cares.
As the #MeToo meme shows, women are not even able to form the thought that men get raped.
That is female privilege folks.
And there are too many countless other examples of it to tolerate the combative gender politics hardwired into this meme without pointing that out.
So was I.
Suggested by a friend: "If all the men who have been genitally mutilated by having part of their penis removed when they were a baby wrote 'So was I." as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem."
I wonder what would happen if I posted this.
Because right after they were born, the lives of 4 out of 5 boys in America took a drastic detour that the girls in this country did not, when they had a part of their genitals surgically removed.
Something that doesn't happen to females here.
Something we deplore and call by its correct name, female genital mutilation, when it happens to girls in Muslim countries.
Welcome to America, little boy.
It's a woman's country.
I wonder what would happen if I posted that meme, and I might just do it to find out.
My hypothesis is that it doesn't spread even 1 percent as far as #MeToo did.
Because men are less inclined than women to brag about their suffering to everyone they know.
#MeToo might be the most annoying way people use Facebook crystallized into its purest form.
It is the classic and much abhorred Facebook status update with an ambiguous grievance, against an unnamed person, with no details, and clearly not an invitation to a real conversation with your friends.
Please do not be afraid to share if you agree: