Amy Roberts: Millions of “Me Toos”
Red Card Roberts
Park Record columnist
I’m prone to confusing hashtags with hash browns, so it’s not often I take notice of the number sign and consider it a powerful movement. But that changed last week with the massiveness of the #MeToo campaign. The hashtag went viral on social media, with over 12 million postings to Facebook alone.
The avalanche of responses came on the heels of Harvey Weinstein’s dramatic fall from Hollywood’s elite, after he was accused, on numerous occasions, of all sorts of vile behavior. Women from nearly every spot on the globe posted #MeToo, proving this type of conduct is not limited to the casting couch.
Some women added their personal stories of sexual assault, harassment or gender bias and some added an encouraging note about survival. Others just let #MeToo speak for itself. For many women, the declaration was empowering and long overdue. And for almost of all us, it wasn’t the least bit surprising.
In fact, after reading many of the posts, I was tempted to start my own social media campaign — #WhoHasnt?
Every woman alive has a story. We haven’t all been sexually assaulted or groped. Or forced to watch a man enjoy a houseplant far too much. We don’t all suffer nightmares of abuse. But we have all had someone diminish us because of our gender. Oftentimes inadvertently.
The times we’ve walked into a board room for a meeting and were asked to get everyone coffee. The times we’ve been told we were being “too abrasive” when, in fact, those were leadership skills we were showing. The times when our husbands or male coworkers were given credit for our accomplishments, or the time a politician promised he had “binders full” of us. Throughout my career, I’ve heard so many stories from other women, I have a hard time believing anyone who wears a bra hasn’t, in some way, been devalued for it.
And until it gets Harvey bad, we tend to shrug it off. It’s the price we pay for being female.
I can recall covering the Columbine shootings. I was a green reporter back then, fresh out of college, with little life experience. But my cousins happened to attend the school, and my news director knew a scoop was a guarantee. Within minutes of the first bullets fired, I was in a satellite truck with a seasoned photographer, heading towards Littleton, Colorado.
After several hours of driving and then working the scene, we checked into our hotel exhausted. It was in the lobby he told me the hotel was full and we’d have to share a room. I knew this didn’t feel right, but I was 22, not even old enough to rent a car and drive to another hotel. It was after 1 a.m. and I didn’t feel comfortable calling my boss, or tattling on this photographer who had covered wars and won Emmys. I was there to prove myself. I eventually called my aunt and stayed with family, making up some lame excuse about getting a better story if I shared a roof with my cousins who had been at the school that day.
In the morning, we had a conference call with our news director. I mentioned I was staying with family and he wanted to know why. I told him I wasn’t comfortable sharing a room with my male coworker. His response went something like this: “Ha! He told you the hotel was full? That’s a pretty suave move. Can’t blame a guy for trying.”
I’ve often wondered what would have happened if my aunt hadn’t picked up the phone that night. If she hadn’t been up late consoling my cousins or willing to drive over and get me. There was one bed in that hotel room.
To be clear, I don’t believe every male is capable of this type of behavior. Or every boss is culpable when it happens. I have had male teachers, bosses, coworkers and friends who function just fine without belittling the women around them. Hopefully, this #MeToo madness will create more of them.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident, and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
The right wing attack on abortion access is plainly an attempt to dominate half the population, writes Amy Roberts.