THIS IS WHAT'S UP WITH #METOO
We live in a society where rape culture is promoted and sexual abuse and assault is constantly framed as something girls and women experience rather than something that BOYS AND MEN DO. This is peak hetero-patriarchy and demonstrates how protected boys and men--abusers, harassers, molesters, and rapists--are in society. But part of shoring up power for sexual predators is also reliant on framing sexual violence along the cis-gender binary. This has damaging effects on women who are passively instructed by this narration to internalize sexual violence as an inevitable possibility and condition of womanhood. But, this has several effects that are worth noting and calling them out isn't about diminishing the ways women are disproportionate victims of sexual violence but about better understanding the scale and scope of sexual violence that boys and men do.
In the wake of the "me too" campaign, you see many gay/queer men, femme, genderqueer and non-binary individuals also participating and announcing their "me too." To me, this isn't some all-lives-matter-like-detraction. It is showing the nuance of hetero-patriarchy, rape culture, and toxic masculinity. Almost across the board, the queer men that I have dated and genderqueer individuals I count amongst my peers have been victims of sexual abuse and violence. (I also want to note that I am also almost across the board referring to people of color.) The repression and silencing of this sexual violence has severely damaging effects on gay/queer men, femmes, genderqueer and non-binary individuals. For example, many of us live struggling to understand our selves and feeling we can never cohere, oftentimes wondering if our gender and sexual identities are what made us targets or if our gender and sexual identities are just a by-product and the result of the sexual violence we endured. On the other hand, the silence and repression of this violence only shores up benefits for men that rape who never have to confront their queer desires and transgressions and get to go on living, not only free of consequence, but with their cis-, male-, and hetero-patriarchal privilege and identities intact.
I understand why so many gay/queer men or genderqueer and non-binary individuals are eager to share their "me too's" right now. I understand why my newsfeed is full of so many women who are asserting their "me too's." I have seen the girls and women in my family get to a point where they were eager to disclose their shared experiences of sexual abuse and violence and acknowledge and recognize each other while sexual abusers went on being protected. I, also, was proud of myself to speak on my abuse and assault with the women in my life and commiserate on our "me too" moment.
But this points to a larger issue. In a world where rape culture and toxic masculinity doesn't ever mean confronting perpetuators of it, the survivors of it learn there can be no proper larger systemic redress and so they are left to settle and seek acknowledgement and recognition for what they've survived or refuse to be shamed into silence. I do hope that if this "me too" moment provides us all a moment of recognition that then it also serve as the point of departure for moving beyond acknowledgement and mobilizing toward dismantling a system that supports molesters and rapists and providing real systems of support and healing beyond empowering virtual networks.