There is a line in a movie, I think “Marathon Man”, that has stayed with me forever. Laurence Olivier asking Dustin Hoffman, “Is it safe….Is it safe….Is it safe….”
The last 2 posts have about misogyny in the movement have brought a flood of comments, stories and thoughts.
I think for many people the answer to the question is no.
I have heard people talk about having to quit jobs they feel like it is no longer safe for them to have. I have listened to people talk about fear for their physical safety. I have listened to people talk about nightmares. I have listened to people tell me they tell every female that wants to be part of this movement to be careful because many of the people they come into contact with will be dangerous. Many have just talked about the reality of exploitation, discrimination and being treated as if what they think, what they write, what they say is not as important or as serious because of their gender.
I have had people tell me everyone knows. One person told me that everyone also knew not to talk about it. Another person told me that wasn’t it. “You just have to live with it. Saying something about it really doesn’t change anything.” Several people told me that for them saying something had consequences and that if you wanted to be part of this movement you just had to be careful. Some people have told me it is long past time for people to say anything.
Several people have said that this movement has the same issues as the wider culture and while that didn’t excuse it it did explain why so many people seemed to feel like it was so prevalent.
Some people said that although gender was a major part of things it was far more than a question of gender. Personal injury, personal attack they said was common and widespread. Some people said you had to be careful who you disagreed with or how public you were about that disagreement. And some people you just didn’t talk to. Not if you wanted to be safe.
Many people in the last months have told me they had just decided to back off. It wasn’t they said worth it and first and foremost they needed to take care of themselves.
Perhaps I am wrong but I cant help but think that the ultimate impact of this movement has something to do with the cohesiveness of it (can we find connection amidst diversity) and although cohesiveness is more than one thing at least part of it is about how safe it is to identify with and try to become involved. To what degree do we do no harm?
If there is enough interest in the topic I would like to do a special series under that topic…”To do no harm.” Like I said above there are many ways to approach that topic. If you would be interested in doing a guest post on this subject I would be interested in hearing from you. I do not have a time table as of yet….perhaps 3 or 4 weeks. If there is an aspect of this topic that appeals to you I am very open on topic.
I want to thank the many people who cared enough to make some kind of comment or share something of their experience.
I look forward to hearing from you.