With an explosion of social media posts from all over the world hashtagging #metoo within the past few days, it’s hard not to pay attention. And that’s the hope. While it’s extremely saddening to see people -- people you know, women in your classes, men in your friend group, trans people in your community -- coming forward to discuss the situations they’ve been through, it’s also so critical to be able to see the weight of rape culture, sexual harassment/assault, and abuse in our communities. With this awareness, there is hope for change.
Among the people participating in this dialogue are some of our unproblematic faves. Lisa Prank, Seattle pop punk band comprised of Robin Edwards, tweeted on October 16th.
“Love to everyone who is retraumatized by #metoo & doesn’t wanna perform their
pain--you’re not obligated to, you’re not alone, & I feel you”
Edwards brings up an important point in all of this discussing and speaking up: it’s also okay to not speak up. Victims are not required to speak to anyone about their experiences, and they are certainly not required to compare them to other’s experiences. Some do not wish to air their private matters, and some simply cannot, due to whatever circumstances they exist within.
Last week, Twin Peaks made a long post on Instagram speaking directly towards men, urging them to do better. They referenced a comment from Jack Wagner, A.K.A. Versace Tamagotchi.
“ I think @versace_tamagotchi put it well recently, saying something along the lines of:
despite how close I could be with any friend, I don't know how they approach women; I don't
know how they hit on girls or how they act in intimate scenarios.”
They went on to let victims know that support is available for them, discuss “clarification of intent” and speak on communication within consent. The best thing about their post? They acknowledged their own faults. Using a simple statement like theirs, commenting on their failure to be a consistent “ally or most active participant in change” in the past, and speaking to men as “we” rather than “you,” they took responsibility for their contribution to a patriarchal society. Much better than pulling a #notallmen.
Another all-male group, SWMRS, didn’t speak directly about #metoo, but did tweet to their fans that they would help fix any uncomfortable situation at their shows. “If you ever need anything at all, you’re feeling unsafe or someone is touching you when you just want to enjoy the show, YOU HAVE OPTIONS,” they explained, stating that their crew is on standby and keeping an eye on the crowd.
#Metoo isn’t the first time celebrities have shown the spotlight on abuse. Not only have artists come forward to speak out against sexism, abuse, rape, and sexual assault, but some have come forward with their own experiences in the past. Kesha, for instance, sued her producer Dr. Luke in 2014 for sexual, physical, verbal, and emotional abuse. Sony would not terminate Kesha’s contract with Dr. Luke, showing their negligence towards the wellbeing of their artists and their complacency with abuse. Kesha is still battling Sony and Dr. Luke for the rights to her own music and release from her contract.
Representation is one of the most important aspects of media. For those who have faced abuse, seeing artists and role models who have walked that same path is empowering. Artists who choose to use their social standing as a platform for speaking on issues, like #metoo, are so respectable and can begin to cause a change in rape culture and the way our society functions.
However wonderful it is that these artists have spoken up, there are many more that have not raised their voices to condemn abusive behavior. Those who are not being oppressed need to be an ally and a voice for those who cannot speak up.
By Zoe Evans