Mothers are not only “Moms” they are wives, sisters, nieces, friends, bosses, and coworkers. And just because a woman is a mom, married and has kids doesn’t mean she’s invincible to sexual harassment or harassment of any kind.
Since Alyssa Milano’s #metoo campaign tweet, where she asked her followers to open up and share their personal stories on sexual harassment, many men across the country are thinking twice about flirting or treating women differently at work and in their personal time. It’s almost like everything that happens in the workplace is looked at through a magnifying glass, making many men think twice before asking a female coworker to lunch (even if it is innocent), and making men nervous about meeting with their female bosses alone behind closed doors.
It makes me wonder if all the liberals who made fun of Vice President Mike Pence for saying he doesn’t have dinner with a woman alone unless it’s with his wife, are eating their words? Perhaps the people on the left should be thanking Pence for being a darned good role model for men in the 20th century.
The Me Too campaign was originally created by a black woman, Tarana Burke, ten years ago in 2007 as a way to connect with survivors. Milano gave Burke credit for founding the “me too” wave and shared a link to Burke’s youth organization, Just Be Inc., where the mission is “the health, well-being, and wholeness of brown girls everywhere,” according to its website.
“It wasn’t built to be a viral campaign or a hashtag that is here today and forgotten tomorrow,” Burke told Ebony. “It was a catchphrase to be used from survivor to survivor to let folks know that they were not alone and that a movement for radical healing was happening and possible.” Thanks to Milano’s initial tweet that helped gain popularity around the world, the #metoo hashtag created more than 12 million Facebook posts, comments and reactions, and around 1.7 million tweets, reaching 85 countries, from Moms, daughters, and sisters around the world.
Even Hollywood men aren’t getting away with sexual misconduct any longer. The accusation list keeps growing including Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Kevin Friedman, and most recently Aziz Ansari.
Not only are women are coming out of the woodwork exposing men from Hollywood and the entertainment industry, but they are exposing both Democrat and Republican politicians like Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich, Texas GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold, Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va, Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. It seems as each week passes there are more allegations, making many men in authoritative positions shake in their boots wondering how to treat women at work and if they, too, could be the next one that’s served legal papers.
What’s going to become of the common workplace now? Author and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote in a recent post “I have already heard the rumblings of a backlash: This is why you shouldn’t hire women.” If Sandberg is right, we could see a shift in hiring trends. It’s unlikely this will happen because EEOC states “it is illegal to discriminate against someone (applicant or employee) because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity, sexual orientation, and pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information”.
Regardless of political sides and viewpoints, or the number of women blaming Republicans versus Democrats, it’s a movement that seems to be here to stay, making mothers and daughters around the world who have been treated unfairly at work, feel more supported and heard. No one has the right to assault or harass anyone at the workplace, regardless of their title, how much money they have in the bank, their perceived power and control, social influence, and their general popularity. A scumbag is a scumbag, and that’s all there is to it.
So what will the workplace look like for women in the future? Will men stop talking to women altogether, turning the workplace into a more segregated work society? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure, the movement is not over.