hashtag ME TOO resonates

By Steve Cichon
steve@buffalostories.com
@stevebuffalo

For most women, it has to be an awful combination of shattering and (hopefully, in some way) freeing to write “me too” in social media.

I know it’s shattering for me reading them. It’s shattering for me that people I love have been victims. It’s shattering that people I love have been aggressors.

Just like every other social justice issue that’s come to the forefront recently, it’s horrifically discomforting to the core. And it needs to stay that way.

Our natural human reaction is to somehow find a comfortable place to exist within something terrible, but men– you can’t do that with this. You just can’t. We can’t.

This isn’t going to change unless we all keep with us the pain, fear, disgust, and shame that every woman has ever felt with us.

Not being a dirtbag yourself isn’t enough. You’re being a dirtbag every time you smile at a story instead of saying it makes you sick.

You’re being a dirtbag when you agree that she’s a bitch and he was just kidding— when you know he wasn’t kidding, because you’ve watched him push to see how far he could go so many times before.

You’re a dirtbag if you still think of “that one friend” as some kind of undefeated, virile sexual conquistador hero– especially in light of reading stories in social media over the last week. You have to now know, without question, that he’s either a liar or a sexual predator (and probably both.)

Guys, if you imagine that your disapproval of some guy’s perverse story is met with him calling you “a pussy,” doesn’t that prove the point? Be someone who stands up when it isn’t easy.

I don’t have an answer, but being “sorry” and being “a good guy” yourself won’t end this.

Refuse to be comfortable with it. Don’t give a fist bump and laugh, even if it means you become the object of that sexual predator’s fury yourself.

Don’t “turn in your man card;” UPGRADE IT.

Being a man does not mean demeaning a woman or making a woman feel small through the exercise of your masculinity.

Be the person you hope would be there for your loved ones. Every time. No excuses.

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Steve Cichon

Steve Cichon is a proud Buffalonian helping the world experience the city he loves. The operator of Buffalo Stories Tours writes about the people, places, and ideas that make Buffalo special at blog.buffalostories.com and daily at buffalonews.com/history. The storyteller and historian has written six books, worn bow ties since the 80s, and spent 20 years working in Buffalo radio and TV, climbing his way to news director at WBEN Radio. Since then, he's been an adjunct professor and produced PBS documentaries. Steve's Buffalo roots run deep: all eight of his great-grandparents called Buffalo home, with his first ancestors arriving here in 1827.