The #MeToo movement is the latest plea by and for women to empower themselves. There will be, and need to be, other movements. But women acting alone to empower themselves will not be nearly enough to right the wrongs of the past. Undoing centuries of entrapping roles and stereotypes requires more than women’s enlightened thinking and demonstrations. Men also need to break free of those stereotypes and see the light, to involve themselves beyond token yea-saying. Men need to hear themselves encourage and validate women as partners, in marriage, in families, in the workplaces and in all of society – partners who are equally capable, intelligent and productive.
The power men have assumed for themselves needs to be shared. Man and woman need not dominate or control one another. They need to respect and trust each other, experience a partnership that shares different and complementary strengths and work together to shape a better world.
We have yet to evolve to where all of the above is within reach. Our world is still barely adolescent. Fear and shame cripple our ability to love and accept; power and its abuse have become the currency of control. Earth itself and all its other creatures are evolving more steadily than we humans. Drugs, violence, guns, sexual abuse, wars, hatred and racism are the sludge of our existence. Our only hope is that these kinds of bitter realities will transform us over time, bringing beauty and maturity, helping good overcome evil. Men and women both, as partners in power and sensitivity need to enable that outcome.
We need to hold ourselves, individually and collectively, accountable for the aberrations that for centuries have plagued us. We can be better than history shows. The realization that “We” is stronger than “Me,” saying “No!” to whatever diminishes us is merely the beginning of change. #MeToo requires the involvement of everyone. Its voice needs the strength of the “We,” the honest and consistent support of both male and female, who believe that all are created equal and deserve to be treated equally. What women seek requires more than their own voices – and actions – to right the wrongs of history.
It is the doing that matters. Words like “support” and “respect” need to be activated by men hearing women’s plea. Men must take seriously their shouts for equal rights and freedom and help to make that happen if #WeToo truly adds its voice to theirs.