Two of Our Editors Respond to #MeToo

In the wake of #MeToo, the Darling team has spent considerable time deciding what would be the most helpful way to respond. In the end, we’ve felt that the only way to do justice to the diversity of stories, experiences and gut-instincts that pop up is to simply share two of the many. Two of our own. Two that we hope others can find comfort in, draw courage from and hear championing a hope that culture can, will, must… change.

We believe it can.

FROM ZIZA, OUR DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL CONTENT:

I had been offline all day Sunday, thinking a day’s pause from social media would do me good to soak in the long weekend I had just spent in my favorite city.

Then Monday happened. One of the first messages I opened was, “How do we want to respond to #metoo?”

I drew a blank. What had I missed in one day? I quickly Googled. Ah. Yes, this. Of course we should comment. Absolutely, let’s shine the light on the rising voices amplified in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s deserved condemnation.

As I ruminated on the most helpful ways to respond, continuing to work but also scrolling through Instagram, #metoo grew louder. Stories shared, posted, applauded. The courage of women speaking out was evident… but something else was too.

I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. A pit in my stomach, an anchoring. Slowly it solidified and weighted down my thoughts to the point where I could think of nothing else. Like a scab scraped off with one scratch, there it was: Oh. Yes, that.

#metoo.

I hadn’t thought about it in years. I was eight. He was not. Though the details aren’t important to share here, they are details I still remember and carry with me now. Details that, for a young girl, made me feel powerless and trapped but also a strange new thing – desired. And ashamed by that desire. Details that I know went on for weeks, maybe months, but I now can’t access in my mind. Details that should not have happened. Details I thought I had healed from.

Details that also now, in the collective of #metoo, I somehow feel aren’t “terrible” enough to draw attention to. Maybe I’m not #metoo, after all? Maybe I should just forget those details ever happened and encourage those finding freedom in sharing theirs.

***

Mine is not everyone’s story, but I know my story has marks I wish it didn’t. I also know there are others who have a story that they are not ready to share. A story perhaps triggered by #metoo and maybe feel now even more alone than they did before. Even more silenced. Even more ashamed by an inability to put out there publically what they’ve experienced privately.

For some, staying silent isn’t condoning. It’s prioritizing the sanctity of their own inner space.

And so. I say this to you as I say it to myself: Your details are valid. There is no monopoly on bravery, whether demonstrated by a hashtag or spoken in the silence of a processing heart. If the internet suddenly feels like an unsafe space in light of #metoo, let it. It’s OK if you can’t be there right now. You’re not weak. You’re not un-empowered. You’re practicing what makes #metoo so important, what makes its essence a rallying cry for so many.

It’s the ability to say, “This is mine. I’ll share it when I’m ready.”

FROM TERESA, OUR MANAGING EDITOR:

“Me Too”

When my fingers hovered over the board of my computer, hesitant to add my voice to the many that were accruing interest on the internet, it wasn’t because I was concerned about the young women who would see it. It wasn’t because I was too concerned about the ones that rave against social media marketing and movements, because I think the damage is done, and we take less to the streets than to the airwaves and electrodes that drive our new digital world when we move in activism now. I didn’t mind that my most conservative friends might roll their eyes and move along. I knew that move would come from not understanding that the “me too” posted on the wall wasn’t a feisty hand in the air waving for militant feminist takeover, but more of a whisper of pain; a cautious first step forward.

It took more than I bargained in my brain to type those two words, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because I don’t have a Harvey Weinstein. I don’t have a man that everyone can turn to, and loathe, and blame and incite a riot against. I don’t have a leader that we long to see fall. I don’t have a villain that society is ready to incarcerate and place the collective angst for every mother, sister, daughter, friend, or lover who has been sexually assaulted on top of.

Don’t misunderstand what I am here saying: I believe that Mr Weinstein deserves the full extent of the law against him. It’s wild and unusual that the greatest punishment America leverages against him is to “throw him out of the Academy,” as though that will teach him. What about: actual, legal justice? What about, simply put him through a trial and make certain that it is fair and impartial? And then, naturally, he should be kept miles away from any young lady in or out of Hollywood for a good, long time.

Yet while “Hollywood’s worst kept secret” is now out for the public, the secret that seems to only just be breaking is that we all have our Harvey’s, and they aren’t long-standing, grossly wealthy industry moguls. You don’t need to have starred in an A-list picture to have survived a predator, assault, or molestation. You might be, as Emma Thompson recently put, “groped in the tube” in England, touched to the point of questioning your own sanity in a crowd, or—as my case would have it—kicking off a man who was sure that “all of the tension between us is just sexual.” Kicking him off for about 45 minutes.

“Me too” isn’t about a throng of angry woman trying to take over the world, just as—in my humble opinion—Black Lives Matter wasn’t meant as a demeaning, overthrow partisan team trying to tell the world that Jewish, Middle Eastern, European, Slavic, You Name It, lives don’t matter. These two little words are the words that I hope displace the other two. “Me too” should and can replace “Harvey Weinstein” because “Harvey” is one man, in one system, with one wife and one house, but “Me Too” is the flip side, the women in every home, in every system, with every kind of lifestyle, whispering to the unknown masses around her “please don’t hate me.”

We can choose, in the days ahead, to vilify and hate one man, or we can choose to turn towards, embrace, and care for billions of women. To do the first is simply the news of the month. To do the latter is the work of the ever-unfolding future. To hate one man, collectively, is a true but ultimately meaningless feat. To change the culture we are building on earth to love, respect and fight for women? That would be a honour I would love to share with every single one of you.

With love,

Teresa: one of the “me too.”

Feature Image via Katie Kopan

This post is brought to you by the Darling Team! To learn more about who we are, please visit our Meet Our Team page.

16 COMMENTS
  • Marie November 16, 2017

    I’m so glad I saw this article! Thank you, ladies, for sharing your stories; they’ve been a powerful inspiration to me in telling mine:

    I’ve always known about the abuse my own family heaped on me as a young child, yet was shocked into utter silence for years because the very people who were supposed to care for me failed, smothering me in their shame causing me to self-destruct in many ways over the years, only to be called a ‘spoiled brat.’ Even now, decades later, they say I deserved it and that it was my own fault, and that I should just pray harder and get over it. But they’re wrong; abuse is a life-long prison sentence and if left untreated, can manifest in many different ways, both good and bad. And it wasn’t just my family; there were others in prominent positions that stepped over the line and took advantage of my vulnerability, leaving me in total despair and wondering, why bother with living? Yet I kept pressing forward in blind hope that someday I would be whole, normal, and not this wounded, bleeding shell of a woman that I had become.

    So damn the naysayers who tell us ‘this happened decades ago, why come forward now?’ Back then, no one would have believed us, me, that it was just ‘normal family stuff’. Yet it has become more commonplace nowadays and more public, and women are becoming stronger and braver in coming forward and telling their stories, regardless of what the critics say. Change is long overdue.

    Thank you for a safe place to vent.

  • Rachel October 19, 2017

    No matter how many times people use the “your feelings are valid” argument, I find myself more and more lost in the question. Is what happened to me even sexual assault? But in reality I know it is. I know that it was well beyond the line a stranger should cross. Honestly, I don’t want to share my story but I’m scared that simply sharing #metoo will lead people to question my legitimacy. But then again, I haven’t been doing that to anyone else’s ‘#metoo’s. I don’t know. This is the first time I’m sharing these thoughts. Thank you for this blogpost <3

  • Isabella N. October 19, 2017

    Only in this era can I avoid social media for a long weekend and miss something this huge.
    Ziza, like you I have that feeling of reading something I missed, my mind whizzing. I immediately feel the pressure of knowing that what I have to say is valid but also knowing that I am so far from the words I need to process my scars. I have to filter what I read most days because honesty has become the policy on social media and it’s terrifying and for lack of a better word “triggering” (apart from is colloquial use of the word these days) I mean an honest trigger that lurches my stomach and has me running to the bathroom with nausea and dread because I can’t handle hearing the hurt other people have faced without thinking of my own hurt, the constant hum among my day-to-day. Your last paragraph though, it epitomizes the feeling. That as a writer it kills me not to be able to articulate what I am thinking but when I read all of this I have no words, it’s as if my situation confounds me and it’s beyond my understanding right now. And it does make me feel weak and it does make me feel once more as if the power to control my situation has slipped from my hands like sand. But I appreciate your words, “spoken in the silence of a processing heart.” And with shaky hands, I’m trying to write something to you, to thank you I guess because I can’t say nothing but I also can’t say something yet. I feel weak, yes, but at least I don’t feel alone.

  • Krystal October 19, 2017

    Thank you for this encouragement and exhortation. Of those who might feel “more silenced,” I am reminded of these who have also experienced sexual assault or sexual harrassment: men, too.

  • Madeline Williams October 19, 2017

    I am in awe right now at the timing of this article. I am in high school and yesterday I had an incident with a young male teacher that I addressed with my assistant principle. I want girls to know they don’t have to be ashamed and that it isn’t their fault. I was going to contact Darling Magazine today about writing an article about speaking up to sexual harassment and violation, but it seems that I don’t need to now. Your company inspires me everyday and I thoroughly enjoy reading your articles.\

    Thank you!

    • Teresa October 19, 2017

      Madeline, what heroic words. We keep you and the others like you in our minds always as we shape and write to you. Thank you for letting us in on your story.

      • Anonymous October 19, 2017

        Teresa,
        It is a pleasure to get a response from you and Darling Magazine. I am an aspiring writer and would love to work for Darling some day. It is so inspiring and empowering to read articles like these. Women’s rights is such an important matter and it’s amazing to see that women are coming together to change the world.

        • Madeline Williams October 19, 2017

          I apologize for not writing my name at the top of my comment. It is from Madeline Williams.

  • KTINKA October 19, 2017

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you for sharing. The #metoo movement is so brave and wonderful, and I’m so happy so many people are standing up to speak about it. Your words echo with me.

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  • Johanna Tropiano October 18, 2017

    Thanks for sharing Ziza and Teresa. Ziza, the second time I was abused, I was 12, and your words describe it perfectly, wanting to feel wanted and also ashamed because I knew it was sick. As always, I appreciate your voice (as in, your voices individually and Darling’s collectively. In solidarity, Jojo

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