“Never be daunted”
The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
Changing Cultural Context Gives Rise to #MeToo
The issues of #MeToo campaign are as old as the world, and they are not only women’s issues. They are broader than just an uprising against those power men who believe sexual misconduct is their birthright. They also have deep roots in society’s establishment. Let’s consider the breadth and depth that brought about #MeToo, to find out the next step for tangible changes.
A lifetime fan of Ernest Hemingway, I remember how as early as in 1926, in The Sun Also Rises, he verbalized massive problems distressing people who felt their lives had no purpose or substance, and later, those people were called the “lost generation.” Life did not change much since then with respect to women. Indeed, today’s women of substance feel distressed about the glass ceiling as well as widespread, habitual harassment in the workplace which robs them of purpose in their careers. The breadth of this ever-lasting societal condition gave rise to #MeToo, or at least this is my vision.
Another supporting societal disorder that brought about #MeToo comes from the traditionally-wired brains believing that women’s sacrifices and humiliations are acceptable parts of reality: women must do more and pay more to get what men get easier. This seems to be a law of the land wherever we go. Even Hemingway admitted that “the woman pays and pays and pays.” How did things change since that time, 90 years after?
Habitual-Harassment Mentality in Modern Time
When recently modern women objected to paying “for everything that was any good” by allowing the power men to sexually harass or grope them, the silent majority pretended not to hear, for years. Even legendary Bette Midler publicly revealing in an interview to a prominent TV journalist Barbara Walters that Geraldo Rivera, another famous journalist, drugged and groped her went unnoticed back in 1991. Although Barbara Walters, a renowned journalist, was shocked to hear about it, she didn’t dare to follow up on that. But this kind of inattention does not happen anymore. On the contrary, Salma Hayek, a star actress and producer, has been approached by media several times, with requests to share her experiences with sexual harassment—and she did.
The fresh feminist wave opposing sexual misconduct, #MeToo, has swept many predatory personalities off their chairs. The main result is broad understanding that men-in-power entitlements to sexual misconduct are no rock. We saw the careers of mighty Harvey Weinstein, Senator Al Franken, NBC’s Matt Lauer, and others go down like houses of cards. This emboldened President Trump’s accusers too.
Clearly, the stale habitual-harassment mentality started giving way. Let’s hope it’ll go bankrupt in our lifetime. According to Hemingway, bankruptcy happens in two ways: “Gradually, then suddenly” – and I hope this applies to stale mentality as well.
The snowballing progress of women’s protests is amazing; day after day, it brings about a gradual bankruptcy of habitual-harassment mentality happening right in front of our eyes. The public support is swelling, however gradually. We need to take care that it wouldn’t stumble or get stuck. Why? Because the key question of the modern time is, “Can we use the momentum created in 2017 and trigger the sudden bankruptcy of habitual-harassment mentality in a cultural context of today?”
This should be on the mind of every independent-thinking woman: ultimately, we need to shift mentality to a more pro-women-equality state of mind—to take effect sooner rather than later. And we need to never be daunted, if not for our own sake, then for the sake of our children (pictured, you can see Maggie and Anna, my granddaughters). I love to think that I work for all little girls to be happy in 2018 and beyond!