We live in a fucked up world. You know that as well do I.
It was only a few minutes ago when I cut ties with an individual who texted me a meme of a woman with an alarmed look. The first photo was with the slogan, “Mentos.” The second photo was a close up of photo one but now replaced with the slogan, “MENtos - triggered.”
At first, I’d asked the “gentleman” to stop reaching out as I found his meme and previous messages offensive. But then I wrapped up the message by telling him that he was being an asshole and was pissed because a woman was calling him out for being sexist.
A bit much?
Yeah, probably but it is also a situation that I felt was coming. For starters, if your friend is telling you that they find this or that offensive then maybe back off. No? Well, I think it’s flat out rude to keep egging on the offensive joke/comment/photo when asked repeatedly to stop.
To me, that is not a friend. Well, I guess he never was. And that's one of the reasons why we live in a fucked up world.
This is not some piece for bashing men, just to put it out there. Which I find sad because, in fact, I feel like nowadays if you are someone who supports movements such as MeToo and Time’s Up, then many people just assume that you are just a so-called bitter woman who got her heart broken and now hates men.
And this is coming from someone who grew up with a male relative who told me as a young girl that it was a “man’s world.”
At least that has been my experience. The sadder part is the stigmas that continue to be enforced by many people who pin women and men up, almost a competition on who has had it worse.
It is why I have brought up lately that many survivors do stay silent because it is VERY difficult and often painful and retraumatizing to share. I am one of the millions of people who have come from trauma, something that I have disclosed to a small circle; especially when it comes to pursuing my directorial debut film that deals with true aftermath of trauma, grief, and mental health including one character who is a sexual assault survivor and another woman character who is a survivor of childhood abuse and neglect.
These are important subjects and from the moment I experienced trauma, I made a promise to myself that one day I wanted to be a voice and help as best as I could without, to be honest, being a hypocrite. Especially in today’s world and working in the entertainment industry where the majority of people continue to turn their cheek to ongoing social matters.
That is where the problem is and has always begun.
The problem is the comments of calling survivors or anyone, in general, who is supportive of these social matters—let alone, survivors of abuse and trauma—liars, attention seekers, sluts, whores, drama queens, bitches, and the list goes on.
Whatever the case may be, these social matters should never fall on the shoulders of those who were or still ARE being physically and emotionally harmed due to the negative and cruel comments and acts. In a world where social media is sort of allowing others to peep into the thoughts that are roaming through our minds, I’d say that we do have a right to a freedom of speech. Yes, that I DO agree on.
However, the comments (those “liars, bitches, man hater, woman hater”) will be an inevitable act, no matter how many hours we put in and lose sleep over. Regardless, assholes are going to be in the world forever. That is a fact, at least something that I know myself is still coming to terms with. Hint - losing friends because I feel strongly about something, let alone feel that addressing a comment, joke or an act that bothers me is necessary. For the sake of my own feelings and for the sake of my niece and for her to grow up, knowing that you have EVERY MOTHERFUCKIN RIGHT to speak up if something is physically or emotionally harming you and to just follow your own beliefs, morals, and dreams.
That should be embraced more; if it does no physical or emotional harm to the self and to others.
So, if writing this piece makes me some “naive/bitch/bitter woman/stupid millennial,” then I can live on and be okay with that. But just know that many others cannot and therefore I will continue to do my best to be a voice, knowing that even talking about this can potentially cause me to lose more friends or piss off my colleagues and family or maybe even get me fired.
After all, I work in TV and film where it is notorious and controversial of some sort to even talk about people abusers like Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey and more. Or how about those who have abused their power like James Franco. Yes, I've met him because he was my teacher a few years ago. I thought he was professional to a degree (before many of my classmates and peers started sharing their own personal stories) but I just disagreed with a lot of his choices when it came to creativeness. Also, I used to look up to the guy. Yet, we are not supposed to talk about it as he has no way of ”defending” himself. I don't know about you, but I grew up knowing that abuse is not always physical but verbal, emotional, and mental. Especially if colleagues and friends of yours have been harmed by someone in the field, I am standing with them and their choices of speaking up or not speaking up at all.
The thing is survivors do not need to speak up because healing takes time. Healing is painful. Yes, many people in the industry have and still are abusing their power to manipulate the minds of others and up-and-comers that if you speak up or stand up for yourself, then you are stupid and annoying and ruining your career.
That is not okay. Nor ever will be.
Instead, get the help that is needed and if not, then shut up for once and sit there and listen to survivors of abuse, sexual harassment, and assault. They always have stories that they have been carrying with them. Stop assuming that they are lying.
Think before you speak, as I did before speaking up and addressing a matter that I felt goes against my own beliefs if I had stayed silent or not remotely hint to the other party that it is not okay with me.
I made a promise to my younger self that I would one day be a voice - of course with the proper tools as I am human too and, therefore, want to make sure that I am mentally ”okay” before helping another. And I know that after this, it is only the beginning and for the first time, I cannot wait.
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