For a moment, social media became a tool to unite and for women to finally show the gravity of rape culture. The #MeToo hashtag, despite the issue that people didn’t acknowledge properly the black female activist who started it, encouraged women to publicly decry the many ways sexual abuse and assault happens. It’s not just about rape or physical advances, it’s in the throwaway sentences and comments. It doesn’t just happen to older women in clubs, but to young girls in the park.
But I guess a few people just don’t get the message. A few men had the very first impulse to make fun of the hashtag and to twist it further to prove their misogyny. One example that hits close to home is Franco Mabanta, who came under fire for his use of #MeToo to make fun of a woman for her looks.
Sure, he’s issued an initial apology as of writing. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that this mentality is so ingrained in society. Women are talking about rape, about their most traumatic experiences in life, about how they live in fear and you still thought it was in good taste to make the whole situation just a joke? Before your fingers hit the keyboard, I’d like to believe there’s a little thought process that goes into it. “Is this post funny or does it make fun of people for traumatic situations and forward rape culture?” It’s a pretty standard question, doesn’t take that many brain cells.
The irony of how men making fun of the #MeToo hashtag further validates the point the campaign was making. Women’s suffering is taken lightly and doubted upon. One netizen on Twitter used the usual “Women are just conniving and using their sex to manipulate others” scenario with this tweet.
Half of these women are faking it for attention and to cash in on a fad #MeToo
— Marshall Scott Reese (@marshallsreese) October 20, 2017
It’s common that when women speak about abuse, they are accused of having ulterior motives other than just seeking justice. They are shamed for two things: 1. for letting the assault happen to them and 2. for talking about it in public, potentially damaging the assailant’s life. This is why in this rape culture, silence is the enemy. Women are shamed into it because despite being the victim, they have the burden of keeping everything okay. How dare we talk about being assaulted, didn’t we think of the consequences of our actions?
Other men have also used the #MeToo to even be proud of their abusive ways.
If you’re the type who makes fun of people’s pain, do know you’re exactly part of the problem that needs to be eradicated. If you’re proud of beating women up, of sexually abusing them, of catcalling, and so on, there is something seriously wrong with you. No ifs or buts.
There’s also the use of the “men get abused too” argument. #MeToo is free to use to talk about how rape culture affects both men and women. It’s not a device to prove how feminists are against men. Feminism isn’t a man-hunt, stop living in the medieval times.
Such logic is also another device used to promote rape culture. By making it seem that women speaking out against abuse is an attack against men, it enforces a divide between the sexes. This is not about men vs. women, it’s us against internalized violence. Repeat that 100x or until it sinks in.
Art by Lara Intong
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