#MeToo is bringing up all sorts of stuff for women, myself included. I’m remembering my 20 something self and the harassment I received, thinking it was just part of life. Everyone gets grabbed at the club right? One of those awful moments was when I was in seminary, looking for an urban youth ministry job. During the interview process I was hit on by the guy I was looking to replace. I was young and he was very good looking and older with the job that I wanted. The double punch of power and sex.
But, like most women, I pressed on because that was not enough to stop me from my call. Now, as a single woman in often straight, married, male dominant spaces, I find myself overlooked, dismissed, or a threat of some sort to some. This comes with intersections of race, gender, marital status and a healthy dose of patriarchal theology. I say this because it is related to whether or not we see each other as equals or objects.
Thankfully I am tremendously blessed with a dad, brother, and uncles who raised me to reach beyond what I thought were limits. I have a healthy network of married and single male friends who support me and for whom I am grateful for every single day. My prayer is that we all have a good, healthy support base of both men and women.
For my nieces and the young women I have had the honor of mentoring or journeying with over the years: yes you are beautiful AND intelligent AND strong AND your worth goes far beyond how others treat you. May the #MeToo’s end so that your generation doesn’t have to experience the humiliating, violating, and unsafe spaces that the hashtag has uncovered. And to my nephews and the young men I have had the honor of mentoring or journeying with over the years: You are also beautiful AND strong AND intelligent and your worth goes far beyond whatever toxic ways we have taught you about what it means to “be a man”. We need to treat each other as more than objects to our personal means.