When the names were mentioned in the news, I looked down on “those women,” even if unconsciously, like I once did on the names Anita Hill, Monica Lewinsky…
What were these women thinking, cozying up to these kind of men, I thought.
I had the same initial feeling about the name: Jessica Leeds. (Tawdry, right?) Until I heard her speak and saw her face.
She’s smart. She’s matter-of-fact. She’s strong.
(She’s like me. Who I aspire to be.)
She didn’t even know Donald Trump.
He was a seatmate on a flight a long time ago.
I had a similar experience in a public setting, though not nearly as intense or offensive or violating. (I’ve diminished it as much as I can to ignore it but it insists on attention nonetheless.)
Now that I’ve spoken out to the organization where it took place, more than 300 miles away, 3 years ago, I feel even more vulnerable and uncomfortable.
They’re coming to meet me.
I don’t want to be met.
I want to run the other way.
My body already has.
Headaches. Dizziness. Nauseau. Swollen eyes. Depression. Fatigue. Sleeplessness.
I was brave for other women, for the world, for me, but I fear drawing attention, being the center of it.
I fear being marginalized. Shamed. Ridiculed. Rejected.
Judged, dismissed, further denigrated.
I fear inconveniencing others.
(this fear is absurdly big)
I fear the impact my telling might have on others, on protocol, on policy. I fear the distraction of fall out. I fear being blamed for the fallout while nothing changes.
I fear what might happen to him, because of me.
Because I was willing to tell.
When others did what was expected. Nothing.
And it really was small. Really.
(And offensive, and denigrating, and refuses to quiet itself.)
Women are supportive, to a point, but we all know the cost of aligning ourselves with “those women.”
When Trump says, “Look at her… THAT would not be my first choice…” what he is saying is this:
If a man leers at you, jeers at you, touches you, then you are “something” because “we” have found you worthy of leering, jeering, assaulting.
So you better shut up, or you’ll be one of “them…”
…the ugly ones, the old ones, the crazy, overly emotional/sensitive/victimy #metoo ones who don’t get a joke or a flirtation, who hate men, who make a big deal out of something so small, who have no perspective on the “real” problems in the world (as if bodily sovereignty isn’t at the heart of dignity.)
What is wrong with you?
Why can’t you just be quiet like everyone else!
If you were quiet, if women were quiet, if all those marginalized/victimized were quiet, the world will be a better place, a happier place, a more stable place.
Let’s make it great again.
Get along. Smile. You’re so beautiful when you smile.
So ugly/scary/unwelcome/unwanted when you’re fierce
(unless you’re on a screen, barely clad, ready for consumption.)
Click here for I Told, Part II.