It has become ritual — turning on the morning news and hearing of the next powerful man to be accused and fall from sexual harassment allegations. I know you like to avoid the news and the bad in the world, but this is something that we really should discuss. It’s important to me as a woman, and it should be important to you too.
In my day, I think every adult woman was sexually harassed at some point. I was when I was subjected to some after-holiday-party-back-of-a-taxi gropes from a department boss. (He did sheepishly apologize for his behavior the following morning.) At dinner the other night with SEVEN of my girlfriends, I took an anecdotal poll, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM shared a harassment story. Why were we all so tolerant? Why was it okay? My friends and I all agreed — different culture and different times.
That was then. And this is now and things are changing. I am thrilled and exalted with the hope that you will live in an age that will allow you to be yourself. You should never be shamed for looking and acting like yourself, and weak men in positions of power should never be allowed to use that power to take advantage of anyone.
I do worry that this #MeToo movement will ruin romance. It may seem like I’m changing topics, but dating should encourage conversations about what is and is not acceptable between two people, and you will have to navigate the challenging issue of consent in your future. You get equal rights to call the shots in a relationship; that’s called mutual consent. If someone tries to manipulate you in any way, it is likely stemming from their lack of confidence.
Lastly, know that you can ALWAYS tell me anything at all. My most important role as your mother is to just be there—to listen, to help you feel safe to speak up and to just let you be you.
P.S. I hope when you’re my age, and out for dinner with your girlfriends, the conversation will be about #WeAreEqual.