In my experience working alongside people of all backgrounds, sexual identities, and places on the gender spectrum, I have learned to grow and be shaped by the ways in which individuals express themselves. From these friendships, I have heard frankly horrific tales of abuse and exploitation of these people who experience life through a different lens and in light of recent stories coming out of Hollywood, these stories are becoming the norm.
Harvey Weinstein, a producer from the movie making titan Miramax, has entered rehab for sexual addiction due to literally dozens of reports of sexual assault to rape coming in from around the world. The tales of his sexual addiction have been startling, causing many women across the country to post “me too” on their social media pages signifying that these actresses in Hollywood are not the only ones who have experienced sexually-charged discrimination in their lives.
While I went through my Facebook feed this weekend and witnessed the overwhelming amount of me toos flowing past my eyes, I began to reflect on what it means to be a heterosexual white man in a culture wherein being a heterosexual white man is the highest position of privilege imaginable. I thought about how the cultural zeitgeist favors protecting this privilege as opposed to shining light on the injustices done to those outside of privilege.
It is obvious that the example of Weinstein isn’t as uncommon as I’d like to think. So long as it is deemed okay for people to act in the ways that he’s done, obviously people are going to continue to perpetrate these crimes.
Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that we, those in positions of privilege begin to acknowledge that these injustices exist and that they must be deemed as inappropriate.
While these movements to shed light on sexual harassment are important for bringing it to an end, they won’t change much until people in positions of privilege are willing to relinquish that privilege to create a more equitable society. That means that us as men must begin calling out men and stopping them before these injustices are committed.