First, let me say that I am so over-the-moon-excited to see this new movement coming to life. As sad as I am that this movement has to even exist, I am so proud of every single woman that is using their voice to rip down the veil of shame, confusion and fear that I'm quite sure was hanging like a suit of armor for longer than they can remember. Second, if you are one of the unlucky that falls under this hashtag umbrella, but you, for whatever reason, cannot speak up, or simply do not want to, we got your back. You feel what you want to feel. You say what you want to say or do not say what you can't say. Just know that those of us speaking up are right here and we're speaking for you and with you.
So yes, I am now joining the millions of women that can lay claim to this hashtag (as well as France's version, #BalanceTonPorc, meaning "Expose Your Pig". Way to use your words my French sisters!) and I'm quite sure that does not surprise any of you reading this. For one, I have a blog. Enough said about that. For two, I'm female. Enough said about that. If you're the latter, I can't imagine you don't have at least one story to tell, but more likely so many you've forgotten most.
As much as I'd like to write a 10 page article on this, I just don't have to. My audience that is reading this knows that there is just nothing I can say that they don't already know because they've experienced it just as much as I have. So, I decided on a small list of #metoo that I know most women can identify with and that I can actually remember. In no particular order:
When a previous boss asked me to show him my thong at work.
When a man screamed 1 inch from my face that I was a cunt and a bitch because I wouldn't give him my phone number while dancing at a club.
When I've been groped more times than I can count at concerts and clubs.
When men would come up behind me and put their hands all over me as I was dancing and shove their hips and penis into my back as they shoved their disgusting lips onto my throat at the same time.
When my friends and I had to ask a group of men to walk us to our car because another group of men planned to attack us as we left a club.
When a friend of my older brother crawled into bed with me drunk, pulled out his penis and put my hand on it and began trying to move my hand up and down. I was 14.
When a male bartender drugged me at a bar. Thank goodness for my girl possy.
When a previous boss thought it was appropriate to hug me every chance he got.
When I ran into a postman that delivered our mail when I was a teenager, as he told me that he used to go home and masturbate after seeing me on his delivery route in my yard sunbathing in a bikini. I was 21 when I ran into him. He was in his mid-40's. Best part? He mimicked the act of masturbation as he told me this story.
When asking a potential boss if I could have an unpaid internship at his business, and telling him I would do anything he needed and that I'd be a slave worker, after hiring me he repeatedly called me into his office to tell me all the ways I could be his slave. Go ahead--tell me that's my fault, fucker. I'm waiting.
When at a wedding photographing, a groomsmen licked my neck after I turned my head at an unwanted attempt at a kiss.
When a male guest at a wedding I was photographing stuck his entire hand down the inside of the back of my pants to grab my ass when I stood up on a chair to capture a photograph of the full dance floor.
When men working in the kitchens of restaurants I served in just couldn't let me come pick up my damn food without yelling out gross sexual comments about all the things they would do to me in bed if only I'd give them a chance.
When I've felt so intimidated that I've had to cross the street or walk in the complete opposite direction than where I was heading because a man or group of men were leering at me or catcalling.
When I receive disgusting phone calls from men disguising themselves as potential buyers for gift certificates for their wives and shortly into the conversation they begin asking me sexual questions about myself.
When I receive disgusting and/or suggestive private messages from men on Facebook, which is why I now cannot accept any friend requests from any men that I do not know. Thanks assholes.
When a co-worker, a week after I slept with him, pushed me full force down onto the ground because, apparently, he was finished with me. I heard later that there was another woman at the party that night he wanted to be with and I was getting in the way.
When I would receive late night phone calls from pilots or when pilots would try to touch me when I was a flight attendant.
When walking out of a restaurant, waiting for my valeted car to be brought to me, an older male restaurant guest outside smoking asked me if my carpet matched my red curtains. For those of you unaware of this comment, he was asking me if my pubic hair was the same color red as the hair on my head.
And finally, when I was getting some exercise and speed walking to the post office in a v-neck shirt and a truck almost screeched to a stop as the man driving pointed at me so that he and his friend could leer at me because, as I saw in the post office window as I walked to the door, my boobs were jiggling as I walked. That was yesterday.
And on. And on. And on. And on. And on it goes.
One good thing that came out of any of this is the long progression of strength that continually built up inside of me and became my shield. I'm one tough cookie, my dears. Another good thing I believe came from all of this was and is the burning desire to create and perpetuate a bond of sisterhood with every woman I come into contact with. I'm quite sure it is a part of the foundation of why I do what I do now for a living.
To a lot of people peering in without taking the time to really stay for a while, I just take sexy photos of women. But to the women that have experienced what I do...well...that's a different story. Yes, my job is to capture beautiful, timeless and sexy photographs of you for you, but the underlying benefit that comes with that is the chance to continue or begin to believe in yourself and claim your given right to own your self. There's power in the walls of my studio and I am so thrilled every time I see a woman look at herself and see what I see. It's a mighty, mighty thing.
So.... #strong #youwontholdmedown #fightback #speakup #thisvaginabitesback #hellhathnofury #womanstrong #youwontbeatus #sisters
Please feel free to leave your #metoo stories in the comments section. My goal is to get as many as we can, just like every other woman that has a public platform is doing, so that our voices simply cannot be ignored. Leave one, leave a few, leave a bucket full.