First and foremost, I’m obviously not a woman. My experiences and outlook on life are completely different than that of a woman’s. But over the past few days or so, I noticed an interesting trend on social media. Countless women I know on my Facebook feed are writing their status as “Me Too”. Confused as to what they are reacting to, I did a quick google search and realized that it was a pretty big deal. #MeToo is going viral as it’s purpose is to spread awareness of women who have been sexually harassed. It goes without saying that seeing so many women on my Facebook post this status is not only alarming but honestly pretty upsetting.
Some men I know (and honestly my initial thoughts are included in this), one of my first reactions was that this kind of assault that happens to women I know, definitely happens to men as well. Why aren’t people spreading awareness about that? Then I quickly caught myself-that’s almost an entirely separate issue in its own with specific exception. By thinking saying that, it’s basically saying “all lives matter” which is used as a silencing tool for people who can’t actually accept that there is an actual issue going on. Realizing this, I understand the importance of a campaign like this. It’s hard to believe that this wouldn’t have stemmed from the Harvey Weinstein case that’s arisen in the last few weeks.
This doesn’t stem from any large budget marketing campaign, or creative advertisement, but the #MeToo trend effectively captures the essence of what the campaign is about-personal experience. Like I said, I’m not a woman. I don’t experience the world the same way a woman would, but seeing women I know, my friends, post this as their status shows that assault and harassment happens a lot more close to home than you’d think. But what men can do to respond to this is to accept that this is a massive issue. It’s an issue that affects people we know and love so it’s how we respond to a campaign like this is what will determine the outcome.
The campaign has reached notable like Alyssa Milano, Lady Gaga, Sophie Bush and more. From my perspective, the goal of the campaign should be to shift people’s perception of cases like this. We often speak of cases that say how many women were assaulted, not how many men did the assaulting. The power and magnitude of a campaign like this can change how we speak about issues like this. For all my boys out there, let’s not react to this negatively. Let’s listen to our female friends and understand where they are coming from and what our role is in the solution.
Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.