Two simple yet profound words that are blowing up social media. Two words that are blowing up people’s lives.
Two words that are inviting us to have a real conversation about the hyper sexualization of our culture, our struggle to enjoy our sexuality in a healthy way, and the devastating effects those two realities have on us _ particularly women.
Sadly, “Me Too” is so common that we all know multiple women who carry the pain of that phrase.
Equally sad: a backlash of hatred and blame has been unleashed.
For example, consider the treatment ESPN “Sunday NFL Countdown” host Sam Ponder is receiving on twitter for having the audacity to call out the sexual harassment she received years ago from the guys at Barstool Sports, who called her sexually derogatory names.
Just to boil this down and clarify: a professional woman who is accomplished in her field uses her voice to speak out concerning sexual harassment and she is harassed even further by the men who did it in the first place.
The result is that those men get a weekly show on ESPN2 and the network tells her to “stay strong.”
Men continue to exercise their power and get what they want at the expense of women. This adds insult to injury. No wonder women feel victimized, angry, and unsupported.
But “Me Too” isn’t just out there on the internet or in other people’s lives.
The whole topic has forced me to reflect on my own life as it relates to sexual harassment.
My past addiction to pornography contributed to the problem of “Me Too.” There is no way to escape the reality that my porn use added to the hyper sexualization of the culture.
While i was being inculturated more and more into a pornographic lifestyle, i was adding to the demand for more sexual material and my money enriched pornographers whose businesses thrived on objectifying women sexually while they shaped our understanding of what a man is entitled to when it comes to indulging his sexual appetites.
My porn use makes me partially culpable for the spate of “Me Too” statuses on social media and all the pain that underlies those two words in the lives of women who have had to suffer that indignity.
Women, i am deeply and profoundly sorry for my contribution. Please forgive me.
Unless and until we are ready to have the conversation about how the increasing pornification of our culture is involved in the heartbreaking tragedy signified by the movement of “Me Too,” we are bound to see history continue to repeat itself.
It is foolish to think that the male sexual entitlement of porn culture and Bro Culture is divorced from the reality of sexual harassment. Proponents of both porn culture and Bro Culture will argue there is no causal link, but all you have to do is observe the behavior of men who are influenced by those two cultural realities to see how they view women.
Men who have been heavy users of porn and now are trying to free themselves from its grip will also tell you: porn culture denies women dignity and feeds narcissistic tendencies in men who feel a need to satisfy their every sexual appetite.
i know because i have been one of those men, to my shame and embarrassment.
As i considered writing about “Me Too” given its rightful prominence in our culture recently, my first thought was that i would write as a victim, because i am. But the more i thought about it the more i realized that while i could write from that perspective, i actually need to write from the perspective of someone who unknowingly contributed to the problem.
My pornography use was wrong. My pornography use hurt women, real women.
Pornographers peddled their product to me and i was shaped by it to the point that i became a pornographer in terms of how i viewed and treated women. i became desensitized and i helped further an industry that made the world less safe for women.
In doing this i was a perpetrator although i never physically approached a woman. Many men have done this.
Some of us are fighting for freedom from this so that we, and the world, would be sexually healthy and women would feel safe and cherished as they should.