So, I just had a very powerful talk with my father about the #TimesUp movement, and I thought it would be interesting to give readers insight on the dynamics of a conversation about a controversial topic between two polar opposites such as him and I. Just to give you a little background info before diving into this story, my father is a conservative Christian republican, who always quoted the bible while I was growing up while discussing any, and all topics. Must I even include who he voted for in the most recent presidential election? I rather not. A few years ago he married an educated, free-spirited, worldly and kind Brazilian woman who showed him that life is better lived with a more open mind. His values remain the same, but to put it simply, he’s way cooler now :) But don’t get me wrong, he’s always been the perfect gentleman! He’s very kind and caring, very respectful and humble, all about family and community, and never, ever raises his voice. He’s the epitome of calm cool and collected. So, to get back to my story about our conversation, it started out with both of us agreeing with the power and positivity of this movement, but it wasn’t long before the dangers of the slippery slope potential of it was brought up. He said that in some ways he thinks there’s a lot of women out there who are taking advantage of the movement. I told him, while I do agree, and I have thought this myself, I must stop you there. I said, I too have been sexually harassed, many times, in many ways, some more harsh and blatant than others, but I would never consider myself a victim, out of respect for the women who truly are victims, who really have been raped or violated in some way, and precisely to not abuse of the power of this positive movement. I also said, when a change this big comes, it’s never clean, its never perfectly executed, and there will always be loose ends. There will always be people who take advantage of a situation or of others, but TIMES UP for men who take advantage of women sexually in the work place. And if the price we have to pay for their time to be up is having some women with low morals take advantage of the situation, then so be it, because men have been taking advantage of us for far too long. He agreed and respectfully gave some examples of the danger of women taking advantage of the situation, (side note: my dad and I always have passionate debates about controversial topics because I’m very liberal, so we enjoy hearing each other’s contrasting opinion with an open mind) and as he continued, I thought of the perfect example, which put his concerns to rest. I told him that a few days ago, when the whole H&M “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle” controversy was going on, I was FaceTiming my fiancé while he was hanging out with one of his best friends. This friend of his, TJ, is super chill, educated, polite, very smart, and he’s half African and half German (as you read on you’ll understand why I even bring this last point up). TJ and I also enjoy debating with one another because we both know how to bring up educated opposing points that allow us to widen our perspectives. He went on to ask me what my thoughts were on the H&M controversy. Without hesitation I said, I really think it’s all a publicity stunt. There’s no way not one person within the entire team it took to produce that photoshoot didn’t think for one second about how someone might interpret what was going on. Additionally, a lot of unethical people believe all publicity is good publicity, regardless of the harm it could do. TJ agreed. I went on saying, on top of that, I just read somewhere that they’re about to drop a new line, coincidentally around the same time this huge controversy just flooded the internet. But beyond that, with all due respect, why is this issue even about race? Why make the word “monkey” racist? Would it be racist if a little white boy was wearing it? Probably not, so I’m really not understanding why this is even a race issue. He immediately told me to stop right there. He said he had to disagree. He said, “I’ve never been offended by people saying nigga this nigga that, even if it was a white person hispanic or black. I got better things to worry about, but MONKEY?! THAT’S NOT COOL! Any black person will tell you that’s offensive! We have always been told we (black people) look like monkeys, so that’s different.” In that moment, I FELT the definition of white privilege deep inside me. In that moment, I knew exactly what that term meant. I felt so ashamed of myself in that moment all I could say was, “Wow. That was so ignorant of me. Because of my race, I never understood the pain that word could carry.” This was the example I gave my dad during our Time’s Up discussion. Because he is a man, it’s so much easier for him to focus on the dangers of the slippery slope of women taking advantage, (because we have to admit that there is truth behind that: it is a shitty thing to do to open the doors so widely that some women can take advantage of a positive change for the sake of attention, at the cost of a persons entire reputation, while at the same time disrespecting the pain of an actual victim) but it’s a way cheaper price to pay than to continue paying the price of women living in silence and unethical crippling discomfort while men in power continue to abuse their status and sexually harass their coworkers. #TimesUp fuckers.
Disclaimer, this is not a newspaper article or history book excerpt, so if I don't sound politically correct, please excuse me as my intent is only to shed light on a dark problem and promote awareness and love.
I'm sure I will always think of things to add or adjust to better explain myself, so if I waited to publish this until the moment I thought it was perfect, it would never happen, so here it is.