Men on #MeToo: Two Denver Guys Share Their Thoughts
Broads. A landmark moment. No man has written for The Broadview. Ever. And as far we we’ve been concerned, things were gonna stay that way in perpetuity. Cause guys get enough space. In print. Online. At the podium. But sometimes, you gotta hear it from a dude.
We asked two to talk to us about #MeToo and to share their thoughts. Because aside from the increasingly common non-apology of perpetrators, we really aren’t hearing a lot from men when it comes to discussions of widespread sexual assault and harassment. If we are going to move forward in a collective just-threw-up-a-in-our-mouths-a-little reaction to harassment and on to shutting that shit down whenever and wherever it rears its power-abusing head, we have to work together.
Jon Ekstrom: Two Questions for You
The thing I cannot shake when I think about #MeToo is that even in the face of almost literally every woman any of us has ever known speaking up about dealing with sexual harassment and sexual assault, there’s still a subset of men who either deny this exists at all, or have to say something ridiculous and contemptible like “Not all men are like that, you know.” Jesus Christ, shut up. Of course not every man has sexually assaulted a woman, you horse’s ass, but that’s not the point.
The point is that we live in a society that allows tacit (or sometimes explicit) cover for that type of toxic behavior to flourish and persevere. In the spirit of getting men to think about #MeToo in a new way (without hijacking or co-opting this movement), here are two different #MeToo questions for men to consider, which I’ll also answer for myself:
1. Have you in some way contributed to, or failed to speak up against, a noxious culture that has outright victimized or, at the very least, harassed basically every woman that has ever lived? Yeah, #MeToo.
2. Now that we seem finally to be paying attention on a cultural level to treating women with the respect and equity they deserve, will you contribute positively and prevent the culture that allowed harassment and assault from perpetuating? Yes, #MeToo!
And call me out on my bullshit if I don’t.
Kevin Walker: Courageous Action and Accountability
As a father of 4-year-old twins, the #MeToo movement has particular relevance in my life. I not only applaud the brave (mostly) women who are telling their stories and exclaiming “enough is enough” but I boldly act as a strong and vocal ally in every way. These sheroes and their courageous actions have strengthened my resolve to demand for my daughter and my son a future that calls out and holds accountable every instance and every perpetrator of harassment, intimidation, marginalization, abuse of power, bullying, vulgar and inappropriate behavior and unwanted advances. Period!
These shameful and potentially illegal activities have no place in an advanced and civilized society, especially one that requires the best from all of us in order to solve the significant challenges that we face as the human race. For those who have been victimized, I apologize on behalf of a flawed and power-skewed society. To those who have been perpetrators, there is no place for you to hide anymore and, thankfully your days are numbered.
Kevin Walker is CEO and Co-founder of TurtleWise, Inc., a virtual mentoring platform for organizational cohorts and influencers. Kevin is a West Point and Wharton graduate as well as a Gulf War veteran.
Jon Ekstrom is a Principal at Denver-based communications consulting firm Deft Communications, the Host and Creator of the Jon of All Trades Podcast, Co-Founder of Mile High 100, husband, and father of two young girls.