As public outrage over Harvey Weinstein’s horrible behavior continues in news cycles, a parallel internet campaign called #MeToo surfaced recently. “Me too” counts regular women living outside of Hollywood who are calling attention to their personal experiences with sexual abuse or harassment, no matter where those instances may have occurred.
Their numbers, now in the millions, are equally disturbing to the numbers of women coming forth to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct.
But there is something more disturbing than the high numbers of the “Me too” campaign or of an old, powerful and wealthy man assaulting women. What is really bothersome is something no one seems to notice: We are training men and boys to sexually misbehave.
Every media form — magazines, the internet, music, movies, sitcoms, you name them — grossly distorts human sexuality and sexual behavior, particularly as these relate to women and children. Sexual objectification of women and children has become so much the norm that we don't even see the blatant hypocrisy going on here.
We cannot be a culture that embraces the sexual objectification of women and children and scream when men sexually abuse them. We either believe that one's sexuality deserves protection and respect — or we don't. Americans have fought hard to make sexual activity with any person at any time acceptable; in fact, we feel it is an American right. Men believe they should be able to be sexually active with one man, one woman, two women and one man — and there are even those who advocate sex with children.
Women want the right to exploit their bodies publicly and engage in sexual activity with whomever they choose whenever they choose as long as they make the choice to do so. And children grow up in America seeing sexual exploitation as part of our normal social landscape.
The great irony here is that we Americans cannot have it both ways. We can no longer live in a society where sexual boundaries should not exist — then demand that those phantom boundaries not be crossed when we don't want them crossed. This is insanity. The chicken has come home to roost, and we are outraged that men can behave so horribly, as if they never had desires to do so a generation or two ago.
Come on! Men (and women) have always struggled with power, sexual urges and self-control, and to create a culture that advocates no limits when it comes to sex, knowing of human struggles, is lunacy. Truly, we have normalized crazy.
Do we really believe it's fine for our sons, husbands, fathers and male friends to view soft pornography day after day?
Actors and the Hollywood ilk are the first to be blamed for the chaos. They produce films exploiting women and children (and men, too, but they don't scream loud when they are violated) — then those same folks scream when they are hurt in real life. The hypocrisy hits us over the head while few seem to recognize it. Physicians have seen it for years because we are forced to deal with the reality of depression, disease and infertility in women and children, for the sake of Hollywood's "art."
When will we women stand up for what is really right and denounce the soft pornography winding its way into PG-13 movies, which now, by the way, allow the "F" word and showing of women's bare breasts and hundreds of other media forms treating sex and sexuality as banal? Do we really believe that it's fine for our sons, husbands, fathers, and male friends to view soft pornography day after day and not be affected by it? Let's not be stupid.
Our children and grandchildren deserve for each one of us to make clear and rational arguments in order to protect them and the next batch of women who will come forward claiming "me too" regarding sexual abuse. Sitting by accepting and watching pornography (anyone seeing or reading "Fifty Shades of Grey"?) in our living rooms, on our laptops and cellphones, and in movie theaters, and then crying foul when abuse occurs is an act of confusion at best — and weakness at its worst.
The time for us women to use our real strength and teach our children that indeed sexual boundaries should exist and further teach them what those boundaries are is long overdue. I, for one, will continue to teach my patients, children and grandchildren that sexual exploitation of any woman or child in media or real life is wrong.
Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for more than 30 years. She is the author of the new book "Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need" (Regnery Publishing, May 2017), as well as a number of digital parenting resources and online courses, including The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids.
Last Modified: October 31, 2017, 7:52 am