You’ve probably read the two words ‚Me too.‘ in many posts of women during the past few days.
This all was started a few days ago by Alyssa Milano’s simple tweet with these two words, and it hit the world with a great impact.
The actress wrote: „If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.“
She got the idea from a friend: „If all women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‚Me too.‘ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.“
What happened next is really sad: her tweet went viral, and countless women from all over the world started to write ‚me too‘ in their status, sharing their unbelievable stories of sexual harassment online with others.
And here I go, saying ‚Me too.‘ with today’s blogpost.
I might be one of the lucky ones, because nothing really seriously bad has ever happened to me so far, but there did happen enough stuff to make me speak up today.
I’m saying ‚Me too‘, because I stopped counting the incidents when I’ve been cat called, sexually harassed or talked to in a very disgusting, dirty way a long time ago.
A problem of our society
Secretly, most people know that ‚It happens a lot.‘
Many women stay silent – also me so far – because it’s humiliating and feels embarrassing to talk about it. It makes us women seem weak or feel like a victim. So we all stayed silent for too long, and men who are doing these things to women just can keep on doing what they’re doing, and unknowingly think that they are even allowed to. I personally don’t even know one single woman who hasn’t at least been talked to in a unpleasant way by men.
I read it all over the internet lately. In the online status of my friends. I hear people talk about it. Women everywhere are being harassed all the time. And those men who do it simply don’t even seem to notice their false behavior.
This is a serious topic that’s also been very ‚hush‘ and suppressed for too long – and once women speak up against it, they are often seen as feminists or men-haters – which surely isn’t true.
When did our society accept to live like that?
When did those men start to think or decide that it’s okay to do what they’re doing?
And when did women decide to be okay with it all?
I can’t see one single reason to just accept that it ‚happens a lot‘ any longer.
Let me share some of my me too stories with you that still make me sick to my stomach:
- Let’s start with the ‚regular‘ stuff: the countless times men have touched my lady parts ‚accidentally‘ – or not – in bars or clubs (who often were drunk, too). Or who even rubbed themselves against my backside before I even had seen their face.
- Let’s go on with this one guy who touched my arm and asked me if I want to go downstairs to the restroom with him before even saying ‚hi‘ when I was just entering a bar.
- Or this other guy (the singer of a band) who came up to me and who wanted to come with me to my car after his show to ‚do stuff‘ before he even asked for my name.
- On my way home from elementary school, there was this man standing in the middle of the sidewalk, swinging around his naked genitals in front of us children.
- A teacher at school who called me ‚kitty cat‘ several times, although I told him that I don’t like it when he does it. He was 4 times my age.
- When I was 14 years old and walked down a street in Munich, a guy yelled over to me from the other side and asked ‚How much?‘. My mom and some other girls were right beside me.
- The several images of naked manly bits that I received in online messages from strangers without me asking for it.
I. Just. Don’t. Want. To. See. Your. Stuff.
- I already told you about the my experience in the modeling business in my last post when I opened up to you why I said no to the big modeling industry. Well, in fact, there have been many more reasons that made me not want to do it. One more reason for example was that some of the people in power that I met came up to me during a public event, breathing against my neck, whispering that I should better come with them to the private pool party which would be ‚beneficial‘ for my career.
There are also designers out there wo ‚cast‘ their models by having sex with them, otherwise they won’t get the job. This didn’t happen to me, but I heard some of them brag about it.
And just for the record: surely isn’t the whole industry like that, but there are always black sheep like in any other industry, and I sadly happened to run into a few of them. Of course, those models who agree to do it are doing it voluntarily (and supposedly for their career), but does this make the offer okay?
- The next incident happened in Berlin during Fashion week with Isabelle Gloria a few years ago. We went back to where we were staying by the tramway late at night, and we sat across two men who clearly checked us out all the time with dark, lustful and undressing looks, talking to each other, whispering, and who even parted after a while to stand in our way, one on the left side, one on the right. They were clearly planning something, and we still don’t want to imagine what it was. This might sound a bit paranoid, but energy never lies, and this was clearly a serious and dangerous situation we were in, and with every station that went by, more people left the tram and we became more and more alone and anxious, and didn’t know what to do. I guess we secretly hoped for them to leave, but they didn’t. We had to drive until the last stop, so we tried to stay and seem calm, but inside we were panicking. Lastly there was noone left whom we could have asked for any help. Without words Isabelle and I had the same plan, maybe because our minds are so very connected to each other, and maybe because it was our only chance. So we got off the train the stop before ours on an empty station, and the guys left the train, too. They walked in front of us and stopped to wait until we went past them, but before we would do that, we stopped, too, and I pretended to search for something in my handbag. Endless seconds went by and they were waiting for us in a little distance. When we finally heard the signal that the doors of the train were closing, we ran and jumped through the small slot of the closing doors, and we finally got away from them.
I still can’t breathe while writing this, because it was such a terrible experience. We were just so lucky that time.
And the list goes on. This whole topic isn’t even just only a gender thing. Women can be pretty pushy towards other women, too. Believe me, I know, as I’ve experienced that as well.
Don’t blame it on the clothes
Someone who says „Yes it’s reasonable – just look at you and how you dress yourself“ deserves a punch in the face. I’m sorry, but by all means – he or she does.
And it is under no circumstance okay for anyone to say „But she was asking for it by wearing these clothes and makeup.“
Let me be very clear: NO WOMAN EVER asked for it to be harassed, offended, or even worse raped. No woman ever wants or wanted to be a victim.
This isn’t about looks or clothes or makeup. This is about a problem, that most people deny to see. It’s about the wrong education of a whole society, about manners and lacking respect for other human beings.
And still, how can it get any easier for us when, for example, you turn on the radio, and so many of the nonsense lyrics are about ‘bitches’, nakedness, and sex.
Living as a woman
Living as a woman can be pretty hard, as you see.
Often, when we take photos for the blog, we don’t want to be near people. We just want to do our job: to dress up and take our photos, because this is what we truly love to do. Because we feel like ourselves when we do things like that, because we can show this little spark of us that truly loves fashion, makeup, hairstyles and accessories on the blog – all the girly, female things. We love being creative and to express this and ourselves with our images in an artistic way.
But it’s never fun when things happen like that one time when we had a man following us around, walking past us several times, asking us where he could see the final pictures when he mistook our explanation ‚vintage‘ as ‚bondage‘ (asking us about that, too).
Of course I’m fully aware that the looks we share on our blog are a magnet for attention. And in some ways we want to provoke attention with our looks (otherwise we wouldn’t and couldn’t do what we’re doing), but there’s a huge difference between ‚admiring‘ or ‚acknowledging‘ beauty and ‚undressing‘ another human being with eyes alone when walking past us. Or talking shit to us. Or even worse: making sexually harassing statements that make us women feel so uncomfortable that we want to leave the area.
And seriously, we know the difference between a nice compliment and a nasty comment.
Not all men are the same
But luckily not all men are evil. Let’s not be so judgemental to say that all men are like that, because this would be the greatest lie ever. This shouldn’t turn into a general women-against-men-topic either.
I’m very thankful that there are so many wonderful, polite and respectful men in this world, too, who feel the same way about this all, who support and help women to raise their voice and who fight against these dirtbags as much as we women do. We shouldn’t forget about them and say a big ‘thank you’ to them.
We are in this together
I personally don’t want to live in fear, and I don’t want to hate men in general, as this wouldn’t change a thing.
But I finally want to speak up and make my point clear that it’s not ok to treat women like that.
I choose to be loud about it today.
Dear ladies, we are all together in this. It’s our responsibility raise up our voice against it together, and to tell the world and our society that IT IS NOT OKAY to be harassing, abusive or disrespectful against women.
It’s time to reclaim and show our divine femininity.
It’s time to speak up.
xx, all the best wishes to you & stay strong,
(This post was originally published on The Vintage Romance on October 19th 2017)