By Genevieve A. Suzuki
Recently the phrase #MeToo has taken an interesting turn. What began as a phrase of empowerment for people who were subjected to sexual harassment and abuse has become more like something out of “The Crucible.”
Actor/comedian Aziz Ansari came under fire in January after his unseemly behavior on a date went public via misconduct allegations posted on the blog Babe.net. But while Harvey Weinstein accusers suffered through repulsive indignities and completely atrocious behavior, and deserve retribution, this particular #MeToo user seemed to place all of the blame in Ansari’s lap despite her admission that she chased him down at an event, got naked in his apartment and engaged in various intimacies.
Some defended this person, saying she was being “slut-shamed,” an unfortunate term used to describe any time someone makes a woman – or man – feel embarrassed for being sexually assertive.
To be clear, I am not saying the Ansari dater got what was coming to her. No one deserves to be harassed or humiliated. I am saying, however, what my mom taught me in high school remains true today: You will be treated as you allow others to treat you.
So here I am, publishing an open letter to my daughter, who is mercifully still too young to understand this:
I am writing this letter to you in a time when women have had enough of being treated like second-class citizens. We are tired of making less than our male counterparts and exhausted by being fondled, grabbed and harassed simply because we were born with two Xs and no Y.
On Jan. 21, 2017, I boarded an airplane to Washington D.C. and marched with my sisters against this treatment. It was unacceptable to simply remain quiet any longer. I needed to march and show that we were a people united against this disgusting behavior.
Except my marching wasn’t so you could go on dates and allow yourself to be disrespected. I didn’t wear that pink yarn hat so you could let yourself go cheap by chasing down a man only to be shocked when he treats you like you are not worth as much – or even more – than him.
Quinn, there is a balance we must strike between ourselves as sexual human beings and intelligent life. While you may be attracted to someone and believe that person is the only thing you need, please know that it is usually pheromones masking a reality in which First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was correct when she said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”
And when you do go on a date, please remember how amazing you are. Remember how lucky anyone is who gets the opportunity to date you. And remember you set the tone on dates. Getting naked on someone’s kitchen counter on a first date isn’t fair to yourself. Be above the fray and demand respect.
To paraphrase another great human, Alice Walker, you are the one you have been waiting for. You are so much more valuable than wishing and hoping to date a man who is cool, famous or powerful. Why aim to date that person than actually be that person?
Respectfully forever yours,
— Genevieve A. Suzuki is a local attorney who lives and works in La Mesa.