Cover Image: #MeToo

#MeToo

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Member Reviews

Average Rating: 3.29 stars. 

This is a difficult review to write. I by no means want to take away from the importance of the #MeToo hashtag, but this book definitely had its flaws. I wish I could give it five stars simply for the importance of subject matter, but I can’t. I’m going to divide my review into sections based on the essays themselves.

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Remembering Patricia Douglas, the First Woman to Call Out Hollywood for Sexual Assault: 5 stars. Haunting, sad, and made me tear up. I had never heard of Patricia Douglas before this, but she deserved a lot better than she got.

After #MeToo 2 stars. The beginning was good, but it was somehow too long and too rushed all at once. It was split into a bunch of little sections, which, instead of making the essay easier to read, felt like an information overload. There were too many sections. Every time I flipped the page I was like “Seriously?? There’s more??”

The Bully Culture of the Weinsteins: 3.5 stars. Good, but didn’t give a lot of details and didn’t really set up any tension or feelings of being overwhelmed, so it wasn’t as effective as other pieces I’d read.

The Big Ugly: This left literally no impression on me whatsoever. I can’t even remember what it was about. I’m not even going to rate it.

Wall Street Assets: 2 stars. The writing was good but the uncomfortably graphic scene in the middle of it was unneeded and just plain weird.

#MeToo: A Rock’n’Roll Runway: 3 stars. The stories were haunting, but it is a very potentially triggering piece. There was also some unneeded and racist stereotyping of black girls, which was unappreciated and wrong. 

Consent: Breaking the Silence: 5 stars. Sad and hopeful all at once, with a good message r.e. statutory r*pe.

Tit for Tat: 2 stars. Another one that was kind of weird. It used the terms “male” and “female” wayy too often. Like, that is literally the type of language that TERFs use and emphasize on??? I really hope that it was accidental. However, there were some good guidelines in it that described the warning signs of a sexual predator.

“I was only…”: 5 Stars. An excellent and wonderfully written piece on the importance of not minimizing the effect of sexual harassment by not saying “I was only trying to help,” “It was only a joke,” etc. 

Me Too: Protecting Men from Themselves: 5 stars. The second good piece in a row! Hooray. An excellent look at how sexual assault victims are expected to protect the loving men in their lives from their trauma. Probably my favorite piece out of the whole book.

Men, Women, and #MeToo: 5 stars. An awesome look at aspects of r*pe culture that aren’t looked at a lot in the mainstream feminist stratosphere. Another favorite.

Every Book I Have Ever Written is a #MeToo Novel: 3.5 stars. Good subject matter, but I wish it had been longer with more depth than breadth. 

#NotMe’s Instead of #MeToo’s: 2 stars. There wasn’t really anything wrong with it, I was just kind of bored and it didn’t really keep my attention.

Not Them Too: 2 stars. Got a real “white feminism” vibe, and it was too short for me to really get anything else from it. 

Why We #MeToo: 1 star. I read this literally five minutes ago and can’t even remember what it was about. 

Until When? #MeToo: 2 stars. This was the third super short essay in a row, and I was getting kind of tired of brief essays. Wish there had been a long one somewhere in there to break the monotony.

Doing What We’ve Always Done: Gender Roles and Sexual Assault: 4.5 stars. Great topic about gender roles and how sometimes men just don’t get it. It reminded me of the intro to the10th Anniversary edition of Speak.

More Than a Hashtag: 4 stars. Brought some humor to an unfunny topic that was a welcome break from the more serious pieces. However, the humor didn’t detract from the overlaying message. 

For Guys Reading #MeToo Testimonies: 4 stars. A good step by step guideline for men wondering what they can do to help.

The Wild Feminine Freed #MeToo: 1 star. Uhhhhhhh. This was just kind of weird. Like wtf was going on. Seeing Baba Yaga, the centuries old witch from fairy tales who literally runs around on a house on chicken legs, as a symbol of femininity, was…. strange.

Our Bodies Are Not the Problem: 2.5 stars. Another…. Just, bleh. I don’t know. It had no effect on me. 

Hush: 4 stars. Short, but the good kind of short. It was nice to have a poem as a break from the essays. This one packed a powerful punch. 

Sexual Harassment on the Job from HR’s Perspective: 4 stars. Another superb piece. I loved that it went really into depth on sexual harassment in the workplace. I learned things I didn’t know before. 

Why the #MeToo Movement is a Call to Arms for Men Everywhere: 4 stars. A great piece on why it’s important to actively support the women in your life. 

Politics is My #MeToo: 3 stars. uhhh some more white feminism vibes. But besides that, it definitely wasn’t the strongest piece and not a very good essay to end with. 

Overall thoughts

All in all, it was definitely a nice book, and probably worth reading (especially since – according to the ARC copy, it will be free on all e-book platforms!!) if you are interested in the #MeToo movement.

I wish there had been more pieces written by women of color, and I was definitely looking for a piece written by a trans woman! Violence towards trans women is a super prevalent issue in sexual harassment, but the issue was only briefly mentioned once throughout the entire collection. And that made me sad. 

(Also – it should be noted that this novel could be extremely triggering in terms of sexual harassment/assault, r*pe, and violence. Tread with caution.)

I was provided an eARC copy by NetGalley in exchange for a complete and honest review.
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"For me, this book is my way of putting my time and money where my mouth is. I gave up many nights of sleep putting it together, and my staff worked 'round the clock to get it to you in as short time as possible. The authors donated their pieces for free. Riverdale Avenue Books is offering the eBook for free on all platforms in the hope that it reaches as many people as possible. We want to make sure to reach people in the most permanent ways possible. Print is a little more expensive to produce, so we are offering the book at a cost (which means we sell it for the cost of printing and distribution, and we take no profit). So pass this book around. Share it with your sons, brothers, fathers, your daughters, sisters and mothers, your coworkers and friends. Read passages to them, if they won't read it for themselves. Leave it on the desk of someone who should know better. Help us make this movement more than a hashtag. If you do, we'll do a second and third and forth edition - until things change." - Lori Perkins, November 2017

So, unless you've been hiding under a rock, well away from social media you will be aware that in October of this year, the hashtag #MeToo was trending on various different platforms where people, especially women would come forward and tell their stories of sexual harassment and assault with the hope and ambitions to make a change. "The #MeToo social media hashtag, first coined more than ten years ago by Tarana Burke, exploded in October 2017, after a boost from Alyssa Milano, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein's fall. Its popularity demonstrates that lots of women - and some men - have experienced sexual harassment or assault, and are prepared to go public about it." The sudden movement was resurfaced just last month when Alyssa Milano (one of Weinstein's most vocal critics) wrote "If all the 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."

In her book, Lori Perkins explains how "there are fine reasons to say #MeToo. Many people I respect have done so. Saying #MeToo supports others who need the courage to come forward. The great chorus of voices can help banish undeserved shame, fear, and isolation that many have lived with for too long. The sense of belonging to a tribe can benefit us here."

#MeToo is such an important movement of such serious topics that need to be addressed. "Within 24 hours of the #MeToo movement, more than 12 million Facebook posts, comments and reactions were made." I personally scrolled through a dozen posts from my own Facebook friends and it really makes you realise how big the scale of the issue is, you're constantly scrolling down your feed thinking 'not her too'. 

Lori Perkins decided that she needed to write a book that includes a bunch of collected and powerful essays of individuals, both men and women, talking through their experiences. Throughout the book, there were a few quotes that stuck in my head. The first being that "women remain silent because we know the statistics, we know that most cases won't make it to court, and those that do won't win." Over the years, I have met many different individuals who unfortunately have experiences of sexual abuse and this quote is very close to home. I have edged people close to me to involve the police and tried to build their courage up to disclose what happened to them only for months later, their cases to be dropped and no charges pressed leaving them with even more fear than they carried before. 

It is important to note that this book is written in America and therefore, all the stories came from American citizens with American statistics. We must remember that this is a worldwide issue and we must start talking. I did manage to find some important statistics of the UK whilst doing some research that I will leave below;

Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales alone every year; that's roughly 11 rapes (of adults alone) every hour. These figures include assaults by penetration and attempts.
Almost half a million adults are sexually assaulted in England and Wales every year. 
1 in 5 women aged 16 - 59 has experienced some form of sexual violence since the age of 16.
Only around 15% of those who experience sexual violence choose to report to the police.
Approximately 90% of those who are raped know the perpetrator prior to the offence.
31% of young women aged 18-24 report having experienced sexual abuse in childhood.
In 2012-13, 22,654 sexual offences against under 18s were reported to police in England and Wales with four out of five cases involving girls.
Conviction rates for rape are far lower than other crimes, with only 5.7% of reported rape cases ending in a conviction for the perpetrator.
1 in 3 teenage girls in England has been pressured into doing something sexual by a partner.
A third of female students in the UK have experienced inappropriate touching or groping at university.
This is such an important topic and too many people are getting away with abusing innocent individuals. "Our bodies are not the problem" reads another statement within the book and is possibly one of the truest things I have ever read. Mark Radcliff wrote an essay within this book and gave such an important message aimed towards other men. "So the lesson for us men is simple: This is a problem that men have caused. So we can't expect women to fix it all on their own, even as brave and helpful as these posts are. And it's not enough for us men to just not assault women. We have to do more. Not just not be part of the problem, but actively be part of the solution." I thought that this was such a powerful message and everything that he has said is true. This hashtag and people telling their stories is not enough to make a change, we all have to work together spreading awareness and opening up, encouraging others to be brave enough to seek support and file reports on their assaults and working for a world where sexual abuse and harassment doesn't exist or is dramatically reduced. You can't wait for it to happen to your mother, daughter, niece, wife or friend for you to want to make a difference. We need to prevent it from happening in the first place. In a different essay, Catherine Gigante-Brown explains how she believes that "I was only.." are the three most dangerous words in the English language, "I was only joking", "I was only trying to help", "I was only.." "No. You weren't. You only offer those weak excuses when you are caught. Yes means yes. No means no. It feels good to stand up to myself. For my rights. For my body. At 19, At 29. At 58. And I am still doing it with words as well as deeds. When will it stop? When we finally see each other as human beings. Period. Not by our sex. Not by our skin colour. Not by our religion. Just as people. People with feelings. Rights. Boundaries. People who deserve better. Respect. Kindness. Acceptance. It starts here. It starts now. It starts with us".

Overall, this is a very powerful and educational book. I would highly recommend giving it a read. It includes a whole bunch of passages from various different writers who explain their own personal stories of sexual harassment or abuse. It has 152 pages and is honestly the most inspiring book I have ever read. I gave it five out of five stars on Goodreads and would love to hear your feedback on what you thought of the book.

I have added into this post a guide (on the left) created by Vonny Leclerc who is a journalist and columnist for The National (a newpaper that supports an independent Scotland) and wrote an article featuring the #MeToo campaign before condensing it into a guide of Flirting vs Harassment and how to give genuine compliments.

This book was published on November 3rd 2017 and the eBook of '#MeToo: Essays About How and Why This Happened, What It Means, and How to Make Sure it Never Happens Again' can be found and downloaded for free on the iBooks App and here at the UK Amazon Kindle store (compatible with the free Kindle App) which also gives you the option to buy the £4.99 Paperback copy. Thank-you for NetGalley for sending me over a copy of the book.

"Let's get educated on sexual predators, and on our own vulnerabilities, so that we can help the collective movement towards a better world."

"We are not a mob. We are a movement."
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