Gen Z and Millennials are Unequivocally Resurging #MeToo
The #MeToo movement that started in 2017 is still very much alive and thriving in 2020, and with good reason. A recent report from Buzzfeed News shockingly revealed 36 former employees of the Ellen Show encountered harassment and sexual assault from top staff. DeGeneres’ former executive producer.
But Hollywood isn’t the only place where abuse and misogyny is still present.
In my now hometown of Washington, DC, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made headlines recently for her speech against verbal abuse and misogyny that spoke to women everywhere. Her speech was a powerful response to Rep. Ted Yoho who verbally harassed Ocasio-Cortez in front of reporters – calling her “disgusting” and “crazy” among other crude and defamatory words.
Rep. Yoho gave a half-hearted apology for the “heated exchange” he had with the congresswoman more commonly known as AOC. Yoho said, “Having been married for 45 years with two daughters, I’m very cognizant of my language. The offensive name-calling word attributed to me by the press were never spoken to my colleagues – and if they were construed that way, I apologize for the misunderstanding.”
In her rebuttal, AOC makes a powerful point. “I do have issue with using women, our wives and daughters, as shields and excuses for poor behavior. Mr. Yoho mentioned that he has a wife and daughters. I am two years younger than Mr. Yoho’s youngest daughter. I am someone’s daughter too.”
You don’t have to agree with her politics to understand and support her message – perpetrators can’t hide behind the women in their lives or lame excuses anymore. Our generation simply won’t tolerate it.
Yet, sadly, violence against women is prevalent – even when the instigators are less well-known.
Take, for instance, the recent derogatory remarks made by an executive in the mortgage industry. Anthony Casa, the head of the Association of Independent Mortgage Experts, went on a video and texting spree harassing a woman he barely knows – the wife of a former colleague. In a bizarre series of self-made videos and text messages, Casa hurled remarks tainted with sexual provocation that were defamatory and untrue.
Similarly to Rep. Yoho, Casa taped a half-hearted apology a few days later practically blaming the victim and her husband.
AOC was right-on when she said: “Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. When a decent man messes up, as we all are bound to do, he tries his best and does apologize. Not to save face, not to win a vote, he apologizes genuinely to repair and acknowledge the harm done so that we can all move on.”
It’s unlikely most Americans know a Hollywood celebrity or a member of Congress. But we all likely know an individual like Anthony Casa. In his instance, the mortgage industry didn’t accept his self-centered apology, and forced him to take a “leave of absence” from the organization he founded. While a voluntary leave of absence isn’t enough to solve the bigger problem, it’s a start.
Millennials and Zoomers are proving that it doesn’t matter if you’re an icon, a congressman, or a random mortgage broker in a small town, misogyny and disrespect in any shape or form won’t be tolerated.
Half of the country is somebody’s daughter. None of us should have to explain why they were attacked. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Gender equality is a thing. And my generation won’t tolerate lousy excuses from men who think it’s okay to mumble a weak apology.
In the words of AOC, “This issue is not about one incident. It is cultural. It is a culture of lack of impunity, of accepting of violence and violent language against women, and an entire structure of power that supports that.” For once, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and I agree.
Grace Morgan is the Director of External Relations at Taxpayers Protection Alliance. She is tasked with developing coalition relationships and managing TPA’s communications and outreach efforts. Prior to working at TPA, Grace was the Deputy CPAC Director for the American Conservative Union. She previously served as the DC Chapter Chair for America’s Future Foundation. Grace holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington in Criminology and is a huge hockey fan!
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