About how and why this happened, what it means, and how to make sure it never happens again
In the light of the #MeToo movement, the world has stopped to reflect on sexual assault and what it means for the victims. For example, last week Time Magazine revealed the cover of the Person of the Year issue: The Silence Breakers. The cover features the women who were brave enough to speak out about the sexual harassment they had experienced, such as pop superstar Taylor Swift, and the founder of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke. From all of this, and the Weinstein scandal, this book came to be.
What’s it about?
“#MeToo: Essays about how and why this happened, what it means, and how to make sure it never happens again” is precisely what it claims to be: a collection of essays by different people reflecting on the #MeToo movement that exploded in this past October. The movement began in the social media accounts of mostly women in mostly English speaking countries, who began posting their experiences of sexual assault and harassment as a means to bring awareness to the issue. The trending hashtag, which was later translated and also went viral in non-English speaking countries (the hashtag in Latin America was #YoTambién, for example), showed that sexual harassment and assault are issues that are too common for women in their daily life. However, they are taboo in today’s society. The #MeToo movement looked to break that taboo and to start a conversation. The essays Lori Perkins has gathered in this book continue said conversation, and take it to deeper levels, because they are well thought reflections of a problem that the hashtag made evident.
Who wrote it?
Everyone. Lori Perkins is the name that stands out the most because she put the book together. Perkins is an American literary agent who founded Riverdale Avenue Books, an e-book publisher, in 2012. In the introduction to the book, she writes: “For me, this books is my way of putting my time and money where my mouth is”.
The book is made up by 27 essays written by 27 different writers, with different backgrounds and perspectives, which makes for a very rich book. One of my personal favorites is “I was only…” by Catherine Giante-Brown, which tells three of her experiences and the excuses men use to get out of them. Giante-Brown is writes fiction, nonfiction and poetry, and her writing style in this essay is short, to the point, but powerful, because she makes you stop and reflect.
Another one of my personal favorites is #MeToo: A Rock N’ Roll Runaway by Camila Saly-Monzingo. It is also one of the most gruesome ones, and it is an window into the rock n’ roll world of the 1970’s, when the genre was in full bloom. As the bio in the book describes her, the author is “a lifelong New Yorker who grew up in the Upper West Side in the gritty 1970’s. A proto-punk, she was a “regular” at Max’s, Club 82, and CBGB’s, and worked for the Ramones, among other rock’n’roll bands”. Rock n’ roll is a genre that has always been associated with sexual behaviors, and although people do not usually talk about it, sexual assault is a part of it. Saly-Monzingo shows how deeply the issue runs in such an industry. Like Giante-Brown’s essay, after this one I had to stop and reflect, and take a breather. It is intense, but very important – much like the book as a whole.
Read or pass?
The #MeToo movement concerns everyone. Whether the content sounds interesting to you or not, I think you should give it a shot. This one is a book you read to reflect on how you can help those you care about, and yourself. Riverdale Avenue Books has it available for free.
Latin American Post | Laura Rocha Rueda