#MeToo means so many things right now...and, although I empathize in so many ways, I wonder where the #MeToo energy is really coming from.
As a white male, growing up in the US, I am certain that I have been on every side of #MeToo. I am almost 45 years old, I am sure that I have been violated, and I have violated another, and I am so sorry. I am certain that others have violated and been violated in deeper ways than I have at either end of the spectrum. I share this because I am here to change the game in so many ways!
Is it important to identify as one side of the #MeToo spectrum in order to know that this game needs to change?
I am not certain about this. We have all perpetuated and co-created the society in which we live, which means that we are all responsible for co-creating the necessary change.
This is not to excuse anyone’s individual behavior! Personal accountability is very important, as is the context in which many of these things happened.
As a middle aged white male, perhaps I am more to blame for perpetuating this story than others?
Every time I told a joke, or repeated a joke I learned from my brother. Having grown up Jewish and attended yeshiva at one point in my life, I remember belting out the prayer, “Shiloh Asani Isha” with more gusto! That prayer was to be said by men as it translates to, “Thank G-d for not making me a woman.” There it was, in black and white! The faith of my upbringing was reinforcing the construct of disparity between men and women, and, at the age of 11, I fell for it: hook, line, and sinker.
Now that I am almost 45, I can zoom out and look at my actions and my inactions.
I did not speak out enough, when I was being violated.
I remember being called to the principal’s office at Yeshiva for inappropriately hugging someone. I felt a weird sense of guilt and shame. Now I see more of the hypocrisy. Was this not the same yeshiva that handed out the books with the “Shiloh Asani Isha” prayer inside? Was I sent to the principal’s office when I said that particular prayer decibels louder than any other prayer? No.
As the founder of the Game Changer Movement, I am sensitive to the amount of time we, as a society, spend ingesting violent messaging and imagery.
Humanity spends 3 Billion Hours a week playing video games.
A large majority of these games perpetuate and depict a narrative that would have most of us sent to the principal’s office! We don’t need to look very far to start the change-making process.
I remember walking through Port Authority Subway Station while carrying a 3’ x 3’ mosaic heart that we made in Ithaca, NY. It was made from approximately 60 rePURPOSEd violent video game discs. The entire subway station was transformed into a war zone that promoted the upcoming release of Call of Duty. I removed the mosaic heart from the cardboard sheath and took a few pictures to illustrate the contrast in the images. Imagine if love had the budget that Call of Duty had!
What would that wall look and feel like?
What would society look like if the wall was covered with mosaic hearts instead of each column depicting a man with a machine gun?
How do we change this game?
Where do we start?
Do you want to know?
Are you willing to do your part to change this game?