(Todd A. Smith)
The #MeToo movement should have always extended to men too.
Sure, some men told their stories about unwanted touching and sexual advances.
But the fact that many men do not express their true feelings all the time might have made some women falsely believe that they are not sometimes just as guilty when it comes to sexual harassment and unwanted advances.
Rap legend Busta Rhymes recently went viral for throwing a drink at a woman named Nikita Mathis who touched him on his buttocks without his consent.
The Grio reported, “The incident occurred Monday in Las Vegas. In an 11-second clip that has gone viral, Busta is seen walking with his entourage through a lobby of sorts while surrounded by adoring fans. Mathis walks behind the rapper and suddenly cops a feel of his derriere while smiling. But Busta is hardly impressed. He responds by throwing a drink at her.”
While Busta Rhymes should have never thrown a drink at any woman, he understandably fell victim to his initial reaction.
During the #MeToo movement, I was amazed at how much hell women endured while in the workplace and on the streets.
Like many men, I have seen women annoyed as men cat called them from their car, touched their hands and arms trying to get their attention or just would not take no for answer.
Many of my female colleagues, especially those from the Houston Association of Black Journalists, shared horror stories at one meeting that made me ashamed of my gender.
When women go to work, many of them just want what men want and that is money, respect and career advancement.
Sure, sometimes someone at work will catch a person’s eye.
But dating on the job is so tricky that many people do not want to take the chance unless they see a future with that someone.
Additionally, I have gone to school with women who have been violently raped.
Furthermore, I have gone to school with males who have violently beat their women.
So, women are in much more danger of out-of-control men than the other way around because stereotypically men are seen as the physically stronger sex.
But do not get it twisted.
Just like women do not like unwanted touching, men do not like that either.
It is not cool for a stranger, that you have no interest in, to grope anyone, male or female.
Moreover, men hate it when women they are not interested keep sweating them, just like women hate thirsty men who never give up on their pursuits of them.
Simply put, people are people.
Men and women are equals.
Although there are some stereotypical differences and still some gender roles that stereotypically belong to men and women, some of the same things that upset women, upset men just the same.
I have male friends who have spoken to me about women groping them at the office without their consent.
Although they did not appreciate the unwanted touching, many said they did not want to seem like a jerk complaining about a woman’s bad behavior on the job.
In that regard, men and women have not achieved equality because it seems to many that people are more empathetic toward sexual harassment aimed at women than they are at sexual harassment aimed at men.
But the good thing about the Busta Rhymes incident is that it started a much-needed conversation about women sexually harassing and/or sexually assaulting men.
While some women like stylist/designer Tameka Foster sided with Mathis saying on Instagram that men today are different before she got scolded by other Instagram users, other women understand why Busta Rhymes took offense to a stranger groping him.
Fox Soul television personality Claudia Jordan said, “Busta Rhymes should feel safe in public where no one should grab your private parts. People need to keep their hands to themselves. I do think we like to make fun of men if it comes from a woman, but I think that we have to keep the same energy. I think he was right to feel violated.”
Jordan added, “I think it’s fair to let people have their reactions to being violated, we don’t know if that might be triggering him. He might be with his girlfriend, and girl comes up and grabs his butt and she messes up his night and she like who’s that b****. If it was a woman, it would be hands down, she is totally in the right to throw a drink in a guy’s face, he violated.”
Additionally, the woman who groped Busta Rhymes has apologized, although she said she did not mean to touch him on the butt.
Therefore, hopefully it is a learning experience for some women.
If a person touches someone sexually without the other person’s consent, that is technically sexual assault, regardless of gender.
And as women climb the corporate ladder, many women are now able to abuse their power.
Therefore, women can find themselves canceled for sexual harassment, just like men have experienced.
No man can honestly say that men go through as much hell with sexual harassment as their female counterparts.
But right is right and wrong is wrong.
More importantly, equality should mean equality.
And my definition of equality is the same treatment for everyone, regardless of what demographic they belong to.
Therefore, to really achieve gender equality, women need to be held to the same standard as men and vice versa.
If women do not like certain behavior from men, what makes women think that men like it when they do the same things?