Me too but thank you
Alyssa Milano tweeted a cry for women who have experienced sexual harassment or abuse to post #metoo to give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem. It's not just another social media trend but a call for change, for action, for boldness. As the weeks have rolled by we've seen thousands of women #metoo and come forward with stories of how they've been mistreated by men.
It's so important that the voice of the voiceless is heard, that the stories that have been buried under shame are released and that women feel empowered and supported as they stand up and speak out.
A lot of women can share in the experience of being harassed or abused. But a lot of women can also share in the experience of being honoured and respected by men in their life. I don't want the men making mistakes to have all the limelight. I want the men that are doing really well to be shouted about, I want their stories and triumphs to be heard. Girls need to know that they don't need to fear all men and boys need celebrated role models.
You don't teach children by always saying no, no, no, you positively reinforce the appropriate behaviour. A scene from a class I taught:
Sarah wriggling around
Me: thanks Jacob, you're sitting so well!
Sarah stops wriggling around
Me: Sarah well done, you're also sitting well
Without taking away from the bravery and weight of these stories, we can offer a different narrative. One that applauds and lifts up men, fills the world with hope and gives men a guideline of how they can honour the women in their life.
#thankyou to the friend who always offers a lift home when it's dark and waits till I'm in the door
#thankyou to the father who is present in his daughters lives and tells them he loves them
#thankyou to the brother who cries in front of his sister and isn't afraid to show weakness
#thankyou to the grandfather who took a stand for women's rights
#thankyou to the lecturer who values the female students as much as the male
#thankyou to the husband who prays for his wife and cheers on her dreams and vision
And #thankyou Jesus, that you were so countercultural in how you loved and valued women. You didn't treat women as second class citizens. In a culture where the testimony of a woman wasn't regarded, you chose to appear to them first after your resurrection. You performed your first miracle for a woman, you healed women and you invited us to become your disciples.
We need the #metoos but we also need the #thankyous. Which men in your life can you bless with #thankyou?