The Women Hidden Behind the Shadows of the #MeToo Movement
by Lauren Azrin
Women have suffered unfair treatment for centuries - pay inequality, harassment, and constant underestimation for being “the fair sex.” Recent years have been a catalyst for change on the journey to equality, including the #MeToo movement and the effects of the Larry Nassar scandal.
Many women have come forward under the #MeToo movement, saying that they too have been sexually harassed or abused, using their social media platforms to make their voices heard. It has recently come out that Larry Nassar, a well-respected doctor of hundreds of college and Olympic gymnasts, sexually abused and harassed hundreds of them. After his trial and sentencing to life in prison, the whole board of directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee were forced to resign.
But which women are actually granted power and a voice in this "time of change?” The answer is rich Hollywood stars, famous Olympic gymnasts, political leaders, and other people with power or wealth. These gymnasts are finally getting the help and recognition that they deserved all along, and Hollywood's biggest stars can use their platforms to "raise awareness," but what about the people who have less of a voice in society? How does this movement change things for women from low income backgrounds, women working off tips, women with no power in society, and women with their own form of a U.S. Olympic Committee ruling over them that still hold positions of power with no one to recognize their crimes and fire them?
Take, for example, a woman with no support behind her, from a low-income background, with no money to pay for a lawyer for an extremely lengthy trial from which she may not even benefit. This woman is not necessarily being helped by the #MeToo movement or the Nassar trial's outcome.
Many women work off tips, with jobs as maids, waitresses or bartenders. So, what are they supposed to do when their most valuable source of profit becomes an abuser? They can't avoid the customer harassing them because they live off pleasing them. Many women live their lives stuck in this position, and a movement isn't going to stop the way that their jobs work and how they get taken advantage of. This problem may even cause workplaces to cease hiring women, in fear of future accusations and having to deal with harassment issues.
Many people say that the #MeToo movement is a turning point in the path towards women's rights, and it is easy to agree that many women are finally getting recognized, having their stories heard, and getting a chance to speak out against their abusers. But this argument fails to recognize many women hidden in the shadows without enough support, money, or fame to change their problematic situations.
One solution for this issue is to change the law. More rights for female workers, especially ones working under tips, would give many more women a voice. To offer these women the help and support that they lack, women who don't have social media platforms or money for lawyers would still have a way to come forward about their trauma. Many survivor's voices have been amplified by the #MeToo movement, and it must be made sure that no woman can go unnoticed when she comes forward.
Although the journey towards women's rights is well on its way, many factors still need to be taken into account for women of all backgrounds. If movements like the #MeToo movement persist, they need to implement real plans of action for change.
(photo credit to The Daily Beast)