My letter to the editor (below) to the very modest daily paper serving just my hometown in response to what I like to call a “chatter piece” may not qualify as national news, but then again, I suspect it reflects the reality for many women across the country these days. I will say that I initially second-guessed myself as to my reaction to the author’s glib use of the term “me too.” But, that is part of the problem being described in the experiences of those relating to the #MeToo movement. Since many folks in Wakefield do not get the Item due to being angered by one or both of their two major columnists, I figured I would just put this here on my blog site for those interested. Click the image to read the original article published on February 26, 2018 and see below for my response sent to the paper for publication February 27, 2018.
Letter to the Editor:
In her column titled “Where’s My Fob,” published in this paper on February 26, 2018, Gail Lowe starts out with this intro: “The “me too” movement isn’t limited to sexual harassment. “Me too” can be applied to just about anything, including losing the keys – I mean fob – to your car.”
Right now, the term “me too,” with the hashtag or not, IS limited to sexual harassment, and to use the term in a frivolous manner, especially within a sentence that acknowledges the author’s awareness of the painfully abhorrent experiences that have given rise to the #MeToo movement presents, at best, a thoughtless perspective.
To Gail: I know you fairly well and thus know that you do not have a mean or snarky bone in your body. However, in your enthusiasm for a catchy turn of phrase, you sometimes don’t take the time to read your words through another’s eyes.
As someone who has been in a #MeToo situation more than once, your use of the phrase hit me like a slap in the face. And, given that there are undoubtedly many others struggling to find the strength to confront terrible memories, I suspect I am not alone in my reaction.
I know you did not mean to be hurtful, but there it is.
To the Item owner Glenn Dolbeare: I have reached out to the Item via Letters to the Editor, as well as, with Jane Gillette, to you personally via repeated emails and a hand-delivered letter, all with no response, with this request: that the Item, at minimum, start introducing any opinion or lifestyle, etc. column, as well as the Letter to the Editor section, with a disclaimer such as:
“The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of the Wakefield Daily Item or official policies of the Wakefield Daily Item.”
Ultimately, it will benefit our community and the subscription numbers of the Item if this paper adopts a policy through which it will not publish any letters or other pieces that, however innocently, contain bigoted, discriminatory, or prejudiced wording, phrases, or opinions that support ignorant, hurtful views. Having active conversation – including disagreements! – as a community is a good thing. But in order to have a good conversation, we need to practice civility.
Surely there are ways to inform, provoke thought, and/or bring laughter that are not at the expense of others.