What Oprah Knows for Sure About the Power of #MeToo
None of us knew it would lead to this. The revelations about Harvey Weinstein's assaultive, bullying behavior opened a floodgate. So many things brought us to this moment. The courage of women who dared break their silence, and women like Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd who were finally heard. The accusations against Bill Cosby and his subsequent trial. The harassment scandals at Fox News that led to the dismissal of Roger Ailes and Bill O'Reilly.
We’re in the middle of a sea change, a cultural shift. And it's been a long time coming.
I remember so vividly being a young reporter in Baltimore in the mid-1970s—the constant harassment by a male superior and the certain knowledge that there was nothing I could do about it. I knew for sure that to report what was happening would have meant being labeled a "problem." And the end of my career. So I kept silent, doing my best to avoid contact with my bully boss, a man with an apparent Napoleon complex. I literally kept my head down whenever he passed.
Do I feel bad about this? No, I don't. I feel smart. I did what I needed to do to survive the times.
Now times have changed.
Thanks to the bold-faced bravery of so many women, the silence is shattered, and a torrent of courage is raging forward.
As the revelations about Harvey Weinstein unfolded, I believed that the power of celebrity would make this the seminal moment it has indeed become. Names and faces that everyone knew and could relate to were coming forward.
Now women in every part of the workforce can feel it.
It is, as they say, a reckoning.
A reckoning for men whose condescending, sexually laced comments about women have always been a form of bravado and swagger.
And for women who've tolerated varying degrees of misogynistic behavior for so long, we just accepted it as normal.
The normalization is over.
The power of #MeToo has allowed every woman to see that the struggle is not hers alone.
Our voices raised together can lead to systemic changes in the workplace and our culture.
We’re on the precipice of something larger than we know. A shift in the way we view ourselves. And the way the world views us.