Because the male gaze is crippling and demeaning. (That man in the sportscar. I was twelve.)
Because the male gaze is a powerful drug, a pure hit. (That black dress, I walked like a goddess in that black dress and those black boots).
Because the male gaze is defining.
Because the male gaze is self-defining.
Because dressing sexy for oneself is #girlpower.
Because dressing sexy for oneself is a #contradiction. (“If it’s just for myself, shouldn’t I be comfortable?”)
Because taking a meeting with the most powerful man in Hollywood is a crucial step in a career.
Because we’ve heard the stories.
Because we discount the stories.
Because he’s big and powerful and he will use his power against her.
Because if she’s nice he will use his power for her. (Spoiler alert: he doesn’t.)
Because there are ways to use his power against him.
Because we want to get out of there without getting hurt or degraded or assaulted.
Because we’ve been told to smile and be nice. (Don’t be bossy!)
Because our cultural conditioning is used against us.
Because we don’t listen to the girls who warn us.
Because we think well, it’s the way it’s always been.
Because we jeer when a conservative scolds, “Men only want one thing!”
Because we jeer when men say #notallmen.
Because #whatIwaswearing is an indictment of her attacker but #whatshewaswearing is an indictment of her.
Because sometimes it is because of what we’re wearing.
Because more often than not, that’s an excuse.
Because we have to even think about it.
Because we are complicit.
Because we aren’t complicit.
Because we are victims.
Because we aren’t victims.
Because the first thing we think is what did I do?
Because it stays in the back of our minds, and ambushes us at unexpected moments. #metoo
Because sometimes we want to take back control.
Because it’s complicated.