Herman Cain, hashtags, Hillary Addams, and hope

Our Courtney has a wonderful op-ed in the Christian Science Monitor today, in which she finds the common thread between the Herman Cain sexual harassment and assault accusations, the #mencallmethings hashtag, and the beating of Hillary Addams by her father. The common thread, she writes, is the systematic mistreatment of women by men in American culture:

The voting public will make up their own minds about Cain and sexual harassment. But landing on that truth is actually less important for the future of this nation than acknowledging this one: In the shadowy spaces of our society – online comment sections, late nights at the office, dorm rooms right before dawn – too many men still feel entitled to violate the inalienable rights and dignity of women.

But there’s another common thread to be found here, one that offers us some hope. It comes from the one and only Audre Lorde, and it’s the idea that speaking, en masse, about systemic oppression, can create solidarity and hopefully help to end that oppression:

What leaves me hopeful, despite all this dehumanization, is this: Women are starting to unapologetically shine a blinding floodlight on the behavior that used to lurk in the shadows. Building on the legacies of brave women before us – like Anita Hill, who 20 years ago, planted the seed of this new audacious documentation.

We are blogging, filming, tweeting, and testifying to our experiences. We are gathering, whether metaphorically or literally, and giving one another strength through solidarity. We are living feminist visionary Audre Lorde’s profound reminder: “Your silence will not protect you.”

Go read the whole thing. It will, I hope, help you find something of a silver lining on this shittiest of shitty news days.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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