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Posts Tagged ‘#Blackout’

I chose, instead of my regular profile pic on Facebook, to use a black dot for half a day on Sunday, 9/30/18. I did this as a display of solidarity with my sisters, a few of whom asked this of me and many of whom made the same choice.

Here is an example of the original message.

Longtime friends from the 2008 campaign sent this to me. I chose to participate.  On Facebook, profile pics are not rectangular, so we all had

  • black dots next to our names.

Nowhere was silence requested or even implied. It was strictly a visual display. Like many of my friends, I blacked out my profile pic for half a day and went on posting as usual.

Wow! OMG!

Let me say up front, I have #MeToo stories.  I might never share them for reasons that are mine. But I lived them. They are plural. They were scary, humiliating, and the men, I am convinced, thought they were doing nothing but taking advantage of a moment. Of a situation. It was all in fun. Their fun.

It did not make any sense to me when women were railing at me.

“I will never be silenced!”  – – – #MeNeither:  I am not silent now. Not today. Not ever. I just have a black profile pic today. No one asked me to be silent. I am not silent!

“I will never block my image.”  – – – Actually, your image is not a picture of you. It is a symbol, just like my black dot. So, yes, you have blocked your image, and that’s OK! Just please don’t act like my dot is somehow less eloquent than your logo is or is somehow suppressive. It is as much an expression as yours. Normally my profile pic shows my actual face.

“I am a domestic abuse survivor.” – – – So am I. And?

“It’s spam.”  – – –  Yes. All chain messages are spam, including the many forwarded to me telling me what a great _____ (fill in the blank) I am and please send this to 5 -10 great _____s, and “I hope I get one back.”  I never forward those, and I did not forward this one, but they make some people feel good.  Spam is spam. It is not an invasion by an enemy force. One woman’s spam is another woman’s adorable kitty video or bouquet of flowers.

When you say “I would never,” you don’t really know. You can say “I don’t think I would ever.” But you do not know for certain what you would or would not do in a variety of situations. You can say “I will not today.” That’s fine.  You did not, and I did. The choice does not make you better than me. My choice does not make me the enemy, impaired, less than. I’m not a spring chicken. I have been around.

I chose to go along with my black dot given the friends who sent the messages. I never expected to be raked across the coals. Apparently, I took the road less traveled by since most profile pics I saw on Sunday were not black dots. The ones that were, however, were among my oldest, strongest, fiercest, and most active campaign friends from all the way back in 2008.

Not one of them was silent for the day. That was not part of the program, and it is silly to think it was. You cannot display your profile pic by being silent. You must speak out. We did. So you saw something like this on Facebook.

  • I think X
  • I don’t. I think Y.
  • But look at this (link).
  • Oh, yes I see, but what about this? (link)
  • I don’t know. I have to check that out.

The social experiment did not fail. It showed that many do not trust social experiments introduced as this one was. I trusted the senders. Clearly, more context was necessary. I had the sense that this might have been started by some young activists who have yet to learn how to do this kind of social research. I decided to go along with it. They will continue to learn how to do this given the result.

I love social researchers. It was a nice try. I do not believe this was meant to divide although it appears that there is division. I like to encourage young people in attempts like this.

To the women so angered,  I understand your grievances. I am so sorry. Here is a story I can tell.

On my penultimate day of student teaching, my lovely, bright, hard-working students (ninth graders who had successfully trudged through Lord of the Flies and A Separate Peace – and LOVED them) got a contagious case of giggles while I was writing something on the board. They told me to come out from behind the desk, and I did. There was an adorable, tiny, gray tabby kitten sitting in the middle of the aisle. “He’s for YOU!” I continued teaching with the kitten in one hand. (That happened to me once more, accidentally,  later in my career. It’s oddly easy to deliver lessons while holding a tiny kitten.)

I took the kitten home. I was getting married in a few days. My future husband said absolutely not and my mom would not take it. I had to return the kitten to the kids. I was heartbroken.

I hope that adorable little kitten found a loving home. If he had stayed with me I am pretty sure my husband would have thrown him against the wall. To hurt me. Just as he ultimately threw me. Or down the stairs, as he also did when my paycheck was late.

There is more to the story, of course.

That is the story I can tell. I have others I cannot tell quite yet – or maybe never.

Yes, I am a survivor, and yes, I have been assaulted, and yes, and yes, and YES!

I was never and will not be silent. And YES. For one half day this was my Facebook profile pic.

I did not intend to hurt anyone with it. I meant it in solidarity. I am sorry if you misunderstood.

 

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