I started writing this week's blog in a completely different voice. It was titled "The Liz Lemon Complex" and pertained to my association with the fictional character on 30 Rock and how she's influenced my life both good and bad. I was putting the words to paper, but kept getting frustrated with myself because it felt like such a fluff piece. It was as if I was writing it for a class assignment and just had to turn in 1500 words by tomorrow, and it didn't matter what they were. But, I realized, writing that piece at this moment in time is a great disservice to me and to you, the readers. While this is my blog, and I write about things I experience, I want to focus my energy on issues that impact me, issues I want to change, instead of trivial things like a TV show I've been watching nonstop for about eight years. There is the time and place to write those funny articles, but for now, I want to discuss something else.
If you read my tiny newsletter (and if you don't, you totally should and subscribe to it), you'll see that this week I included the section "What's Fueling the Fire." There's quite a few articles in there, primarily focusing on the Marines United scandal. It's something I've been paying a lot of attention to as I believe the subject of sexual assault in the military is a big issue that we need to address more often (I recommend watching The Invisible War for starters). At the same time as this scandal broke out, we've seen a man in a suit humping the ‘Fearless Girl’ statue, a teenager 'murdered by ex-boyfriend' after police fined her for wasting their time over her fears about him, and Emma Watson and Amanda Seyfried among actresses whose personal pictures were stolen in a celebrity photo hack. There is some toxic energy in the air, and having it centered around a branch of the United States Armed Forces is just gut wrenching. I believe Julia Pierson says it best:
“This is way beyond stupidity and boys being boys,” she said.
Not only is the invasion of privacy going on with Marines United, but you have the trust broken between brotherhood and sisterhood. You have the objectification and ownership of women at play. You have people, like me when I started writing about 30 Rock, ignoring the issues at hand, sweeping them under the rug, and telling themselves it doesn't pertain to them. It pertains to all of us and impacts us in ways we might not be able to even see right now.
What makes me livid is to read remarks like "well the women shouldn't have taken those photos in the first place." That is not the problem here, and please, to anyone who has said that, stop shaming women for feeling strong and sexy. Just stop. It's not about what women are wearing or not wearing that determines if we're asking for whatever behavior takes place. We never ask to be sexually assaulted or objectified. What we do ask is for the respect of our peers.
We continue to fight against the hate, and rise from the ashes of those who have lived before us. We find strength in ourselves and let the fire burn within us, hoping that others catch an ember and it ignites something within them as well. So with that, I urge you to look more closely at sexual assault in the military and pay more attention to it happening everywhere else.
This is just the tip of the iceberg I'm touching upon. I'm going to keep writing about this subject matter moving forward and hope we can have more conversations, be better allies, and put an end to these atrocities. It's time we acknowledge what's happening and do our part. It's on us.