Why I had mixed feelings posting about #BelieveWomen on Func Bod

I know what you’re thinking. How could I not believe women? How could I be questioning the validity of a survivor’s brave confrontation of a man in power? What kind of woman in 2018 has “mixed feelings” on the #MeToo movement? What does that even mean?!

I’m still sorting through that last question myself. But before I explore that, let me be clear about a few things. First, I’m not questioning the validity of Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony. I believe her and respect her for coming forward. The critics who say it was all about timing are absolutely right — though it’s much less glamorous than many would like to believe. It’s not about fame or glory. It’s about civic duty.

Now, about those sticky mixed feelings. Here’s how I scratched them out in my journal:

men need to be held reliable. but it’s scary to be held reliable for any of your actions from 30 years ago. where do we draw the line? but. sexual assault is different…it’s a different level of bad and deeply harms another human. assault and harassment are always wrong…but many sexual encounters fall into the gray area. regarding those gray areas: it’s so hard to bring such a private event under public scrutiny. my hope is that conversations like the one happening now put an end to assault and harassment going forward. that the more we talk about it now, the more we can help boys and men be better in the future. and that women come forward with the intention of changing the future instead of righting the past.

A friend and I discussed the whole thing on a walk this weekend. She’s a news reporter and genuinely smart, thoughtful girl, and I was hoping she’d have some conviction about Ford’s testimony and the #MeToo movement that I could adopt.

She admitted that she’s just as confused as I am, and said she thinks many other women must be, too.

We were certain about one thing: we’re sure as hell glad we aren’t in Ford’s position, or in Kavanaugh’s position, or in anyone who has to make a conclusion on this whole mess’s position.

Bear with me as I break down a few parts of that journal entry, per the discussion with my friend.

Quick disclaimer: I have never been a victim of sexual abuse or serious harassment, and I’m not trying to speak on the behalf of survivors. I’m speaking as a young woman who is extremely grateful to live in this #MeToo era, but I must honestly admit the parts that make me uneasy.

men need to be held reliable. but it’s scary to be held reliable for any of your actions from 30 years ago. where do we draw the line?

What if someone accused my dad or brother of something that happened at a party 20 years ago? What if the accusation was about an encounter that wasn’t exactly right but wasn’t really wrong, either? How could we possibly judge that now? How could we show respect to the woman’s feelings while not just assuming the male was in the wrong? Who are we to determine any of this?

but. sexual assault is different…it’s a different level of bad and deeply harms another human. assault and harassment are always wrong…but many sexual encounters fall into the gray area. regarding those gray areas: it’s so hard to bring such a private event under public scrutiny.

Whenever there’s alcohol involved, things get messy. This friend that I walked with and I are just a few years out of college, and we both went to big party schools. We discussed cases of several friends who weren’t exactly sure about a sexual encounter or drunken bar make out. It wasn’t exactly right, but did that make it really wrong? Where do we draw the line? When does it become the public’s responsibility to judge such a private event?

Again, certain situations are indeed black and white. I’m referring to that tricky gray area — which is much bigger and scarier than many would like to admit.

my hope is that conversations like the one happening now put an end to assault and harassment going forward. that the more we talk about it now, the more we can help boys and men be better in the future. and that women come forward with the intention of changing the future instead of righting the past.

Times are quickly changing, as they should. There are new standards. And while we should hope everyone keeps up, it’s hard to apply this new normal to the past.

Also, how can we make the conversation more productive? How can we educate kids to just be better people? How can we stop women from angrily ranting “Believe Women!” without considering that we’re all in this mess together and need help making each other better?

I don’t want the Func Bod brand to get political, but as an organization that celebrates the strength of women, I can’t ignore a topic so crucial to women today.

Ultimately, I decided to post the “Believe Women” Instagram because I do believe women. It’s important that we take these conversations seriously, but it’s also okay to admit that we don’t have all the answers.