Deneuve’s #MeToo letter doesn’t just stigmatise women – it insults gay victims too
Deneuve’s letter was a disappointingly stale take.
In the open letter, published by Le Monde, her and 99 other women came together to criticise the #MeToo campaign, writing a Mills and Boon sponsored post on how the reams of harassment accusations are destroying a man’s “freedom to pester” in a manner that is “indispensable to sexual freedom”.
Although there’s a lot to unpack here (please feel free to donate to my 30,000 word thesis project in the comments below), we’ll start with one thing that concerns gay victims of harassment like me – letters like these romanticise and fail to address a world and reality where plenty of victims and perpetrators are not straight.
This might not seem that important to identify from the off. Criticisers of the campaign like Deneuve certainly wouldn’t see what the fuss is about. To them, the world is made up of one stock type of man and one stock type of woman – and any other identity is a frivolity of the modern day.
But one disappointing group of traditionalists shouldn’t sway us from addressing the realities of harassment, and identifying that no struggle is isolated, and no victim of harassment is the same. And to dismiss the existence of LGBT victims in one fell swoop means that our experiences run risk of being erased from the discourse.
According to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 44 percent of lesbians and 61 percent of bisexual women experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 35 percent of heterosexual women.
A further 26 percent of gay men and 37 percent of bisexual men experience rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, compared to 29 percent of heterosexual men.
In a US survey created by the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE), out of 27,715 participants nearly half (47 percent) have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.
And while Deneuve’s #MeToo attack categorises these non-binary lines as indeterminate wiles that are anomolies in a man’s pursuit for romance, we know that the voices of those who do not and cannot conform need to stand out.
There’s nothing romantic about sexual harassment, and there’s nothing unclear about what constitutes as predatory behaviour. As the law stipulates, if person’s behaviour makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, then that’s harassment.
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