Men and #MeToo

Perhaps it’s a sense of entitlement, or our inability to listen, or maybe we just don’t give a shit. But it’s happened. It’s clear men don’t understand women. Many in our ranks think that women want us to hit on them, or grope them, or try to “get in their pants.” We somehow have mistaken aggressiveness for confidence. Shouldn’t these women be flattered after all? We think they’re hot.

Take a look at some of recent the high profile confessions and apologies for sexual misconduct (emphasis is mine).

“… when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” -Donald Trump

“…I always felt that I was pursuing shared feelings, even though I now realize I was mistaken.” – Charlie Rose

“… I said to myself that what I did was O.K. because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first.” Louis CK

In all of these situations, they felt their actions at the time were acceptable. Let that sink in. They thought, “grabbing pussy,” parading naked, and masturbating in front of women was OK. I’m sure before these allegations came to light these men wouldn’t have thought of themselves as abusers, and probably still don’t.

It would be easy to blame the entirety of this problem on a handful of famous men. But let’s be real, We didn’t get here with a few serial abusers. The sheer volume of women speaking out in the #MeToo movement is breathtaking, and the cause couldn’t have been a just a few creeps. What we are experiencing is a systemic problem. An epidemic.

For instance, many of the #MeToo posts were being like and getting “supportive” comments for the same men that did their abusing. These guys don’t see themselves as one of the perverts. They are “nice guys, ” and their past actions were at best a show of affection, at worst a misunderstanding. They were drunk, after all. They are trying to validate themselves. If it was so bad, why were they still friends on social media? They like a post as a form of comfort — to themselves.

Of course, recognizing the courage of the women stepping forward and believing their stories is important, but it doesn’t address the real issue at hand. Men, we are the perpetrators and enablers of this epidemic. Unless WE change OUR actions, we are squandering that courage and this moment.

We need a culture change. That means It doesn’t matter how rich, powerful, handsome, or charismatic we are you are not entitled to a woman’s body. Sexual aggressiveness is not acceptable. Communication requires listening and caring about the responses. Being drunk is not license to abuse. Hold our friends accountable. Finally, we need to apologize.

I’m sorry.

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Full Circle

Just as the Cypress College Art Gallery opened for business, the bell in a nearby tower tolled ten times. I hated that it reminded me of a death knell. I was there to see a retrospective show of the paintings of my friend, Christine Taber, who had lost her life in a bike accident fifteen years earlier. Shortly after she died, I wrote the descriptions of her abstract paintings that later became the inspiration for the realistic, religious paintings in my upcoming debut novel, Contrition. Continue reading

Where to watch a giant asteroid flyby the Earth (2000 EM26)

Just one year ago, a 65-foot space rock exploded above Russia with the force of more than a dozen atomic bombs, damaging buildings. The falling glass injured hundreds of people, but luckily, nobody died. And now, several gold medalists at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are expected to receive pieces of the so-called Chelyabinsk meteor in remembrance.

For all the stargazers who watch the skies, it is almost a surprise that the explosion was completely unexpected because nobody spotted the incoming meteorite. That’s perhaps because watchers instead focused their telescopes upon a much larger object — the 40,000 ton 2012 DA14,  a 98-foot diameter space rock that passed Earth closely on Feb. 15, 2013. It flew just 17,200 miles past Earth (closer even than our geosynchronous satellites), but, thankfully, quietly.

Let’s hope the same happens today as another object — the 2000 EM26 asteroid — lights up the sky. The space rock is about three football fields long and the Slooh Community for stargazers will be tracking the event with a webcast at 9 p.m. EST (United States time) today. Click here to see the Slooh Community broadcast.

In addition, there will be a live broadcast of the estimated 885-foot asteroid traveling at some 27,000 miles per hour on Space.com. The asteroid is expected to pass about 9 times the distance of the Moon. The average distance between the Earth and the Moon is roughly 238,000 miles.

Meanwhile, thoughts still echo to a year ago in Russia. As the Slooh Community writes: “While analysts continue to debate the significance of the event, many believe the residents of Chelyabinsk were extremely lucky to escape this celestial encounter with no loss of life.”