Here’s why the #HowIWillChange tweets mean nothing

Something strange has been happening on Twitter for the past two days.

After an apparently endless stream of sexual assault accusations against former Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, after Oscar winners including Jennifer Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon revealed the horrific truth of what goes on behind the gilded screens, after thousands upon thousands of women come forward to reveal stories of abuse and assault and rape across contexts and countries and decades — after all this, it’s now the turn of the men.

Men like Mark Ruffalo, who has made the utterly self-sacrificing and humble pledge that he will no longer cat-call women in the street, because — gasp — having a wife made him realise that it probably wasn’t a great thing to do.

I know — it’s big of him.

I will never Cat call a woman again. Growing up we were taught from watching movies that a cat call was a compliment. I would do it to friends and girlfriends. Sunrise clued me in that it was totally inappropriate. Not cool. Not a compliment. Gross. #HowIWillChange

— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) October 19, 2017

Or what about this guy, who at the time of writing has almost 1,000 likes on his pledge no longer stand by and watch as women are sexually harassed?

I will never blame a victim, and I will never stand and watch as a man makes unwanted advances on a woman #HowIWillChange

— Michael (@TrippyTrappy_Jr) October 17, 2017

Or this one, who has JUST REALISED NOW that listening to women “with the intent to understand” is something that he just maybe should be doing?

#HowIWillChange I will listen to women, with the intent to understand

— I say Hell YEAH!!! (@DancingDanB) October 16, 2017

Or what about this guy, whose revelation today was really something?

I am no longer using derogatory language in referring to women. Ladies, from here forward. #HowIWillChange #MeToo

— Rod Thofield (@RCTHO) October 19, 2017

This one just learnt that women are also allowed opinions, so that’s great:

#HowIWillChange compliment women because of their talent, knowledge and opinion, not solely of their appearance

— Reeza Redzuan (@ReezaRedzuan) October 19, 2017

Congrats to this guy, whose co-workers will now be allowed to finish their sentences without him talking over them:

I will stop interrupting female coworkers. I will work to recognize & address sexism around me. #HowIWillChange

— Caleb Grossman (@CalebGrossman) October 19, 2017

These tweets are depressing as hell, but surprisingly the responses have not displayed the wit or sarcasm or sense that I’ve come to expect from the women of Twitter. Instead there are lots of instances of women saying “thank you”, or that the responses are “inspiring”.

But they’re not, are they? They’re really, really not.

This is what’s happening, in reality: the same women who last week were calling out men for saying that they only felt the need to protect women because they had “wives and daughters” are now heaping praise on men who have taken a second out of their day to humbly pledge not to harass women anymore.

This is straight-up lunacy. The fact that these men appear to think that they’re providing us with some sort of service by letting go of behaviours that haven’t be acceptable since the days of the Carry On films (were they even acceptable then, or is that just a myth we’ve been fed about the ‘70s?) is not something to be praised.

We don’t need to be polite about this. Tweeting now that you’re finally ready to stop harassing or disrespecting women is too little, too late. You shouldn’t have done it in the first place. You should ALWAYS have treated women as your equals. Seeing the #MeToo hashtag and realising this now is not worthy of praise.

Scrolling down the #HowIWillChange feed doesn’t make me feel hopeful, or like progress is being made. Aside from the #notallmen brigade, the fact that there are men who are only now wising up to the fact that they probably shouldn’t be interrupting their co-workers or yelling at women in the street makes me want to bash my head on my keyboard.

Women have been speaking out against sexual harassment for years, and we shouldn’t be grateful for these small concessions. We deserve more.

Of everyone airing their views on Twitter today, Stephanie Sparkles might just say it best:

#HowIWillChange
Oh, I had NO IDEA I was being a creep but now that I read tweets at the age of 40 I will stop. Give me a fucking break.

— Stephanie Sparkles (@SSparklesDaily) October 19, 2017

Originally published at https://www.thenationalstudent.com.