Silent and Confused

Silent and Confused

Opening Conversations with Men in the Wake of #MeToo

May/June 2018

By now, it’s clear that the #MeToo movement has created a cultural shift in this country—one that may forever alter the ecology of gender relations. The voices of supporters have been loud and immensely validating for female survivors of sexual assault and harassment. In a stunning cultural reversal, these survivors are being believed, rather than blamed or dismissed, and their alleged attackers are facing serious damage to their careers and reputations. The movement has been so significant that Time magazine named a gathering of sexual assault silence breakers its illustrious Person of the Year. But while #MeToo continues to move the needle for women, what is it bringing up for the other half of the population?

Most men may publicly support the movement, but privately—very privately, often too privately even to share with their intimate partners—they’re disoriented and wrestling with questions about how the norms that shape their relationships with the various women in their lives have changed. Indeed, as more and more women make their voices heard about the pervasiveness of everything from power imbalances in the workplace to toxic masculinity to full-blown sexual assault, men haven’t exactly rushed forward in droves to become part of the conversation. This relative lack of representation can make it tough to be a man confused by the personal implications of such a broad-ranging social movement. At a time of cultural turmoil like this, having a good…

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